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Too Much Optimism on Effect of Advisors

July 31, 2001

Our ambassador to Colombia expresses an overly optimistic vision of the effect that U.S. military advisors have in Colombia. "Broader Role by U.S. Likely in Colombia" (July 26) describes a plan to expand the use of U.S. forces and private contractors to train Colombian armed forces. American Ambassador Anne Patterson is cited as saying the plan would help reform the Colombian army, which has a history of human rights abuses.

But the article also points out that the United States has been providing military instruction to troops in Colombia for decades. During that time, the Colombian army has learned a simple method for cleaning up its image. It now subcontracts most of the massacres, torture and forced disappearances to its paramilitary allies.

Patrick Bonner

South Gate

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