Veterans Arrested Protesting US Military’s Climate Role

The demonstration came weeks after the U.S. House passed legislation authorizing $839 billion in military spending for the upcoming fiscal year, rejecting amendments that would have modestly cut Pentagon funding.

A U.S. military veteran getting arrested Aug. 3 during protest against the Pentagon’s role in the climate crisis. (Veterans for Peace)

By  Jake Johnson
Common Dreams

Several U.S. veterans and their allies were arrested outside the nation’s Capitol building on Wednesday as they protested the military’s role in driving the climate crisis, from its massive greenhouse gas emissions to its large-scale release of toxic chemicals overseas and at home.

Veterans for Peace (VFP), a national anti-war group that organized the demonstration, said that at least seven veterans and supporters were arrested at the Capitol Hill protest, where advocates demanded cuts to the Pentagon budget, transparency from the military on its carbon emissions, an end to all U.S.-led wars, and a climate emergency declaration from President Joe Biden.

“The military has done next to nothing to reduce their carbon footprint, either ignoring the climate mandate completely or just focusing on creating more advanced weapons systems that can continue to operate under worsening climate conditions,” said VFP executive director Garett Reppenhagen, a U.S. Army veteran.

“From the burn pits to nuclear waste to water contamination in Hawai’i, the U.S. military is responsible for an unprecedented amount of climate disasters,” Reppenhagen added. “It is past time for Congress and the president to hold the U.S. military accountable for their catastrophic effects on the planet.”

The Pentagon is the biggest consumer of energy in the U.S. and the world’s “single largest institutional producer of greenhouse gases,” according toBrown University’s Costs of War Project. Neta Crawford, a political science professor at Boston University, has estimated that the U.S. military emits more carbon dioxide than entire countries, including Denmark and Portugal.

“I chose to risk arrest today because as a Marine who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, I saw firsthand the devastation that the military has wrought on countries around the globe, including just 48 hours ago when the U.S. military issued yet another drone strike on Afghanistan,” said veteran Chris Velazquez.

“The U.S. spends unprecedented amounts of money on an ever-expanding U.S. military, using veterans like me as pawns in their justifications for more money,” Velazquez added. “We need to be reducing U.S. militarism and redirecting that money towards climate solutions like renewable energy and resources that meet human needs.”

The demonstration came weeks after the U.S. House passed legislation authorizing $839 billion in military spending for the upcoming fiscal year, rejecting amendments that would have modestly cut Pentagon funding. The Senate, meanwhile, is poised to approve a bill greenlighting an even larger military budget — $847 billion in total.

The U.S. currently spends more on its military than the next nine countries combined.

“The money needed to avoid the worst results of climate change, as well as many other social issues that lack adequate funding, is the wasteful and bloated military budget,” Joshua Farris, a U.S. Army veteran, said Wednesday.

Jake Johnson is a staff writer for Common Dreams.

This article is from  Common Dreams.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.


8 comments for “Veterans Arrested Protesting US Military’s Climate Role

  1. Susan
    August 4, 2022 at 13:00

    Gotta love it! $847 Billion for committing mass murder around the world while children starve to death in the good ole USA. Taxpayers need to wake the fuck up! Wonder what would happen if we all quit paying taxes? They can’t put us all in jail – oh wait we are already imprisoned so it doesn’t really matter, does it?

    • Anna
      August 4, 2022 at 17:32

      Another assault on journalism by the sanctimonious UK Parliament: hxxps://
      None of the British hypocrites dare to say a word about Blair, Bush, and Obama’s war crimes and crimes against humanity. The UK Parliament outcompetes, hand down, the workers of the oldest profession.

  2. August 4, 2022 at 11:19

    We love our military while they are actively killing people around the world but once they are done, off to the scrap heap they go.

  3. Bushrod Lake
    August 4, 2022 at 10:24

    Taken from the “horse’s mouth”..been there, done that.

  4. ray Peterson
    August 4, 2022 at 09:42

    Maybe a fact check needed, but in one hour the U.S. Stratofortress bomber uses
    as much fuel in flight as a typical driver does in 11 years. American militarism’s
    way of death and destruction by global warming.

  5. Dfnslblty
    August 4, 2022 at 09:23

    ¿What were the grounds for their arrests?
    ¿What we’re their infractions?

    ¿Is this news piece only to scare away new protestors? ¿…to set examples?

    Protest Loudly!

  6. mgr
    August 4, 2022 at 08:53

    In a rational world, war would be outlawed if for no other reason than the protection of the climate and our survival on this planet, not even to mention its immorality. But in the US, “Morals? Morals!? We don’t need no stinking morals…” In the face of the existential crisis of global warming, the US military should lead the way and stand down. But, of course, it is not. Instead it is simply increasing its climate destroying activities. That’s because the US itself is not leading anyone anywhere except into the maw of the abyss. Now that is truly irrational. No matter how seemingly important or clever the plan, if it leads to one’s own extinction, it’s stupid, as are those who dream it up, pure and simple. This is where America stands today and it has demonstrably lost any ability to control itself.

    These courageous veterans of conscience make that clear.

  7. J Anthony
    August 4, 2022 at 05:10

    There is a reason, it would seem, veterans are often ignored or marginalized by the system that venerates them at the same time- VFP and other groups like it are that reason. A successful mass movement would require a large faction of either active or veteran military on it’s side.

Comments are closed.