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The plight of military members who purchase homes only to see the home value drop, while somewhat tragic, does not merit federal intervention and rescue (“ ‘Underwater’ when the orders come,” article, March 20).

I live in York County, Va. (cited in the article), where, over the past 13 years, I’ve seen property values skyrocket and then settle into a much-lower-level flight. How can the U.S. taxpayers be expected to rescue military members who lose on their gamble of homeownership using the Department of Defense Homeowners Assistance Program as detailed in this article?

Here in York County, I’ve seen many, many military members purchase a home for $180,000 one year (2001) and sell the same, unimproved home three years later for $370,000. Those lucky winners in the homeownership gamble were winners, big winners. And good for them. Vaya con Dios.

Others bought at the height of the housing boom here in York County in 2005 and now stand to lose and lose big when they PCS out of here. But they made the conscious, rational, sober decision to take that risk when they took out that mortgage. They should put on their big-girl pants and accept their situation and their responsibilities.

These are not stupid people who are saying they stand to lose on their homeownership gamble. In fact, they are America’s best and brightest, college-educated, military leaders. However bright they may be, none of these folks are worthy of a bailout of their current financial situation courtesy of the American taxpayer. These folks should just sell the house and take their loss, rent the house out until the market comes back, or look at a geographical separation with the military member heading to the new duty station and the family remaining behind.

Actions have consequences. But expecting America to come to the rescue every time a few storm clouds gather overhead is very, very un-American.

Chief Master Sgt. James R. Kinney (retired)

Yorktown, Va.

U.S. needs more free-thinkers

I could not help but read the March 20 letter “Nomination’s a race to bottom” with a sense of bemusement. I breathlessly waited for the author to make a point as he denigrated conservatives. If his point is summed up in his final sentences (“So good luck, GOP. I’ll watch from my favorite restaurant.”), then I guess I’m still waiting.

The author points out a poll from Frank Luntz in which a hand-picked group of Iowans believed that our president is a Muslim. I could point out the numerous polls taken prior to the last presidential election in which the positions of Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama were reversed and a vast majority of Obama supporters still supported him. Of all people, Howard Stern displayed this sad fact on his radio program.

But those issues are beside the real point. The real point is that blindly supporting a party, regardless of facts, is killing this nation. Until voters educate themselves, take honest, nonpartisan looks at the issues, and hold our leaders accountable for their actions, we will continue in our current fiscal, ideological and moral downward spiral.

I hope the author doesn’t choke at his favorite restaurant when he realizes he didn’t get exactly what he paid for in the main course.

Warrant Officer 1 Shad Harvey

Camp Taji, Iraq


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