COVID-19 and the Pentagon

May 1st, 2020 - by Gar Smith / Environmentalists Against War

The Pandemic is Mightier than the Sword

Gar Smith / Environmentalists Against War

BERKELEY, Calif. (April 30, 2020) — For decades, anti-war organizations from every corner of the Earth have tried in vain to rein-in the Military Industrial Complex. Despite millions of letters written, thousands of petitions filed, and hundreds of massive marches and protests staged around the world, the Pentagon and the world’s War Barons (including Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, Raytheon, General Electric and BAE) have continued to instigate “endless wars-of-of-choice” in the Middle East, Europe, Latin America, and Africa. 

It began to look like no force on Earth could prevent the Pentagon and its NATO accomplices from threatening, attacking, invading, bombing, occupying and decimating any country on Earth.

But that all changed with the arrival of an invisible viral “enemy” now known as COVID-19. Faced with a spreading global contagion that can’t be stopped with bombs or economic sanctions, America’s admirals and generals may be compelled to drop their weapons — exchanging M-1 rifles for N95 masks — and hunker down in antiseptic bunkers. 

It’s time to confront a stark new reality: The Pentagon has proven to be incapable of repulsing the pandemic onslaught staged by the novel coronavirus. 

Let’s survey the new post-coronavirus battlefield.

The Pentagon Is in Retreat

The USS Roosevelt, a mighty nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, has been disabled by the disease. And the Roosevelt is not alone. Sailors aboard the USS Reagan have also been infected by the COVID-19 virus. Eleven nuclear-powered aircraft carriers are at risk. Potentially, all 355 active vessels in the Navy’s armada are vulnerable. (And it’s anybody’s guess what’s happening inside the Navy’s 60-plus nuclear-powered submarines quietly plying the depths of the world’s oceans.)

Meanwhile, the future of the world’s largest, multinational naval military exercise, RIMPAC (for Rim of the Pacific) — a massive imperial display of force involving hundreds of ships from 25 US-allied nations — has been put in doubt. (The USS Roosevelt definitely looks like a no-show.)

In Canada, our neighbor to the north, one of the world’s biggest weapons expos — CANSEC 2020, expected to open on June 2 and draw a crowd of 12,000 arms dealers and shoppers — was recently cancelled by theCanadian Association of Defence and Security Industries, owing to COVID-19 exposure fears.

Even Saudi Arabia’s long-running war in Yemen — credited with creating planet’s “the greatest humanitarian disaster” — has been suddenly curtailed by the intervention of COVID-19’s invisible viral shock-troops. 

As Consortium News reported on April 8: “At least 150 members of the Saudi royal family have been infected and, as a result, Riyadh is seeking to end its five-year disastrous assault on Yemen.” With some members of the royal family now in intensive care units, 84-year old King Salman and Saudi strongman Muhammad bin Salman have fled the capitol and are sheltering-in-place on an island in the Red Sea. 

For the past month, the sheer power of this invisible protagonist has been a subject of attention on the Berkeley-based anti-war website, Environmentalists Against War.

Here is a sampling of 44 articles that describe how nature’s invisible foes have managed to distract, disrupt, and defeat “the mightiest army in the history of the world.”

National Security State Left US Defenseless Against Coronavirus

April 8th, 2020 – by Gareth Porter / The Grayzone &

ACTION ALERT: Stop RIMPAC Naval Exercise

April 6th, 2020 – by Roots Action

Bombers Not Ventilators

April 6th, 2020 – by Mike Ferner / The Indypendent

The Pentagon Could Not Defend the US from a Virus

April 6th, 2020 – by David Swanson / World BEYOND War

Is Building Missiles ‘Essential’?

April 6th, 2020 – by Taylor Barnes / In These Times

We Need Human Security Not ‘National Security’

April 5th, 2020 – by Jonathan Granoff and Barry Kellman / Newsweek

Saving the World: Radical Action Now Beats Trying to Rebuild Later

April 5th, 2020 – by Sen. Bernie Sanders / Reader Supported News

In a Pandemic, The Bomb Looks Different

April 5th, 2020 – by Vicki Elson and Timmon Wallis / Nuclear Ban US

Pandemic Shuts Down Major Weapons Expo

April 5th, 2020 – by David Pugliese / Ottawa Citizen & Defense and Security

COVID-19: From Ceasefire to Divestment and Disarmament

April 4th, 2020 – by Ray Acheson / Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom International

What the Coronavirus Might Do to the American Empire

April 4th, 2020 – by Tony Kevin / Consortium News

Coronavirus Opens the Door to Big Changesl The Left Faces Pushback

April 4th, 2020 – by George Lakey / Waging Nonviolence

11 Nations Back UN Secretary-General’s Call for a ‘Global Ceasefire’

April 4th, 2020 – by & The New Arab & The United Nations

Let’s Eliminate the Coronavirus AND Nuclear Weapons

April 3rd, 2020 – by CODEPINK

Pentagon Bans Reports on COVID Infections in Military

April 3rd, 2020 – by Ann Garrison / Black Agenda Report

ACTION ALERT: UN Chief Calls for a Global Ceasefire: Germany Cancels US War Game

April 2nd, 2020 – by AVAAZ Petition & The United Nations & Luftpost

We’ve Met the Enemy and It’s a Tiny Virus

April 2nd, 2020 – by Dave Lindorff / CounterPunch

Coronavirus Lays Low the Military

April 2nd, 2020 – by Daniel Lazare /

Nature’s Revenge: Climate Change and COVID-19

April 2nd, 2020 – by Evaggelos Vallianatos / CounterPunch

A Pandemic of Peace?

April 1st, 2020 – by Consortium News

US Aircraft Carriers Becoming Massive Virus Carriers

March 31st, 2020 – by Jared Keller / Task and Purpose

Was Coronavirus Designed as a Bioweapon?

March 31st, 2020 – by David Swanson /

Covid-19 Is Nature’s Wake-Up Call to a Complacent Civilization

March 31st, 2020 – by George Monbiot / Guardian UK

UN’s Coronavirus Warning: ‘Nature Is Sending Us a Message’

March 31st, 2020 – by Damian Carrington / The Guardian

Covid-19 Is Nature’s Wake-Up Call to Complacent Civilization

March 30th, 2020 – by George Monbiot / Guardian UK

ACTION ALERT: Tell the United Nations to Promote Funding for Health Not War

March 30th, 2020 – by International Peace Bureau Newsletter and

Tiny Coronavirus Forces NATO to Back Down

March 30th, 2020 – by Ann Garrison / San Francisco Bay View

Virus Bringing Pentagon Operations to a Halt Worldwide

March 30th, 2020 – by Stars and Stripes & Reuters

Iran Reaches Out to the People of America

March 29th, 2020 – by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani / Tasnim News Agency

Coronavirus and the Antiwar Movement

March 29th, 2020 – by The United National Antiwar Coalition

A Cry for Help: Coronavirus Outbreak inside Prison

March 29th, 2020 – by Andrea Estes and Vernal Coleman / Boston Globe

US Nuclear Spending Useless versus Virus

March 28th, 2020 – by Matthew Impelli / Newsweek

America: Invaded, Besieged, Terrorized

March 28th, 2020 – by Tom Englehardt / TomDispatch and Andrew Bacevich / TomDispatch

Top 10 Ways Trump Has Dropped the Ball on COVID-19

March 28th, 2020 – by David Swanson / David

Virus Forces Russian Army to Retreat

March 28th, 2020 – by Jake Rudnitsky / Bloomberg

UN Chief Calls for an End to War

March 27th, 2020 – by Eoin Higgins / Common Dreams & Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali / Reuters

Draft the Military to Address the Pandemic Threat

March 27th, 2020 – by Rev. William Barber and Phyllis Bennis / Opinion: Newsweek

The Coronavirus Relief Package Faces Criticism

March 26th, 2020 – by Business Insider & The Guardian & & The New Yorker & Public Citizen

The Other Virus That Is Devouring the US

March 26th, 2020 – by Nick Bryant / BBC

UN Calls for Rolling Back Sanctions to Battle Pandemic

March 26th, 2020 – by Colum Lynch / Foreign Policy

ACTION ALERT: It’s Time to End the US Military Occupation of Iraq

March 26th, 2020 – by World BEYOND War and Action Network

Will COVID Bring Down the American War Machine?

March 25th, 2020 – by Daniel Lazare /

ACTION ALERT: End Deadly US Sanctions on Iran

March 25th, 2020 – by Win Without War

US Sanctions and COVID-19

March 25th, 2020 – by Alexander Main / Al Jazeera English & American Friends Service Committee

Crony Corvid Capitalism: Boeing Wants a Bailout

March 25th, 2020 – by Paul Brian / The American Conservative

Gar Smith is a Project Censored award-winning journalist and the author of Nuclear Roulette and The War and Environment Reader. He is a boardmember of World Beyond War and is a co-founder of Environmentalists Against War.