School's mission vital to U.S. security interests

December 08, 2003

Dear Editor:

Last Monday, Mr. David Mikulec commented on the previous Friday's editorial by John Nelson.

Essentially, he maintained that our government has been sponsoring mass murders for quite some time in Central America via, as he described it, "that fine institution known as The School of the Americas (now known as the Western Hemisphere for Security Cooperation) at Fort Benning, Ga." He obviously is referring to some notorious graduates who later returned to their homeland and demonstrated that skills acquired by U.S. training could be used to undermine the mission of the school. This mission involves assisting leaders and soldiers to best utilize economic and military aid, which has been substantial and vital in preserving U.S. security interests.

As a veteran who has worked with graduates of this school, I assume that Mr. Mikulec's opinion is formed from either mass media information or from field experience. If relying on media-promulgated information, you would not be fully informed. If relying on field experience, he evidently has not had the opportunity to observe the positive aspects and graduates of the school.


Military experience in Central and South America in the last 25 years has been dealing with reckless lawlessness and American "Old West" situations. The process of helping struggling democracies grow involves force-on-force engagement. Guerrillas, bandits and drug lords in the Southern Hemisphere derive much strength from any anti-America sentiment used to disrupt positive efforts to maintain the legitimate political process. The influence and tactical training a joint operation school provide directly impact our allies and aid-receiving nations. Without this coordinated training, the ability of our allies to enforce their treaty obligations with one another as well as with us would be vulnerable to a wide variety of hostile forces in the countryside. As these threats remain and in some cases increase, the drawing power of economic development is undermined and within this development is where the true victory will emerge.

While the views of Mr. Mikulec are appreciated and have some merit, the control of the countryside provides security for us Yankees to the north. Training efforts of a military nature always involve risk with reward, and ventures such as these (including Iraq) are unfortunately necessary.

Tim B. Dexter

Major, USMC (Ret)


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