Regarding the April 4 front-page article “Is Iraq the new forgotten war?”: I’m quite appalled that someone would mention “forgotten” when the United States has been here the last eight years trying to give something to a people that they are still learning they have, freedom. But I should not be appalled: It is the news media I blame.

Apparently the “forgotten” war isn’t bringing enough ratings anymore, so let’s move on to Afghanistan. Yeah, there is still death and destruction going on there.

I really thought it was going to take some time for the American people (and the world) to forget that we were here in Iraq. In fact, it is because of the dead and the stories of their lives of being here that we will know we were here.

Less than 1 percent of the total population of the U.S. serves in the military. To me that is sad.

I still blame the news media. Instead of trying to acquire all the money and all the ratings, how about caring for people and their stories? Iraq won’t be forgotten if the media keep it in Americans’ minds. But the fallen don’t need your sympathy, they want you to stop degrading their memory, of how they chose to come to a hellhole to give things that the Iraqis never knew: freedom and safety.

I will always be proud of my military service and the people with whom I serve. Currently I’m in Iraq, Camp Liberty. Oh by the way, there is still something going on here. Just last night someone tried to blow us up. But hey, if your paper isn’t mentioning anything, maybe it isn’t going on! When stuff blew up and my living space shook, I guess it was my imagination, right? Is this the Jedi mind trick, waving of the hand and saying, “There is nothing going on here.”

I respect the article. It just sucks that people don’t care anymore about people. This is only my point of view, but I invite anyone to come here for some time and see if “nothing is going on” or if it’s “forgotten”?

Sgt. Robert A. Kerr

Camp Liberty, Iraq

Fee needed to keep bank open

Regarding the recent letters commenting on on- and off-post currency exchange rates (“Not banking on DOD oversight,” March 30; “On-post exchange rates worse,” March 26): The Community Bank is responsible for setting the daily foreign currency rate throughout U.S. Army Europe. The rate includes a 2.5 percent increase (called the accommodation rate) from the actual purchase price for Community Bank. This rate spread enables the bank to be self-sustaining, and is mandated by the Department of Defense.

Community Bank does not profit from any fees or charges associated with the administration and operation of Community Bank; the fees are used to conduct daily operations and ensure the bank remains self-sustaining. The 2.5 percent FX commission rate is used worldwide.

Any reduction in, or elimination of, the FX rate fee would have an adverse impact on servicemembers, their families and other appropriated funds programs. The reduction in fees would cause a loss of supplemental income, i.e. cost-of-living allowance (COLA) and overseas housing allowance (OHA), due to the way in which DOD has designed and developed the tables and tracking systems for the payment of COLA and OHA. The 2.5 percent FX rate is used in the computation of OHA and COLA, and the 2.5 percent is offset by increasing the amount of COLA and OHA. If the 2.5 percent FX rate was decreased or eliminated, OHA and COLA would also decrease.

Capt. Chris Wurst

266th Financial Management Center

U.S. Army Europe banking and credit union liaison officer

Kaiserslautern, Germany

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