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Joint Chiefs of Staff

William V. Kennedy lays blame on the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) for a long series of failures, from the Korean war to Grenada [``Is the United States creating a Prussian General Staff?'' Jan. 2]. The JCS are not perfect, but to blame them for such failures is absurd. The nation was ill prepared for the Korean conflict. The US had gone through a long war and nobody -- the President, Congress, or the people -- wanted to get involved in another war in Asia and chose to ignore intelligence data that indicated a conflict was coming.

The Bay of Pigs disaster was caused by President Kennedy's decision not to back the freedom fighters. Consequently they were massacred by Castro's forces. As a result of this timid decision, we have a serious communist threat in Cuba and Central America.

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The Vietnam war was Johnson's and McNamara's war. Those two individuals made all the decisions. The military only carried out their orders.

The Iran raid was President Carter's failure. He and the White House staff had their fingers too deep in the operation. What a contrast to the military capture of the Egyptian airliner that carried the Achille Lauro hijackers. The only instruction President Reagan gave the military was ``Do it.''

The decision to use military force is the responsibility of the President. Regardless of the type of organization in the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the President must rely on it to carry out his orders. JCS is far more capable of running a military operation than politically motivated politicians. Col. Harry Greenhow, ret. Fort Worth, Texas

If ``. . . all evidence from Korea to Grenada says . . .'' that the present Joint Chiefs system has failed, we have had an incompetent military system for 35 years! (and the Russians haven't jumped us?).

The statement that the American military can easily be ``. . . transformed into an arrogant self-serving Prussian general staff'' is insulting. The US military is probably more an advocate of civilian control than civilians themselves. The JCS are very careful to restrict their advice to purely military matters.

I am astounded at the statement that there is no strategic planning outside of the Defense Department. What about the National Security Council, its planning staff, the Cabinet, the departments, and the President's national-security adviser? Col. D. Holmberg, ret. El Paso, Texas

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published and none individually acknowledged. All are subject to condensation. Please address letters to ``readers write.''

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