I, for one, am tired of the ad hominem attacks on politicians. I don't give a damn about their war records, personal proclivities, love lives or other irrelevant issues. I'd like to see political discourse based upon a candidate's beliefs and philosophy.

I know that you will answer that you made it clear that you didn't necessarily believe any of the allegations against Senator McCain, you merely felt that the kooks raising them deserved a hearing. When one finds mud in the gutter, it is best to leave it there. When you pick it up to show others, you're left with muddy hands--and you are. I believe that you printed the article in a desperate attempt to boost your circulation and are more contemptible than if you had actually believed the stories.

To make the record and my views clear, I am not a supporter of Senator McCain. I did not vote for him for senator (either time) and, if he should be nominated, it is doubtful that I would vote for him to be president. But that is not because I think he's a traitor, or I don't like his war record. That is because I do not agree with his views or philosophy. I realize that that may be an unusual reason, but some of us do base our votes on that type of reasoning.

David Eisenberg

Three former secretaries of defense testified before the SSC that they believed the U.S. left living POWs in Vietnam. Former NSA analysts also testified to the same. Military men with no questionable background have testified. Documents exist. Satellite photos exist. In other words, it's not just wackos who believe that men could be alive in Southeast Asia or Russia.

One final question for John McCain: Since all of the POWs released in 1973 were fully debriefed, and Colonel Ted Guy has okayed the public release of his debrief, will John McCain do the same? Why not?

Wayne Feltenberger
via Internet

As I suspected, your recent article on Senator McCain stirred up emotions, debate and a rehash of the extraordinary distortions and unfounded insinuations of some tragically bitter people. Incidentally, these are people for whom I have great compassion. I understand the pain of their losses.

Because I am a former Marine, was a POW (for more than six years) with McCain, and know of his heroic conduct, I am compelled to address comments from former Marine Bob Goldstein posted on your Web site. Mr. Goldstein, thank you for your sacrifices in Vietnam during some of the roughest times. Sadly, you diminish your contributions and do discredit to our Corps by your untrue diatribe directed toward an incredibly great American, John McCain. I was with John in Hanoi for several years. You, sir, are dead wrong, and are to be pitied for your bitterness and for being so badly misinformed. Again, I thank you and our fellow Marines for the sacrifices you made on our behalf, but suggest you must revisit the meaning of "Semper Fidelis," truly understand its profound meaning, and not hide behind it.

Orson Swindle
Lieutenant Colonel, USMC (retired)
Alexandria, Virginia

I could not help but notice in your pro-McCain "War Hero" piece that you did not mention that Senator McCain successfully sponsored legislation that gutted the Missing Service Personnel Act (part of the Defense Authorization Act) that upgraded the Missing Service Personnel Act to protect the rights of those missing and that more information be made available to their immediate families.

Fortunately, months later, Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell was successful in getting most of these provisions reinstated. They are now protecting the very rights of our three current POWs held in Yugoslavia--in part, that any U.S. personnel taken during any authorized military action (including "peacekeeping" missions) are classified as prisoners of war.

Also, it would not have been difficult for you to confirm that Colonel Ted Guy was the senior ranking officer at the Hanoi Hilton.

Your article was a "piece of work" for Senator McCain. You speak of libel; you, in effect, have attacked every family member and veteran who has worked to bring our comrades home for proper burials. Without the efforts of the POW/MIA community, remains being returned for proper burials would have stopped years ago.

On a final point, my wife worked at CINCPAC with Admiral McCain, Senator McCain's father. She worked with highly classified files during "Operation Homecoming" and knows, for a fact, that many military personnel who were expected to be repatriated during Operation Homecoming never came home, nor have the Communist Vietnamese ever produced many of their remains to date.

Today we hear the families of the POWs in Yugoslavia stating they will not rest until their sons are released. Yet according to your article, they are now part of those you call "zealots." No, they love their sons and await their return. I also pray for their safe return.

Roger Young
via Internet

Readers Digest
Thank you for your fair and unbiased article "Indian Stew" (Michael Kiefer, February 4) on the controversial work of Dr. Christy Turner. Both David Brainerd and George Armelagos (Letters, March 11) criticized Turner's work for its politically incorrect and potentially sensational content. As students in Turner's graduate class, Bioarchaeology: Cannibalism and Violence in the Southwest, at Arizona State University, we would like to respond to his critics.

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