The American military is more intellectual than most people understand. Generals often have PhDs and must at least have a masters degree. Even many senior enlisted people have masters degrees, and always at least a BA.
This is what so many fiction writers and screenwriters get wrong when they cast military professionals as knuckle dragging villains. Successful military leaders tend to be very thoughtful people.
The really interesting questions get posed when we ask ourselves how very thoughtful people can sometimes behave in profoundly immoral ways. That’s when unquestioned dominance hierarchy starts to rear its head. When a person who spent years reading history deeply and thoughtfully enough to earn a PhD from an Ivy League university can approve waterboarding or something similar, then what does that say about mainstream American culture?