Wing commanders in the U.S. Air Force are held responsible for aircraft accidents and other serious lapses. So why should the superintendent of the Air Force Academy, Lt. Gen. John R. Dallager, and his second in command, Brig. Gen. S. Taco Gilbert III, not be held responsible for an environment in which young women cadets were harassed and intimidated for reporting rape [news story, March 8]?

Rape is a felony. Congress should to take a hard look at military leaders who do not hold themselves or their cadets to the standard reflected in the Uniform Code of Military Justice, much less to a moral code to which Americans as a country subscribe.

CHARLOTTE CLINGER

Fairfax

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When the military blames rape on a "climate . . . that has evolved over time," as Lt. Col. Chester Curtis did in speaking for Air Force Secretary James G. Roche [front page, March 7], the macho mentality of blame-the-woman is still with us.

"Climates" don't rape women. Rape is a violent, criminal act of assault, not a natural phenomenon that has "evolved." It could happen at the Air Force Academy in such staggering numbers only because of the negligence of the academy's administrators and their superiors. Punishing the people responsible, whoever and wherever they are, would not be "scapegoating," it would be justice.

SCOTT CHAFIN

Falls Church