The Elite Group of Four-Star Admirals

I object to the characterization offered by Sen. Patty Murray (D) of Washington in her opinion-page article ``Military Chain of Command Needs Accountability,'' Sept. 29. I know nothing about Admiral Mauz, except that the selection process leading to a four-star admiral position requires repeatedly superior performance. That is not to say that the admiral did not make some mistakes in his final position. The old joke about being promoted to one's level of incompetence often has some truth.

Admiral Mauz probably served in one or two wars with distinction and successfully commanded thousands of men and women in a variety of situations. If Senator Murray is beaten at the next election, should she not be given senatorial retirement pay?

She does not offer evidence that the admiral committed any crime or moral impropriety - only that he might have exhibited poor judgment in two difficult personnel cases.

That may be grounds for early or prompt retirement from a position of high responsibility, but not for reduction in rank or public condemnation.

Even senators should bear some responsibility for their actions. I hope the voters of the state of Washington think carefully about the character of the person who represents them in Washington. Douglas Lilly Norman, Okla.,

The Elite Group of Four-Star Admirals

Typically, a flag officer (a general or admiral) serves anywhere from 25 to 30 years before even being considered for promotion to three- or four-star ranks. This professional lifetime of service is not spent merely marking time but is consistently filled with outstanding performance and superior service.

Only a minute number of officers achieve flag rank and even fewer achieve three- and four-star rank.

Additionally, the Senate Armed Services Committee must confirm all senior flag officer nominations by the president before the officer can be promoted.

Perhaps of greater service to the taxpayers would be a review of all departing members of Congress to see if they warrant retirement with full allowances and benefits. Scott M. Hathaway Alexandria, Va.,

The Elite Group of Four-Star Admirals Lessons from the Munich Pact

The opinion-page article ``The Rooms That History Forgot,'' Sept. 30, evokes a profound sadness over the denials and compromises made by individuals and society during the Hitler atrocities and the stark realization that this kind of mentality is in operation today, Bosnia being a classic example. I made copies for our children not only because their dad spent more than four years in the military during World War II, but because the lessons to be learned from the Munich Pact are so potent and necessary today. How often do we trust government bureaucrats or think-tank gurus to do our thinking for us?

How often do we reelect congressional representatives who insist on hidden amendments before they will vote for a bill, thus increasing budget woes? How often do we elect candidates who have lied to Congress or lined their own pockets with bribes? Why wring our hands 50 years after the Munich Pact was signed - infamous as it was - unless we are willing to ask: How much of a Hitler is in me? How much of a Chamberlain? Anna Adams Vinson Pleasant Ridge, Mich.,

The Elite Group of Four-Star Admirals Solutions to control dioxin

The article ``Exhaustive US Report on Dioxin Satisfies Few in Scientific Debate,'' Sept. 21, missed an important part of the story. There are good technologies to control dioxin. I represent one of the few industries that are regulated: waste-to-energy plants, which use trash as fuel to generate electricity and steam. The power plants we've built over the past decade prove that these dioxin controls work. But unless the Environmental Protection Agency investigates other sources of dioxin, these technologies will just sit on the shelf. The EPA report - by its own numbers - accounts for less than half the dioxin sources. Major dioxin sources, well-known in Europe, are not counted as ``known'' sources in the report. As several environmental groups have said, ``EPA's first priority should be to investigate dioxin sources that are unregulated. Our own industry's record proves that the solutions exist. Maria Zannes Washington President, Integrated Waste Services Association,

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