1. Washington Newsletter
  2. Middle East & Iran, U.S. Wars & Militarism

Washington Newsletter: Wars and Weapons Will Not Save Us

May 14, 2020


Seven hundred and fifty billion dollars. That’s roughly how much the United States is spending annually on weapons and war. About $35 billion of that is for nuclear weapons, which, in a best-case scenario, sit in holes in the ground and never get used.

But the most advanced and powerful military in the world didn’t deter the coronavirus. It didn’t provide us with the tools to prevent, treat, or cure COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus. The Pentagon can’t even save its own personnel from succumbing to the virus.

Someday the COVID-19 pandemic will be seared into our memories much the way 9/11 was. By the middle of April, COVID-19 had claimed more than 10 times as many American lives as the 9/11 attacks. This year it is expected to kill more Americans than all the wars since World War II combined.

If nothing else, this global catastrophe should illustrate the waste, futility, and immorality of spending so much on ways to destroy life when we are spending too little on ways to preserve it. How is it that the richest country on earth can’t seem to find the test kits, ventilators, and face masks to protect its own people? No other industrialized nation has so profoundly failed its population.

You can read more of this article, and the rest of the March/April Washington Newsletter, below.

Background Wars and Weapons Will Not Save Us From COVID-19 

Seven hundred and fifty billion dollars. That’s roughly how much the United States is spending annually on weapons and war. About $35 billion of that is for nuclear weapons, which, in a best-case scenario, sit in holes in the ground and never get used.

Background Sanctions and COVID-19 Are Changing Iran 

I have been fortunate to regularly travel to Iran since my childhood. I have seen how living conditions have improved and how social restrictions have gradually been loosened.

Background Ending the Afghanistan War Responsibly 

On February 29, 2020, the United States and the Taliban signed an agreement paving a path for the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO troops from Afghanistan. A full military withdrawal is necessary and should proceed without delay. To end the war responsibly, however, the exit of troops must be paired with steps to minimize any further harm to the people of Afghanistan.

Background (Virtual) Spring Lobby Weekend 2020: Changing the Conversation on Climate 

In early March, when reports hit that the coronavirus was spreading throughout the country, we knew that FCNL had to shift our 500-person Spring Lobby Weekend from a physical event in Washington, DC, to a virtual gathering.

Background Friends Discuss the Future of Quakerism 

In April, 225 Friends gathered online for the event, “The Future of Quakers.” The conversation focused on several queries, including what Friends have to offer during this pandemic and how inward transformation can grow prophetic ministries.

Background There’s No Weapons System that Can Defeat COVID-19 

Q&A with Dr. Alex Stark

Dr. Alex Stark is clerk of the FCNL policy committee. She works as senior researcher at New America Foundation. Dr. Stark worked as a research fellow at Harvard University’s Middle East Initiative and the United States Institute of Peace. She was an FCNL Young Fellow, 2011-2012.