Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

Why is the U.S. Bombing Iraq During a Pandemic?

Even as coronavirus spreads rapidly across the globe, causing a health crisis of historic proportions, the U.S. military is engaging in new military attacks in the Middle East. The U.S. must cease all military interventions and redirect its military budget to combat the pandemic.

Allison Noel

March 18, 2020
Facebook Twitter Share
Image: Ali Haider/EPA

Amidst the unprecedented crisis that the world is currently facing as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. military is continuing to carry out airstrikes abroad. On March 12th, the U.S. launched several rockets, hitting five targets in southern Iraq, which Iraqi military officials say damaged an unfinished civilian airport and killed three Iraqi soldiers, two police officers, and a civilian worker. The attack was one in a series of retaliations against Iran, begun back in December, which escalated after the killing of Iran’s commander of the elite military Quds Force, Qasim Solemani. Thursday’s strike was in direct retaliation for an attack made the previous day by an Iran-backed militia that killed one British soldier and two American troops.

Even as nearly 4,300 cases of coronavirus (a modest projection due to insufficient distribution of test kits) have already appeared in the U.S. and with deaths projected to be more than 2.2 million, the U.S. continues to redirect funds that could be used for aid to combat the public health crisis towards military intervention. The U.S. military is currently taking extra steps to bolster its bases in the Middle East by sending Patriot antimissile batteries and other weapons to Iraq in the coming weeks. As a result, hundreds of new troops will head into the country to man the missile-defense batteries, despite Iraq’s demand to remove troops from the region. While the U.S. continues to shore up its military strength against Iran, the people of Iran are desperately suffering not only from one of the world’s most severe outbreaks of the coronavirus, but also from crippling drug and food sanctions that have hindered the government’s ability to effectively respond to the pandemic.

Until recently, President Trump referred to the coronavirus as nothing more than the flu, belittling the potentially deadly outcomes for those who contract the virus. The federal government has been incredibly slow to respond to the coronavirus crisis within the United States. Not only does the coronavirus present a serious health crisis, exacerbated by the U.S.’s inadequate healthcare system, but it has also catalyzed a severe economic crisis for workers. As many fear the ramifications of the virus, more than 27 million Americans remain uninsured and could potentially face crippling medical debt. Further, despite Trump’s assertion during his State of the Union address in January that the United States is currently boasting its lowest unemployment numbers in years, many of those jobs are low-paying jobs within the gig economy; they provide little security and no benefits to precarious workers. As a result, 18% of U.S. workers have lost their jobs or are working significantly reduced hours since the coronavirus hit. Meanwhile, the military’s retaliatory response to the attacks were swift and followed by precise action. Despite the many already suffering as a result of the coronavirus, the U.S. continues to bolster its war machine. 

The U.S. should not be spending money on setting up new Patriot missile systems on American bases around the world, deploying droves of new troops, or fortifying aircraft carriers in the Middle East. The U.S. must redirect all military funds to an emergency public health response. Rather than occupying, bombing, and oppressing people in other countries, this year’s military budget of $738 billion should be used to build hundreds of makeshift hospitals and provide thousands of ICU beds across the country. Further, the U.S. must close all military bases abroad, cease all military aid, and end economic sanctions. By continuing military interventions, the U.S. is also detracting from Iraq’s ability to combat its own coronavirus crisis, which it is attempting to contain, but is on the rise. The U.S. must get out of Iraq also so that Iraq, and all other countries suffering as a result of U.S. military intervention, can focus on their own public health responses. 

A health crisis of this scale and magnitude requires an immediate and tactical response in order to effectively combat the outbreak. The scarcity of products like ventilators, masks, hand-sanitizers, gloves, and other materials needed to stop the spread of the virus only highlights the irrationality of the U.S.’s continued military spending and efforts abroad. If the U.S. has the resources to bomb Iraq, then it has the resources to combat the pandemic.

Facebook Twitter Share

Middle East-Africa

A woman tries to recover some of her possessions from her home which was damaged by an earthquake in the village of Tafeghaghte, near Marrakech, Morocco, Monday, Sept. 11, 2023. Rescue crews expanded their efforts on Monday as the earthquake's death toll continued to climb to more than 2,400 and displaced people worried about where to find shelter.

Earthquake in Morocco: Government and European Imperialism to Blame for Rising Death Toll

The death toll from Friday’s earthquake in Morocco continues to grow as some areas have yet to receive aid. This is a consequence of the subordination of the Moroccan regime to European imperialism and the brutal plundering of the country's resources.

Roberto Bordón

September 13, 2023

Biden’s Iran Policies Are a Pitch that He’s Imperialism’s Best Bet

Biden is simultaneously advancing negotiations with Iran and deploying thousands of U.S. troops to the Persian Gulf. Behind both moves are pressures on Biden to contain Iran and demonstrate that he’s U.S. imperialism’s best bet against China’s advance in the Middle East.

Sam Carliner

August 23, 2023
People in Niger stand atop a building, waving the Niger flag, following a coup.

Coup in Niger Shows France’s Imperialist Decline

The coup in Niger shows that while French imperialism is in retreat, Chinese and Russian influence is growing in the region.

Claudia Cinatti

August 7, 2023

Netanyahu and His Ultra-Right Coalition Pass First Judicial Reform Despite Wide Resistance

The Israeli Knesset passed a law for judicial overhaul despite massive mobilizations that have been happening for months. What these mobilizations miss, however, is solidarity with Palestinians.

Mirta Pacheco

July 27, 2023


Left Voice Magazine: Special Issue on Our Congress

In July, Left Voice held its first congress. In this special issue of our magazine, we are publishing two documents that formed the basis of the discussions. We have also included an appeal for Climate Leninism, in debate with Andreas Malm.

Left Voice

October 1, 2023

Notes on the International Situation

A Convulsive New Phase of the Crisis of Neoliberalism — A Document for the Left Voice Congress

Left Voice

October 1, 2023

A Slow-Moving Crisis of the Empire

Notes on the National Situation – A Document for the Left Voice Congress

Left Voice

October 1, 2023

Debating the Path to the Party

Revolutionaries and Reformist Organizations — A Debate Between Jimena Vergara of Left Voice and Aaron Amaral of Tempest at the Socialism Conference in Chicago.

Jimena Vergara

October 1, 2023