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School of the Canadas

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by Dr. Gunnar S. Böll

Writer Emeritus, Gonzo Magazine

I miss my dentist. I genuinely miss Eduardo. Well not so much Eduardo as the camaraderie of after hours vodka swilling nitrous sessions in his office. After hours means roughly 1 p.m. He's usually too shaky to work after that anyway. If he ever was, he is no longer an inspiration to the profession of dentistry.

The fool decided to go back to school. Like a mafia lawyer, Eduardo has this compulsion to rub shoulders with fiends, scumbags, and maniacs. So he decided to pose as a Columbian Colonel (the officer's cap I found for him is Russian, but it's not a perfect world, everyone understands that) and sign up at The School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Georgia.

Among its 60,000 or so distinguished graduates are Manuel Noriega and Omar Torrijos of Panama, Leopoldo Galtieri and Robert Viola of Argentina, Reagan's beloved 'freedom fighters', the murderers of Archbishop Oscar Romero, the guys who pulled off the El Mozote massacre, maybe even the late President 'Blowtorch Bob' D'Aubisson of El Salvador, I'll have to check. But anyway, Eduardo has huge jackboots to fill, and I'm sure he will, if he loosens up a little on the booze. Or maybe it helps.

In Chile, or Argentina, or both, graduates passed on their new American inspired knowledge to locals by kidnapping homeless drunks and torturing them to death. Such a sterling commitment to learning! Then they dumped the bodies back in the community in order to cause maximum terror. Two birds, so to speak. I just hope Eduardo knows what he got himself into. But then dentists can't be too squeamish.

People kept trying to get The School of the Americas shut down, calling it 'Coup School' and 'Torture School', so in a clever move of avoidance, the people in charge just changed the name to ''The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Co-operation', and killer students keep cramming in from places like Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Paraguay, Guatemala, Panama, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, and even Venezuela. I worry about Eduardo at the prom, if he gets that far. That wouldn't be a place for loose lips.

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I told him he didn't have to go all the way to Georgia and put up with those horrible southern accents, when we have the equivalent thing right here. In Regina. It's called the Depot. I told Eduardo if he simply had to consort with sadists, weirdoes and thugs, he should just become a Mountie. Become a 'member'. At the Depot you get an enticing curriculum of 785 hours which includes:


Bashing people in the head with batons.

Pepper spray.

Kneeing people in the nuts (where applicable).

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Shooting people.

Lying through your teeth.

I thought I had Eduardo convinced, but then he glanced this in the Mountie Handbook.

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I'm a Vancouver writer and film-maker. I have written extensively on political issues, mostly involving American foreign and domestic policy, and also issues in common with Canada such as the ongoing Omar Khadr case. My favorite outlets are OpEd (more...)

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