School of the Americas


I'm generally sympathetic to the argument that the School of the Americas was a very bad thing. But articles like this from In These Times by Robin Lloyd don't really help. If you were to read it knowing nothing else, you could easily come away thinking that the only reason to oppose the school is that some people who went there did some bad stuff. In fact that's exactly what Catholic blogger Bill Cork likes to say in dismissing them.

The real damning evidence against SOA is not that some graduates did some horrific things, but that the School of the Americas (using taxpayer money) taught immoral practices as approved curriculum. So yes, the School of Americas was a very bad thing. But you wouldn't know that from Lloyd's article.

But what about now? SOA was closed down in 2001 and was replaced by the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC). What are they teaching there these days? The Army claims they teach civil rights. The Catholic Bishop of Madison chairs an independent review board that monitors the school. You can make an appointment to sit in on classes and observe.

If that's true, then it seems like these protests have outlived their usefulness. Indeed, I've seen no accusations against WHINSEC or SOA that are less than 15 years old. School of the Americas Watch's press release webpage consists mostly of publicizing their protests. In short, I see no evidence that WHINSEC is a threat to human rights now.

If these people want to stay relevant, they need to give us a reason to believe that WHINSEC, today, is still teaching its students to violate human rights. Otherwise, as Bill Cork says: "Stop living in the 80s. Open up GitmoWatch."

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This page contains a single entry by Papa-Lu published on January 30, 2007 6:41 PM.

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