Monday, May 14, 2007

My Top Ten - Starting with 10 (and no particular order)

We could do so much better...

10. School of the Americas

To quote SOA Watch:
The School of the Americas (SOA), in 2001 renamed the “Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation,” or WHINSEC, is a combat training school for Latin American soldiers, located at Fort Benning, Georgia.
Initially established in Panama in 1946, it was kicked out of that country in 1984 under the terms of the Panama Canal Treaty. Former Panamanian President, Jorge Illueca, stated that the School of the Americas was the “biggest base for destabilization in Latin America.” The SOA, frequently dubbed the “School of Assassins,” has left a trail of blood and suffering in every country where its graduates have returned.

Over its 59 years, the SOA has trained over 60,000 Latin American soldiers in counterinsurgency techniques, sniper training, commando and psychological warfare, military intelligence and interrogation tactics. These graduates have consistently used their skills to wage a war against their own people. Among those targeted by SOA graduates are educators, union organizers, religious workers, student leaders, and others who work for the rights of the poor. Hundreds of thousands of Latin Americans have been tortured, raped, assassinated, disappeared, massacred, and forced into refugee by those trained at the School of Assassins.

Alumni of this little School include: Former Salvadoran army officer Gonzalo Guevara Cerritos, convicted for the 1989 murder of six Jesuit priests, a housekeeper and her 14-year-old daughter, arrested by federal agents on October 18 in Los Angeles, California; Army Commander in Chief Efrain Vasquez and General Ramirez Poveda, who helped lead a failed coup in Venezuela in 2002; Roberto D'Aubuisson, who, in 1980, planned and ordered the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero, beloved champion of the poor in El Salvador. D'Aubuisson was the first person I'd ever heard associated with the term "Death Squad."

This is just a very, very tiny sampling of the SOA's alumni. And it still exists.

The simple fix: Shut it down.

Now and forever. It does us no good to be training people in how to oppress their own citizens. Several Latin American countries have withdrawn all of their soldiers or cops or both from the school, as they feel it is anti-democratic. Interestingly enough, these folks include Oscar Arias (Costa Rica), Hugo Chavez (Venezuela), and Argentina and Uruguay. All fairly left-wing. Your average right-wing dictator loves the SOA!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Things that make you want to go hfruhhuhhh

What am I - STOOPID?



So the Shrub gets his war funding bill and in an inspired moment of Presidential Comedy, VETOS it.

2nd veto of his presidency. First one was for stem-cell research.

Right. Parkinson's Disease is good for you, so is more war.

My wife and I are discussing children, but every time we talk about the education system, and how it pretty much sucks, but we can't afford private education, and then how the political situation is affecting the economic situation, and do we want to bring our children into a world where the middle class has vanished, and we just start spiraling and I want to drive my car into a bridge abutment.

I just saw An Inconvenient Truth. If anyone is interested in a used Ford Ranger, I'm desperate to sell this gas-guzzling behemoth (and it's a SMALL truck), and replace it with a tiny hybrid or electric car. I'm also reading The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, by Greg Palast, and he doesn't make me feel too good about Mr. Gore either. That or Al Gore is a little gullible in his dealings with big smokestack industries. Carbon Trading indeed...

There is no market-based solution to improve the environment! Can we just agree on that? Markets work to increase capital, not for the betterment of people. Government has to step in and step on many corporate toes to get them to behave. Regulation does actually work. It may be onerous, but other countries manage to have many regulations and still have corporations that work just fine.

Meanwhile, back in the land of "let's kill us some commies" - oops, sorry - "aaa-rabs," Mr. Shrub feels it is important not to tell the enemy exactly when we will be bugging out of Iraq. He wants it to be a surprise. Better still, he wants the next president to arrange the surprise party for the troops that are still there (assuming any are left).

You're dead.
Seriously. The troops need to come home, now. We need to stop building the world's largest American Embassy. We need to re-think how we approach foreign policy altogether. Every single administration since Teddy Roosevelt has dabbled in foreign fun for the sake of American Interests, and pretty much none of it has turned out well for the indigenous population or (ultimately) the American Interests in question. It's called blowback, and we do it better than most. See my previous posts for Interventions.
Next week: the top ten reasons why America is not a moral beacon for anyone, but how it could be.