Activists Say No to Greenwashing of the Pentagon!

Activists Say No to Greenwashing of the Pentagon!

As someone who has been protesting at the Pentagon since the 1980s, I am well aware of the destructive nature of the U.S. war machine.  That is why I have been arrested there at least six times.  Note my only conviction was overturned on appeal based on my First Amendment argument.  Chances are I will be arrested again on April 8 at the Pentagon.

It became obvious that Obama was not an agent of change, as not only did he retain the Bush administration’s Wall Street Gang, he kept on Secretary of War Robert Gates.  Obama made sure the empire would be maintained.  His pact with the twin devils—Wall Street and the Pentagon—is repugnant, and calls on all of us to resist the empire.

NCNR sent a letter to Gates explaining that we are a group of citizens dedicated to working for an end to the illegal wars and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, and the illegal bombing, since July of 2008, of Pakistan. We pointed out that the Pentagon causes incredible human suffering, growing distrust of the United States around the world, and a diversion of resources which could be better used to ease human suffering. We follow the principles of Gandhi, King, Day and others, working nonviolently for a peaceful world.

In the letter, we raised an additional point of concern: the devastation to our environment caused by the daily operations of the Pentagon. According to Joseph Nevins, in an article published on June 14, 2010 by, GREENWASHING THE PENTAGON, “The U.S. military is the world’s single biggest consumer of fossil fuels, and the single entity most responsible for destabilizing the Earth’s climate.” And the article claims “. . . the Pentagon devours about 330,000 barrels of oil per day (a barrel has 42 gallons), more than the vast majority of the world’s countries.” Go to

The amount of oil used by the military machine is beyond belief, and each military vehicle also releases pollutants through the exhaust. Tanks, trucks, Humvees and other vehicles are not known for their fuel economy. Other fuel guzzlers are submarines, helicopters and fighter jets. Each military flight, whether involved in the transport of soldiers or in a combat mission, contributes more carbon into the atmosphere.

The U.S. military’s environmental record is dismal. Any war can bring about ecocide in the area of fighting. One example was the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Vietnam is still dealing with effects of the use of the toxic defoliant Agent Orange. More recently, Mother Earth is suffering because the Pentagon continues to use depleted uranium ammunition. It seems the Pentagon first used DU weaponry during the Persian Gulf War 1, and it is probably using such ammunition in the ongoing attack of Libya.

Because the United States has hundreds of military bases here and abroad, the Pentagon is exacerbating a growing environmental crisis on a global scale. Of course, this crisis is not limited to U.S. military activities, but the Department of War must be the focus if we are to seriously address the planet’s ongoing climate chaos.

We asked for a meeting with Gates “to discuss bringing all troops home from these awful wars and occupations and the Pentagon’s role in the destruction of the environment.” We are seeking a detailed breakdown of the military’s greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide. As citizen activists, we adhere to the Nuremberg protocols. These principles, established during the trials of Nazi war criminals, call on people of conscience to challenge their government when it is engaged in criminal activity. As part of our Nuremberg responsibility, we reminded him that he swore to uphold the Constitution. 

I do not expect an answer to our letter, though a representative from Pentagon called me, probably because I posted on Facebook our event at the Pentagon on April 8.  It is unlikely he or anyone of stature will meet with us.  Thus we intend to hold a climate chaos protest called Disarmageddon.

The current situation is urgent. Cities and states are starving, while tax dollars are wasted on wars and occupations. Innocents are dying because of U.S. military policies. And the environmental damage caused by the Pentagon must be halted.

Most observers have noticed that weather patterns are changing.  Last summer wildfires blackened the skies over much of Russia.  In Pakistan the rains caused millions of people to flee from their homes. And the weather has greatly affected the farmers of the world, resulting in food shortages in many countries. The nature writer Bill McKibben has a new book called EAARTH, and he makes the point the old planet no longer exists.  Today, people are risking their lives for freedom from tyrants.  We gain solace from their actions and recognize that we must save Mother Earth so people can indeed enjoy the fruits of democracy.

If readers are as passionate as I am on the issue of the Pentagon’s role in destroying Mother Earth, I can be contacted at 410-366-1637 or mobuszewski at  Forget about the politicians who are bought and sold by corporations like Lockheed Martin.  Only we the citizen activists, as in Tunisia, can bring real democracy to this country and an end to the U.S. Empire.  Please consider taking the risks of peace.


Max Obuszewski is a member of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance and the Pledge of Resistance-Baltimore.

Max Obuszewski is a Baltimore activist, labeled by the Maryland State Police and other members of Maryland's Joint Terrorism Task Force as a terrorist.