• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal


Is it time for our Spring fundraiser already? If you enjoy what we offer, and have the means, please consider donating. The sooner we reach our modest goal, the faster we can get back to business as (un)usual. Please, stay safe and we’ll see you down the road.

Amidst Coronavirus, It’s Time to Heal the U.S.’s Domestic and International Reputation

It is in times of crisis, like the growing coronavirus pandemic, that deep structural inequities and the U.S. government’s mismanagement of funds are starkly revealed. Half of all Americans live paycheck to paycheck. Half a million Americans sleep out on the streets. Thirty million Americans don’t have health insurance. Forty-five million are burdened with $1.6 trillion of student loan debt. I could go on, but the point of these stats is to highlight the fragility of our society and its uncertain ability to weather the human health and economic impacts of crises like the coronavirus.

Yet, the U.S. is supposedly the richest country in the history of the world, with a military budget that equals that of all of the other countries on Earth combined. Adding up the Pentagon budget, plus non-Pentagon budget military expenditures (e.g. nuclear weapons, which are paid for out of the Department of Energy), the U.S. war budget exceeds $1 trillion a year. In comparison, the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) budget is just a mere $11 billion. And consider this: Using estimates from the United Nations about what it would take to curb world hunger, just 3% of U.S. military spending could end starvation on Earth.

The irony is that whenever the people, especially the most vulnerable among us, come together to organize and advocate for material improvements in our lives and environmental protections, the characteristic response on the part of mainstream media and government is: “How are you going to pay for it?” We can somehow pump trillions of taxpayer dollars into endless wars and Wall Street bailouts, but don’t have money for tuition-free college, Medicare for All, lead-free water, or any of the countless other measures that are standard practice for many other countries around the world. Lacking these essentials for our own people, it becomes hard to swallow the argument that rampant U.S. military spending on far-off wars benefits Americans.

Our own broken democracy, which holds special interests above the necessities of its people, also calls into question the oft-repeated notion that U.S. wars help spread democracy abroad. Until the U.S. can model what a functioning democracy looks like, it should cease telling other countries what to do.

The belief that our $1 trillion a year war budget is spent on humanitarian and pro-democracy efforts obscures the simple fact that war doesn’t benefit its victims. During the Iraq War, polls found that a majority in the U.S. believed Iraqis were better off as a result of the war. A majority of Iraqis, in contrast, believed they were worse off. In fact, scholars at both Carnegie Endowment for Peace and RAND Corporation have found that wars aimed at nation-building have an extremely low to nonexistent success rate in creating stable democracies. And we must not overlook the bottom line that war is not humanitarian, because it kills people. The majority of victims in modern warfare are civilians. And, conversely, suicide is now the leading killer of U.S. troops, underscoring the damaging impact of participation in war. Meanwhile, war perpetuates itself by creating new enemies and breeding resentment. A 2013 Gallup poll of 65 nations found the United States to be considered the greatest threat to peace in the world, underscoring the hatred and blowback that results from U.S. war-making.

In this time of international crisis as we grapple with the fast-growing coronavirus pandemic, it is time to build global alliances to pull together vital scientific and medical resources. The U.S. can start to heal its domestic and international reputation by redirecting billions from its war budget towards truly humanitarian needs.

Greta Zarro is the Organizing Director of World BEYOND War. Prior to her work with World BEYOND War, she worked as New York Organizer for Food & Water Watch on issues of fracking, pipelines, water privatization, and GMO labeling.

More articles by:

Greta Zarro is Organizing Director of World BEYOND War, and is syndicated by PeaceVoice.

May 25, 2020
Marshall Auerback
If the Federal Government Won’t Fund the States’ Emergency Needs, There is Another Solution
Michael Uhl
A Memory Fragment of the Vietnam War
Anthony Pahnke – Jim Goodman
Make a Resilient, Localized Food System Part of the Next Stimulus
Barrie Gilbert
The Mismanagement of Wildlife in Utah Continues to be Irrational and a National Embarrassment.
Dean Baker
The Sure Way to End Concerns About China’s “Theft” of a Vaccine: Make it Open
Thom Hartmann
The Next Death Wave from Coronavirus Will Be the Poor, Rural and White
Phil Knight
Killer Impact
Paul Cantor
Memorial Day 2020 and the Coronavirus
Laura Flanders
A Memorial Day For Lies?
Gary Macfarlane – Mike Garrity
Grizzlies, Lynx, Bull Trout and Elk on the Chopping Block for Trump’s Idaho Clearcuts
Cesar Chelala
Challenges of the Evolving Coronavirus Pandemic
Luciana Tellez-Chavez
This Year’s Forest Fire Season Could Be Even Deadlier
Thomas Hon Wing Polin
Beijing Acts on Hong Kong
George Wuerthner
Saving the Lionhead Wilderness
Elliot Sperber
Holy Beaver
Weekend Edition
May 22, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Hugh Iglarsh
Aiming Missiles at Viruses: a Plea for Sanity in a Time of Plague
Paul Street
How Obama Could Find Some Redemption
Marc Levy
On Meeting Bao Ninh: “These Good Men Meant as Much to Me as Yours Did to You”
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Shallò: 120 Days of COVID
Joan Roelofs
Greening the Old New Deal
Rob Urie
Why Russiagate Still Matters
Charles Pierson
Is the US-Saudi Alliance Headed Off a Cliff?
Robert Hunziker
10C Above Baseline
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
The Fed’s Chair and Vice Chair Got Rich at Carlyle Group, a Private Equity Fund With a String of Bankruptcies and Job Losses
Eve Ottenberg
Factory Farming on Hold
Andrew Levine
If Nancy Pelosi Is So Great, How Come Donald Trump Still Isn’t Dead in the Water?
Ishmael Reed
Alex Azar Knows About Diabetes
Joseph Natoli
Will Things Fall Apart Now or in November?
Richard D. Wolff
An Old Story Again: Capitalism vs. Health and Safety
Louis Proyect
What Stanford University and Fox News Have in Common
Pete Dolack
Work is Inevitable But its Organization is Not
David A. Schultz
America and the Rise of the Chinese Century
Ramzy Baroud
Why Israel Fears the Nakba: How Memory Became Palestine’s Greatest Weapon
Heather Gray – Jonathan King
Coronavirus and Other US Health Threats? Fund Public Health Not Foreign Wars
Brian Cloughley
Don’t Be Black in America
Kenn Orphan
A Pandemic and a Plague of Absurdity
Matthew Stevenson
Our Friend Eugene Schulman
Richard C. Gross
The Man Who Cried Wolf
Ron Jacobs
Road Trippin’
Robert P. Alvarez
A Simple Solution for the Coronavirus Crisis in Prisons
Aadesh Ravi
The Long March of the Locked-Down Migrants
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
The Proliferation of Conspiracy Theories & the Crisis of Science
Nilofar Suhrawardy
The Other Side of Covid-19
Binoy Kampmark
Battles Over Barley: Australia, China and the Tariff Wars
Cesar Chelala
Donald Trump can Learn Something from Mao Zedong’s Mistakes