In their Oct. 1 letter taking issue with The Post's Sept. 5 editorial that recognized the need for the U.S. Army School of the Americas, Reps. Joe Moakley (D-Mass.) and Joe Scarborough (R-Fla.) erred. Their claim that "there are no classes on human rights offered at Fort Benning" is false.

As has been demonstrated by repeated secretary of defense certifications, reports of an external board of visitors and observations by visiting nongovernmental groups, every one of the 55 courses offered by the school requires the student to undergo human rights instruction. Every student and every instructor attends this instruction. No other Department of Defense school offers human rights instruction as thorough or as intense.

The congressmen's reference to two supposed cases of recent crimes committed by Colombian graduates omits the fact that one (who attended a cadet course more than 30 years before the alleged misconduct) voluntarily appeared before civilian prosecutors and charges were dismissed for lack of evidence. The other, who is accused of failing to prevent rather than committing crimes, attended a cadet course lasting 11 days 15 years before the alleged offense. Both have been subjected to a degree of due process by Colombian authorities which exceeds that afforded by School of the Americas critics.

Blaming the highly reputable School of the Americas for the subsequent failures of some graduates not only ignores the true causes of the region's miseries but also smears our servicemen and women who labor to impart the values of our military and our democracy to their Latin American counterparts.


Colonel, U.S. Army


U.S. Army School of the Americas

Fort Benning, Ga.