Salon Writer Blasts U.S. Military Spending, Blames Ebola on ‘Greed’

America ‘set the stage’ for Ebola outbreak with its ‘death-oriented spending priorities,’ Robert Hennelly claims.

The Ebola epidemic in Africa is one of the worst public health crises in recent memory. The deaths of so many is a tragedy, one that Salon writer Robert Hennelly used to blame American “greed,” “capitalism” and spending priorities. 

His headline loudly claimed that “capitalism and obscene military spending” that “set the stage for this unprecedented global outbreak of Ebola.”

Writing about Ebola victims on Oct. 22 at, Hennelly said, “No missile killed them, but our greed and global death-oriented spending priorities have left fingerprints on all these bodies.”

Those “death-oriented priorities,” according to Hennelly, were U.S. military spending compared to U.S. spending on foreign aid. He complained that America spends only .6 percent of its budget on foreign aid for public health, but devotes about 20 percent on the military.

He went on to praise 20 other countries which spend a greater percentage of their GDP on foreign aid than the U.S. does. What Hennelly did not discuss were the sizes of the economies of those countries, or mention countries that give far less of their total economies to foreign aid. Many of the countries Hennelly cited had much smaller militaries than the U.S. which is still a world power. 

Hennelly also ignored the massive Chinese economy. In 2012, China spent approximately $5 billion on foreign aid, according to the Brookings Institution. Reuters said its entire budget was $1.97 trillion. That was just .0025 percent. 

Hennelly used Ebola as a excuse to attack capitalism making it sound exploitive when he said the U.S. and Europe have traditionally seen Africa as “a place from which we extract diamonds, gold, bauxite, oil, whatever, at the lowest possible price, so as to make the most profit. It is just business.”

Ignoring tax and regulatory hurdles as well as government corruption, he ridiculously claimed this was an “age of unfettered global capitalism” and that transnational corporations have exploited it to their advantage.

He then took it one step further, blaming free trade for Africa’s economic troubles rather than pointing to corrupt governments and violent conflicts when he said, “the majority of Africans are left out of the global free trade wealth-creating machine that is fueled by Africa’s natural resources.”

The closest Hennelly came to that was admitting that “All too often African leaders decide it’s more critical to spend money to buttress their military for their own self-preservation, as opposed to investing in the public health of their constituents.”