Lesson learned from military service Re: "Let's require presidents to have prior military service," June 28 Mr. Kane's column is a five-star effort in my book. After 22 years of military service I, too, remember the phrase "Whip out a 341 form!" Not screwing up was the first and most significant lesson I ever got out of basic training, and something I still strive for today. One night when I was on guard duty, an instructor came to "visit" at midnight. I went through the proper sequence challenging him, and eventually let him in. We proceeded around the barracks for three minutes before he said, "Whip out the 341 form."I stood there in shock, handed one to him, and eventually got the courage to ask where I screwed up. He surprised me by saying that the 341 could be used to note proper behavior in a challenged situation. I was one of two recruits to graduate basic training without losing a single 341. Roy Hammond

Obama has America headed for an oligarchy Re: "Americans relate to Founders, not Progressives," June 27 I strongly disagree with Michael Barone's premise that the "Obama Democrats didn't set out to produce an unpopular stimulus package, an unpopular health care bill and an unpopular cap and trade scheme." A radical Barack Obama, aided by congressional Democrats and influenced by anti-American, anti-capitalist revolutionaries in and around the White House, intentionally forced these drastic bills -- that were unpopular from the beginning -- through Congress. They were far from the best solutions because they unnecessarily drain our treasury and transfer power to the executive that should rightly remain with the legislative branch. By centralizing power, Obama is transforming us from a republic to an oligarchy with the final goal being a socialist/communist nation.The Obama Democrats support him by their calculated, deceitful rejection of citizens' concerns and rights.If this process continues unabated, by next January it may not matter who wins the elections. Paul Rae

Fairfax County can't afford police misconduct Part of the financial problem we face in Fairfax County is police misconduct or negligence. Millions of dollars have been paid to litigants of lawsuits against county police officers. In January, Fairfax supervisors awarded $1.5 million to close a lawsuit brought by the family of Ashley McIntosh, who was killed by a police officer in a Route 1 car crash. Pending cases involving million-dollar lawsuits include the "accidental shooting death" of Dr. Salvatore Culosi Jr. by a SWAT team officer serving an arrest warrant for sports gambling. Civil rights activists use tort litigation to enhance police accountability, raising the cost of police misconduct to a critical level. Do Fairfax taxpayers benefit more by allocating funds to renovate schools, or to pay millions of dollars in civil lawsuits resulting from police misconduct? Our group remains pro-police, but expresses deep concern for the few who violate their oath to protect and serve citizens. By their very special nature of responsibilities, they must be subjected to accountability. Nicholas R. Beltrante
Executive director,

The Citizen Coalition for Police Accountability