Nixon said he didn't want to be remembered as the first president to lose a war but, judging from the number of recent books moaning over the current plight of the military (see, for instance, George Walton's The Tarnished Shield, p. 52; and William Hauser's America's Army in Crisis, p. 730), the Americans were indeed, as Loory baldly puts it, ""defeated"" in Vietnam. Defeated not so much by the enemy as by the military establishment's inability to solve its internal problems: the sheer vastness of the machine, the growth of a ""yes-man syndrome"" within the officer corps (which eroded and corrupted professional judgment), the demoralization of enlisted men (resulting from ""chickenshit"" discipline, racism, drugs, inferior training, provision of soporific sex, boredom), and a growing capacity for self-deception and intolerance of the truth. Loory, a journalist and correspondent for the L. A. Times until he joined WNBC-TV News in New York earlier this year, traces the malaise to the development of the Cold War and the ""idea that the spread of international communism could be contained with weaponry and with vast numbers of men to operate that weaponry"" -- a mistake for many reasons but mainly because it put the military squarely in ""the political process."" Like Walton and Hauser, Loory mils for reforms; but his are broader and more understanding of the real nature of the dilemma, advocating ""the restoration of true military professionalism"" and a resolve by the civilian leadership ""to use the military machine in its one legitimate role -- the defense of the nation when national survival is truly and unquestionably at stake."" An intelligent analysis which should be required reading at DOD, the Pentagon, and the White House.