The Common Good
January-February 2001

Peace Talks at SOA

by Rose Marie Berger, Susannah Hunter | January-February 2001

While 10,000 protestors gathered outside the gates of the U.S.

While 10,000 protestors gathered outside the gates of the U.S. Army School of the Americas (SOA) last fall, 40 students from Goshen College—a Mennonite school in Indiana—met on the base with the SOA commandant Col. Glenn Weidner. For nearly four hours, the SOA officials explained why they teach courses such as urban warfare and drug interdiction. The Goshen students discussed the Mennonite peace position, why they think that increased military involvement in Latin America actually increases instability, and possible ways of resolving conflict without violence.

Goshen student Eric Kanagy initiated the meeting by a phone call to the base commander. "How many times do you get two sides together and really talk and really understand each other," Kanagy said. "It made the school a real place with real people and real issues. We came out of there understanding each other. Not agreeing, but understanding."

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