In seeking to transform a simple case of military insubordination into a modern-day Dreyfus Affair, reporter Steve Vogel [news story, Dec. 9] may assist Col. Ernest Beinhart's singular attempt to remove some stubborn facts from the historical record surrounding the colonel's dismissal from the National Defense University.

As someone who worked in the early 1990s with Alvin Bernstein, the director of the university who dismissed Col. Beinhart, I saw more than the "brilliant, articulate man" described by Mr. Vogel. I also witnessed an adroit leader of a diverse staff of accomplished military officers and civilian analysts. Indeed, Mr. Bernstein's consensus-building skills were essential to the Marshall Center's founding in 1993. Moreover, he has nurtured the careers of numerous individuals -- in and out of uniform -- who remain devoted to him and who certainly would have been available to Mr. Vogel for comment.

Above all, however, I encountered an individual whose most characteristic trait was strict adherence to an unimpeachable ethical code of conduct. That, above all, is why Mr. Vogel's portrait of Mr. Bernstein rings so false.

WILLIAM BODIE

Chevy Chase

Steve Vogel simplified the issues in the complex events that originated at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Garmisch, Germany, where I served in 1994.

The stark inadequacy and failed integrity of a closed system of military law, on which 1.4 million uniformed men and women must depend, became the overarching issue in this affair in early 1995.

More serious than my original complaint against Alvin H. Bernstein and Gen. Charles G. Boyd is subsequent tampering with legal and investigative safeguards at the most senior levels of the Department of Defense. Because protections for those at the Marshall Center were systemically disabled from the top of the Defense Department, others at the center also were denied due process, and some have been fighting for justice for years.

All we have sought from the past five years is a fair and open examination of evidence by an impartial authority. The allegations I am making have been provable at every point. All I need is an honest forum, away from the Department of Defense.

ERNEST G. BEINHART III

Bethesda