Too few in the various movements attempting to address the climate crisis make a direct connection between climate and U.S. militarism. Peace activist Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CodePink (https://www.codepink.org) is one of the more notable exceptions. Benjamin identifies at least 10 points of connection. Here are just the first five:
- The U.S. military provides protection for fossil fuel and other extractive industries. “Oil wars” have been commonplace, and fairly well out in the open, for decades. The current U.S. military action in civil war-torn Syria explicitly concerns “protecting” oil fields.
- The vast and far-flung U.S. military is the single largest consumer of fossil fuels in the world. As a result, the Pentagon is responsible for emitting more greenhouse gas than most nations.
- The Pentagon budget sucks up more than half the U.S. government’s discretionary funds, draining resources that should be used, urgently, for the necessary economic transformation toward sustainable energy production.
- The United States’ operation of more than 800 military bases around the world is itself an ongoing ecological disaster. Bases pollute land and water with toxic chemicals galore everywhere they exist. In the U.S. itself, 150 former or current bases have been designated Super Fund sites, requiring hundreds of billions of dollars in clean-up, and endangering local populations.
- War wrecks infrastructure essential to human health, promotes civilian disease epidemics (not to mention the direct killing and maiming), and undermines sensitive ecosystems supporting the life of all species residing in war zones.
The link between militarism and the climate crisis is real. And it is lethal.