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Lawmakers urge Obama to close old School of the Americas

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Sixty-nine members of Congress are urging President Obama to shut down the Western Hemispheric Institute for Security Cooperation — once known as the School of the Americas.

The lawmakers, headed by Rep. James McGovern, Massachusetts Democrat, and Rep. John Lewis, Georgia Democrat, will deliver a letter to the president next week calling for the president to use an executive order to shut down the school at Fort Benning, Georgia, which has served for decades as a U.S. taxpayer-funded training facility for Latin American soldiers and military leaders.

The group, which includes only two Republicans, Reps. Michael Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania and Ron Paul of Texas, contend that closing the school would save more than $180 million over the next 10 years.

The Pentagon in 1999 closed the School of the Americas, which had been dogged by accusations that its alumni were among the hemisphere’s most notorious human rights violators, and opened the WHISC in its place.

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About the Author
David Eldridge

David Eldridge

David Eldridge joined The Washington Times in 1999 and over the next seven years helped lead the paper's coverage of regional politics and government, Sept. 11, and the sniper attacks of 2002. In 2006, he was named managing editor of the paper's website. He came to The Times from the Telegraph in North Platte, Neb., where he served as executive ...

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