I find it somewhat amazing that individuals in and out of the government are suggesting that the secretaries of state and defense should have resigned their positions over the Iran/hostage issue.

For a president to make responsible decisions, he must be surrounded by people with diverse opinions. These individuals should not be relegated to the role of yes men, afraid to speak their minds. Nor should they have such big egos that they feel nonacceptance of their point of view is an affront to their integrity.

The desire for presidential aides who would threaten to resign if their opinions were not accepted is absurd. Independent thought would give way to stagnation. Fresh ideas would be thwarted before they were even expressed. And the executive branch would join the legislature as an entity of government that inhibits new approaches to problem solving, mired in indecision and inaction.

The policy of dealing with Iran was a mistake. However, the decision of the two secretaries to remain in the administration was not. They properly expressed their displeasure in private -- and, realizing that the president preferred another option, they accepted the decision and acted accordingly.

It is ridiculous to condemn a decision-making process that enhances a president's ability to have numerous options.


Middletown, N.Y.