Military Starts Low-Altitude Training Flights in New Mexico

Received from the Peaceful Skies Coalition, originally published by Santa Fe New Mexican 11/12/2010:

By Seth Mosgofian

My family, friends, neighbors and I are extremely concerned that the Air Force has proposed low-altitude flights in and around Northern New Mexico to train for missions in Afghanistan. We strongly object to the noise, the pollution, the disturbance of the peace and the risk to our homes and lives these flights will present, as well as the alleged purpose.

Wherever you live in the United States, you have the right to expect peace, safety and security in your home. That right should never be threatened by our own military, not even in the much-abused and alleged name of security. In the absence of a direct threat, the military does not have the right to endanger the health and lives of American citizens or to use us as guinea pigs for bombing raids against the Afghan people. This training is not for defense, it is for offense.

The war in Afghanistan is not just. It is reported that as few as 30 al-Qaida remain there, having moved on to Pakistan or parts unknown. So why are we still there, and why is the Air Force still risking lives and wasting tax dollars?

Unless the establishment of a Unocal pipeline or U.S. control of the vast Afghan mineral reserves defines winning, this war will not be won. Many countries before us discovered the futility of war in Afghanistan, and fighting it from the air only guarantees the death of innocent civilians. Furthermore, these wars and the related tests and training flights, etc., are bankrupting the American people.

Flying these aircraft at altitudes as low as a 20-story building is utterly reckless. At that elevation there is no margin for error, especially with the Osprey, prone to disaster, and the C-130 behemoth. Other pilots use the same air space, which will become extremely hazardous or taken off limits. Furthermore, the decibel levels will be intense and inescapable. For those with nervous-system disorders, environmental sensitivities or migraines, these flights can have dire consequences. How does someone escape these assaults? In planning these flights, the Air Force shows a disregard for the realities of life outside of a war zone. Has war become the constant and peace the exception?

At this point, it is very difficult to justify further attacks on Afghanistan. These practice missions are intended for use against a people who themselves have never caused harm to Americans. The Air Force isn't planning to use the experience gained in these "exercises" against the people who blew up the Twin Towers, and these practice flights won't bring Osama bin Laden any closer to justice.

So is there another agenda? Are we to be conditioned to a war-zone atmosphere or is the Air Force trying to determine our resolve as citizens in the face of military intimidation?

Low-altitude flights over populated areas are abhorrently reckless, and the purpose of these particular exercises is morbid. If the Air Force insists on these expensive and wasteful war games, then we should insist they do so on a simulator and save the taxpayers millions of dollars; or find a remote, unpopulated part of the country in which to practice, where the noise and pollution will not affect the health and lives of residents and wildlife and where the consequences of an accident will only affect those who volunteer for this thoughtless insanity.

If you are opposed to the 700 planned flights (three flights every night all year long) at 200 feet over Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico, please contact your elected officials in Congress and the Santa Fe City Council and tell them to stop these flights. You should also contact Cannon Air Force Base. It is are accepting comments through Wednesday. The e-mail address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Seth Mosgofian lives in Santa Fe.


Main Afghanistan & Pakistan Military Starts Low-Altitude Training Flights in New Mexico


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