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New name, same shame

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Instead of calling a skunk a skunk, let's call it a rose — for that'll make it smell so much sweeter, right?

Such is the level of sophistry presently being propounded by our Pentagon — the multibillion-dollar military hierarchy that previously gave us the term "collateral damage" to refer to the killing of innocent people.

The Pentagon is expert at defining away its own horrors. One of its ongoing horrors is what it calls the School of Americas, a 54-year old military academy operating out of the U.S. Army base at Fort Benning, Ga.

The SOA trains Latin American military officers — including teaching them torture, mass murder and the other dictatorial arts. Leaders of some of the most bloodthirsty death squads in the Americas learned their chops at this notorious school — which is known among the people of Latin America as "School of the Assassins."

Hundreds of thousands of indigenous people — along with nuns, bishops, even U.S. tourists — have been tortured, raped, massacred, and have "disappeared" thanks to the graduates of SOA.

This is not a positive image for our Pentagon, so at last the brass has decided to deal with this blemish.

No, no, Nanette — they have not chosen to shut down the School of Assassins, they have simply renamed it. Henceforth, it is to be called the "Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation."

There ... doesn't that make you feel better? Instead of your tax dollars going to SOA, now they'll go to WHISC — as in a whisk broom trying to sweep raw atrocity under the rug of euphemism.

Luckily, people are not fooled by the Pentagon's shuck and jive, and thousands of Americans from across the country will gather at Fort Benning on Jan. 17 in nonviolent opposition to the old school with the new name.

This is Jim Hightower saying ... You can call a skunk a rose, but it'll still stink up the place. To join this fight, call 253-376-4872. Jim Hightower writes ammunition for agitation. E-mail

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