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Why try to clip McCain's wings?

October 08, 2008

Re "McCain's mishaps in the cockpit," Oct. 6

As an Air Force physician during the Vietnam conflict, I had the privilege of caring for pilots.

It takes a special breed of individual to be a fighter pilot -- they are cocky, bright, risk-taking and extremely coordinated individuals.

And thank God for them! I have nothing but the greatest respect for fighter pilots, as I do for any serviceman putting his life on the line for the rest of us.

Mention is made of John McCain's being invited to the captain's cabin for dinner on the maiden voyage of the Enterprise because of "his famous name." No mention is made of his turning down the opportunity to be released from captivity early, also because of his famous name, saying he was not leaving unless all the men were released. McCain then spent more than four years being tortured in prison. To me and to thousands of veterans and other Americans, this demonstrates the character of this man.

It hurts me to see you degrade an American war hero to further your political agenda.

Howard L.

Hambrecht MD

Toluca Lake

Speaking of testing the limits, your hilarious piece on McCain's flying goofs sets a new standard for ... what's the term? ... journalistic integrity.

Having not yet decided which candidate to vote for, learning that McCain was a "cocky flier" who "push[ed] the envelope" and took "risks" makes me more likely to vote for the other guy. Barack Obama, after all, didn't crash once, nor did he ever miss a target on the rifle range.

No doubt about it, risking life and limb for your country only counts if you never scratch the paint on your supersonic jet.

Jerry Pomeroy

Sun City

Pity those of us who don't live life to the fullest. Although I respect The Times' good-naturedly pointing to Obama's penchant for playing basketball to provide relief from his (nonstop) campaign schedule, your canned review of McCain's long military aviation record is beyond belief.

You label him as cocky in the article header. To what do you ascribe Obama's cockiness? We're waiting.

Russ Wilson

San Diego

It's obvious that McCain's non-regulatory/deregulatory philosophy goes back to his early career as a naval pilot.

I was a naval pilot during WWII, and had the pilot regs of that period been in force, and been enforced, during the Vietnam conflict, McCain most likely would not have had his prisoner-of-war record to talk about. If all of his hot pilot antics were true, he probably would have lost his wings (or perhaps never even obtained them) long before he had the opportunity to be shot down.

I admire his strength of character in surviving his POW experience. But do we really want a president who's "prone to test the limits" or whose crashes led to questions of judgment?

Hugo Jones


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