Columnist’s defense is way off base

It was recently revealed that there have be cases where astronauts were intoxicated at launchings.

Charles Krauthammer in his Aug. 3 column defends these impaired astronauts. He says we have to “Cut these cowboys some slack,” because of the anxiety involved in their task. So obviously they should be allowed to self-medicate their anxiety, he seems say. Does he condone marijuana or misuse of prescription drugs for assuaging their fears?

He reasons that the alcohol use was acceptable because they didn’t have any real work to do for three hours after takeoff. He says by that time, “… they will long ago have peed the demon rum into their recycling units.”

National Transportation Safety Board research and experimentation established that hangovers produced significant performance impairment for pilots. The FAA prohibits flying within eight hours of ingesting alcohol; some air carriers have set more restrictive time limits, which vary between 12 and 24 hours. In addition, some impose “dry layovers,” regardless of the length of time.

Krauthammer’s level of thinking on this issue is what I would expect from one who has been such a cheerleader for the Iraq war and other failed administrative policies.

Terry Hanna


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