Kucinich protests U.S. army training school
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of MSNBC/Associated Press
Posted: November 25th, 2007
Longshot Democratic presidential hopeful Dennis Kucinich joined thousands of protesters in a demonstration Sunday against a U.S. Army school that opponents accuse of fostering human rights abuses in Latin America. Kucinich used the occasion to emphasize his opposition to the Bush administration for leading the U.S. into war in Iraq and now threatening to attack Iran. "We reject war as an instrument of foreign policy," the Ohio congressman told the crowd, estimated by local police to number about 10,000. Kucinich said one of his first acts if elected president would be to shut down the school at Fort Benning, Georgia, which trains Latin American soldiers, police and government officials. The Army's School of the Americas moved to Fort Benning from Panama in 1984 and was replaced in 2001 by the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, under the Defense Department. The annual protests outside the gate to the military installation are timed to commemorate six Jesuit priests who were killed along with their housekeeper and her daughter in El Salvador on Nov. 19, 1989. Some of the killers had attended the School of the Americas. The military has acknowledged that some graduates committed abuses after attending the School of the Americas, but has said in the past that no cause-and-effect relationship has ever been established. The new Western Hemisphere Institute has mandatory human rights courses, but the demonstrators contend changes at the school are only cosmetic. Kucinich said in an interview that he will continue lobbying for the closure of the school even if his longshot candidacy for president fails.