MIA: History: ETOL: Newspapers & Periodicals: International Socialist Review: Issue 20

International Socialist Review, November–December 2001


Close down the U.S. School of the Assassins


From International Socialist Review, Issue 20, November-December 2001.
Downloaded with thanks from the ISR Archive.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the ETOL.


In 1997, the U.S. government was forced to admit that it has run a training camp for Latin American dictators and death squad leaders for more than 50 years at the School of the Americas (SOA) at Fort Benning, in Columbus Georgia. SOA’s curriculum – including torture tactics, anti-civilian warfare techniques, and mass terror methods – has since been denounced in the pages of the New York Times and other major U.S. newspapers. Congress changed the school’s name, but its purpose remained.

Long-time opponents of U.S.-backed terrorism in a group called SOA Watch denounce U.S. hypocrisy. In a statement on the September 11 bombing attacks:

The recognition that some of the alleged perpetrators of these crimes were recipients of military training by U.S. forces or with U.S. aid grieves us deeply. This type of military training is embodied by the SOA.

During this time, we are mindful of our sisters and brothers in Latin America. We have seen the economic policies of the U.S.-backed World Trade Organization, International Monetary Fund and World Bank force people into abject poverty and an inescapable cycle of oppression. These policies are largely enforced by the 60,000 Latin American soldiers trained at the SOA, many of whom have received extensive training in civilian-targeted warfare.

As George W. Bush calls for an all-out war against “Terrorism,” we wonder why he hasn’t closed the SOA, where millions of taxpayer dollars are being used to fund a training school for terrorists in our own backyard.

SOA Watch founding member, Father Roy Bourgeois, is currently on a speaking tour to mobilize antiwar activists to come to the protest this year, November 16–18, and throw light on America’s prominent role in terrorist training.

This is an enormously important protest for those opposed to the U.S. government’s war in Afghanistan. A massive march that exposes the hypocrisy of Bush’s condemnation of terror while training terrorists would be an important step in the fight against this war.

For more information, visit SOA Watch at www.soaw.org.

Last updated on 8 August 2022