The Militarization of US Government Response to COVID-19 and What We Can Do About It

This statement was written by Drake Logan, a civilian ally to About Face: Veterans Against the War, with input on content by About Face members (post 9/11 military veterans) including Lisa Ling, Krystal Two Bulls, Maggie Martin, Erica Manley, Shawn Fischer, Jovanni Reyes, Matt W. Howard, Derek S. Matthews, Ramon Mejía, and Brittany DeBarros. Editorial guidance was provided by Clare Bayard, civilian ally to About Face. Authorship is always collective.

Media inquiries please contact us at or call Drake Logan at: +1 (415) 513–6974.


This document outlines six broad areas of current political need and opportunity as the US government ramps up the militarization of its response to the coronavirus epidemic.

About Face: Veterans Against the War (formerly Iraq Veterans Against the War) is a grassroots organization made up of post-9/11 military veterans advocating for an end to the wars in which many of them participated, along with the use of military tactics, weapons and values in communities across the United States.

We present this statement in order to generate further conversation on these points both within and beyond our organization, as well as to enter the national media conversation on coronavirus response. Our intention is to continue to revise and update this statement as the situation and our analysis evolves. Please reach out to About Face if you are a member or civilian who would like to be involved in media work on these issues, or if you would like to help create further independent media.

We need to begin by tackling these six areas of political need and opportunity in the time of coronavirus:

  1. We need to engage in and spread the practice of community-based defense instead of militarized security.
  2. We need to draw careful lines between what is acceptable military response and what is categorically unacceptable.
  3. We need to put coronavirus in context with the Global War on Terror (GWoT) and domestic militarism.
  4. We need to resist and reject Coronavirus Capitalism.
  5. We need to demand that the Department of Defense adequately protect Active, Guard, and Reserve military personnel from contracting coronavirus.
  6. We need to act in solidarity with international communities.

We hold that moments of crisis like this one expose the faulty logic of a system that conflates violence with power, authoritarianism with safety, and productivity with value. When exposed for their weaknesses, systems of oppression often grasp for reinforcement through the aggressive projection of force and control. We are witnessing this dynamic before our eyes and it’s important we contextualize it as such.


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