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.,

Your letters are welcome. For publication they must be signed and include your address and telephone number. Only a selection can be published, and none acknowledged. Letters should be addressed to ``Readers Write,'' and can be sent by Internet E-mail (200 word maximum) to OPED@RACHEL.CSPS.COM, by fax to 617-450-2317, or by mail to One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115

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