I am writing in support of Andrew Beale’s recent column. Regardless of the details of the engagement that killed the two Reuters photographers, his overall point stands.
From its inception, the United States has used horrific violence to gain territory and power. Certain continuity stretches from the dispossession and expulsion of Native Americans to the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s an old story; countless empires throughout history have behaved in the same fashion. Aggressors across time cloak their ambitions in the noblest humanitarian rhetoric. The narrative that presents U.S. belligerence as uniquely righteous continues to legitimate slaughter in our day. Because his piece undermines this pernicious narrative, Beale deserves accolades rather than attacks.
A combination of anecdotal accounts and statistical studies suggest coalition forces have directly killed many tens of thousands in Iraq since the 2003 invasion. The U.S. military looms as one of the most harmful forces operating in the world today.
As New Mexicans and UNM students, we have a special connection to the violence by virtue of the pivotal role our state and school continue to play in the military-industrial complex. Recruiters try to fill quotas on campus while University scientists research the next generation of deadly devices.
I live a mile and a half from an Air Force base loaded with weapons of mass destruction. Though these things might produce local jobs, the effort materially furthers death, maiming and oppression overseas.
Is this honestly what folks want in their community and as their mark on the planet? It’s not what I want in mine. If we come together, we can instead create an Albuquerque firmly committed to peace. Guns and bombs will not be welcome there.

Benjamin Abbott
UNM Graduate student