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The School of the Americas: Military Training and Political Violence in the Americas
by Lesley Gill
Located at Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia, the School of the Americas (soa) is a U.S. Army center that has trained more than sixty thousand soldiers and police, mostly from Latin America, in counterinsurgency and combat-related skills since it was founded in 1946. So widely documented is the participation of the School’s graduates in torture, murder, and political repre ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published September 13th 2004 by Duke University Press Books
(first published January 1st 2004)
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There seems to be little reason for the nations of Central America to have standing armies—indeed Costa Rica has never had one. Armies are used in civil wars (large scale slaughter of peasants, workers, students and indigenous people) or occasionally armed struggle against the United States and its proxies although that is usually left to irregular rebel troops that can be mopped up easily enough. Nicaragua was occupied by the United States from 1912 to 1933; U.S. troops took part in “police dut ...more
School of the Americas is anthropologist Lesley Gill’s examination of “how the United States constructs a repressive military apparatus, in a region long considered by many to be its ‘back-yard,’ through the lens of the U.S. Army’s School of the Americas” (p. 6). Over ten chapters, Gill doesn’t present any new history of the controversial military training center, but instead traces related empire building relationships through the experiences of three groups – U.S. and Latin American military p ...more
Mar 31, 2008 John rated it liked it
This is a one-sided book. Gill takes the stance that all US military intervention has caused harm to Latin America. I will agree that we have not had the best success with our policies toward the region, but none of the negative side-effects were intended to be malicious. Gill presents the SOA as if it were the one symbol for the US attempts to corrupt and manipulate the governments of Latin America. Although she talks with some school officials, she does not spend sufficient time explaining the ...more