Fighting for PeaceVeterans and Military Families in the Anti-Iraq War Movement

Fighting for PeaceVeterans and Military Families in the Anti-Iraq War Movement

Lisa Leitz

Print publication date: 2015

ISBN: 9780816680450

Publisher: University of Minnesota Press


This book offers a window into an intriguing and previously unexamined segment of the anti-Iraq War movement comprised of veterans and military families. The book documents important political and ideological diversity within the U.S. military community and demonstrates how military experiences can motivate peace activism. Through descriptions of the tragic and moving experiences of activists, it outlines how the current lack of a military draft may be contributing to a new civilian-military divide where civilians have little connection to the sacrifices of the all-volunteer force, which negatively impacts the peace movement. This book advances social movement scholarship by demonstrating how emotions and identity shaped this movement and were used by the movement to make claims. Activists created a multi-organization movement where they could combine two seemingly contradictory aspects of their lives: an intimate connection to the military and anti-war activism. The bonds between military peace movement activists transformed their negative emotions from war, including fear and guilt, into emotions of resistance, including righteous anger and group pride. Activists strategically deployed their combined military and peace activist identities in order to attract attention from the media and others, assert authority on issues relating to the military and war, challenge dominant pro-war framings of the Iraq War, and heighten the emotional resonance of tactics such as war memorials.