An anti-war movement (also antiwar) is a social movement of people who advocate peace, diplomacy, & adherance to the rule of law in international relations as opposed to the use of military deadly force to start or carry on an armed conflict, typically in order to gain control over coveted resources. Anti-war activists work through protest and other grassroots means to pressure politicians to avoid or end particular wars or conflicts.
- The two major political parties, in power and out, have been so co-opted by the war machine that any modern anti-war movement has been completely subsumed and marginalized—even as American troops and killer drones continue to operate in or near combat zones all over the world... the few on the anti-war left who oppose war based on pacifist or religious reasons need to acknowledge that the majority of Americans believe in a strong national defense as outlined in the Constitution. Most people are willing to accept that there’s a big difference between that and the terrible waste and tragedy that comes with waging unnecessary wars overseas...
Focusing on the money and influence that giant defense contractors like Lockheed Martin and Boeing have on Capitol Hill—essentially making war a business—makes the anti-war point by raising the issue of crony capitalism and the cozy relationship between politicians and big business, which increasingly leaves the American public out of the equation. These corporations, along with Raytheon and Northrop Grumman, have accounted for $42 million in contributions to congressional candidates since 2009, with $12 million in the 2016 cycle alone. The majority of these funds have targeted Armed Services Committee members... Americans today are tired of war, which is good, for now. Unfortunately, without a strong anti-war movement, there won’t be much resistance when the next “big threat” comes along. The two major parties have proven to be false friends when it comes to opposing war—they only do it when it suits them politically. Moving beyond them and becoming stronger with allies and numbers—imagine, there’s no parties—is the best way to build a real opposition.
- Whither the Anti-war Movement? Daniel Martin, The American Conservative, (15 December 2017)
- We are very concerned about what’s happening now. The U.S. has taken so many measures just in the last year or two to move towards a war with Iran, starting with pulling out of the nuclear deal, designating the Iran Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization, trying to get the Iranian oil exports down to zero, creating chaos in the Iranian economy. And of course, Iran is going to prepare itself for what looks like an attack. And this also can be put on John Bolton, who has been calling for an attack on Iran since before he ever got into the administration... It is I think important to understand that these policies are being organized by John Bolton. John Bolton, who is so close to the MEK in the case of Iran. John Bolton who has said before that he wants to bomb Iran. John Bolton that is so close to the Saudis and to Israel. And of course Donald Trump himself having an even closer relationship to the Saudis and to Israel has made the situation in Iran extremely dangerous.
The only thing that is going to counter this is if we get Congress to stand up to pass legislation that says, “We will not allow any unauthorized attack on either Iran or Venezuela,” if we get all of the presidential candidates to stand up and say no to an attack on Iran and if we get the American people to be very loud and clear saying, “We are totally opposed to any attack on Iran.”
- The best insurance against a catastrophic war of choice, now and going forward, is a permanent anti-war movement that opposes all illegal or imprudent wars, insisting on public debates and congressional votes, no matter how small the conflict.
- NATO was established as one response to the deep fear the United States government harbored in relation to the Soviet Union which, despite western propaganda to the contrary and at staggering cost to its population and industrial infrastructure, had led the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II... The NATO ‘alliance’ of 29 member states (with Israel also a de facto member), most with US military bases, US military (and sometimes nuclear) weapons and significant or substantial deployments of US troops on their territory, was designed to sustain ‘the de facto “military occupation” of Western Europe’ and to confront the Soviet Union as the US administration orchestrated the Cold War to justify its imperial agenda – global domination guaranteed by massive US military expansion – in service of elite interests (including the profit maximization of the military industrial complex, its fossil fuel and banking corporations, and its media and information technology giants)...
- NATO member states are harnessed into endorsing Washington’s imperial design of World conquest under the doctrine of collective security.... Chossudovsky offers the most comprehensive list of ideas in this regard well aware that stopping NATO is intimately connected to the struggle to end war and globalization. Chossudovsky’s ideas range from organizational suggestions such as integrating anti-war protest with the campaign against the gamut of neoliberal economic ‘reforms’ and the development of a broad based grassroots network independent of NGOs funded by Wall Street, objectives such as dismantling the propaganda apparatus which sustains the legitimacy of war and neoliberalism, challenging the corporate media (including by using alternative media outlets on the Internet), providing encouragement (including information about the illegality of their orders) for military personnel to refuse to fight (perhaps like the GI coffeehouse movement during the US war on Vietnam...
- The expressions peace movement and antiwar movement were largely American and even in the United States were fast becoming old-fashioned in some leftist circles. European radicals were not as interested in an end to the war as in a North Vietnamese victory. They tended to see the Tet Offensive not as a tragic loss of life, but as a triumph for an oppressed people. The British radical Tariq Ali, using language that was also heard in Berlin, Rome, and Paris, said of Tet, “A wave of joy and energy rebounds around the world and millions more are suddenly, exhilaratingly, ceasing to believe in the strength of their oppressor.” We all carry our own history on our backs. The American activists wanted a stop to the aggression. The Europeans wanted a defeat of colonialism—they wanted the United States to be crushed just as the European colonial powers had been. This was particularly apparent in the French insistence that the marines in Khe Sanh might suffer the same humiliating defeat as had the French in Dien Bien Phu. The constant articles in the French press asking, “Is Khe Sanh another Dien Bien Phu?” had a barely concealed wishfulness to them. There was a touch of self-loathing to the European Left, especially the Germans, and all sins were compared to those of their own countries. To the French and British Left, the Americans were colonialists, to the Germans they were Nazis. Peter Weiss’s 1968 Vietnam Discourse argued that the Americans in Vietnam were a Nazi-like evil.
- Last Thursday, the US Army asked its followers in a tweet, “How has serving impacted you?” It was meant to be a routine Twitter post ahead of Memorial Day to draw responses which would glorify the United States Army and veterans who served as cannon fodder for the military. It did not go as planned and backfired spectacularly.
More than 10,000 people replied in response with an outpouring of antiwar sentiments detailing the horrors, crimes and ravages of war. Many of the comments are harrowing stories of lives completely undone, a portrait of an entire population scarred and destroyed by US militarism at home and abroad. “Your impact is that you’re a death cult,” San declared bluntly on the US war machine in a typical response.
- George Marlowe in Memorial Day 2019: US Army tweet prompts outpouring of antiwar sentiment, WSWS, (27 May 2019)
- Suicides, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), nightmares, depression, bipolar disorders, anxiety, alcoholism, drug addictions, eruptions of violence, sexual assault, marital breakdown, health issues from exposure to chemical weapons like Agent Orange, failures of the Veterans Administration, families and friends wrecked over multiple generations, and worse are some of the thousands of devastating stories detailed in these replies. “Many of us are a shell of who we were before,” said one military veteran.
Shane spoke of veteran suicides and unending military deployments. “My best friend from high school,” he said, “was denied his mental health treatment and forced to return to a third tour in Iraq, despite having such deep trauma that he could barely function. He took a handful of sleeping pills and shot himself in the head two weeks before deploying.”
- George Marlowe in Memorial Day 2019: US Army tweet prompts outpouring of antiwar sentiment, WSWS, (27 May 2019)
- Daniel Sjursen, a 37-year old veteran of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan... has just written a new book called Patriotic Dissent: America in the Age of Endless War... a short volume... Sjursen skillfully debunks the conventional wisdom of the foreign policy establishment, and the military’s own current generation of “yes men for another war power hungry president.” His appeal to the conscience of fellow soldiers, veterans, and civilians is rooted in the unusual arc of an eighteen-year military career. His powerful voice, political insights, and painful personal reflections offer a timely reminder of how costly, wasteful, and disastrous our post 9/11 wars have been. Sjursen has the distinction of being a graduate of West Point, an institution that produces few political dissenters... Sjursen’s initial experience in combat—vividly described in his first book...“occurred at the statistical height of sectarian strife” in Iraq. “The horror, the futility, the farce of that war was the turning point in my life,” Sjursen writes in Patriotic Dissent. When he returned, at age 24, from his “brutal, ghastly deployment” as a platoon leader, he “knew that the war was built on lies, ill-advised, illegal, and immoral.” This “unexpected, undesired realization generated profound doubts about the course and nature of the entire American enterprise in the Greater Middle East—what was then unapologetically labeled the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT).”
- Patriotic Dissent: How a Working-Class Soldier Turned Against “Forever Wars”, by Steve Early and Suzanne Gordon, CounterPunch (24 July 2020)
- At a time when the U.S. “desperately needs a massive, public, empowered anti-war and anti-imperial wave” sweeping over the country, we have instead a “civil-military” gap that, Sjursen believes, has “stifled antiwar and anti-imperial dissent and seemingly will continue to do so.” That’s why his own mission is to find more “socially conscious veterans of these endless, fruitless wars” who are willing to “step up and form a vanguard of sorts for revitalized patriotic dissent.” Readers of Sjursen’s book, whether new recruits to that vanguard or longtime peace activists, will find Patriotic Dissent to be an invaluable educational tool.
- Patriotic Dissent: How a Working-Class Soldier Turned Against “Forever Wars”, by Steve Early and Suzanne Gordon, CounterPunch, (24 July 2020)
War is a racket, by Major General Smedley Darlington Butler (1935)
- War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.
- It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.
- A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small "inside" group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.
- In the World War [I] a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict. At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War. That many admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns. How many other war millionaires falsified their tax returns no one knows.
- How many of these war millionaires shouldered a rifle? How many of them dug a trench? How many of them knew what it meant to go hungry in a rat-infested dug-out? How many of them spent sleepless, frightened nights, ducking shells and shrapnel and machine gun bullets?...How many of them were wounded or killed in battle?
- Out of war nations acquire additional territory, if they are victorious. They just take it. This newly acquired territory promptly is exploited by the few -- the selfsame few who wrung dollars out of blood in the war. The general public shoulders the bill.
- And what is this bill? This bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed gravestones. Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Depression and all its attendant miseries. Back-breaking taxation for generations and generations.
- For a great many years, as a soldier, I had a suspicion that war was a racket; not until I retired to civil life did I fully realize it. Now that I see the international war clouds gathering, as they are today, I must face it and speak out.
- But what does it profit the men who are killed? What does it profit their mothers and sisters, their wives and their sweethearts? What does it profit their children? What does it profit anyone except the very few to whom war means huge profits? Yes, and what does it profit the nation?
- There are 40,000,000 men under arms in the world today, and our statesmen and diplomats have the temerity to say that war is not in the making. Hell's bells! Are these 40,000,000 men being trained to be dancers?
- A few profit – and the many pay. But there is a way to stop it. You can't end it by disarmament conferences. You can't eliminate it by peace parleys at Geneva. Well-meaning but impractical groups can't wipe it out by resolutions. It can be smashed effectively only by taking the profit out of war.
- The normal profits of a business concern in the United States are six, eight, ten, and sometimes twelve percent. But war-time profits -- ah! that is another matter -- twenty, sixty, one hundred, three hundred, and even eighteen hundred per cent -- the sky is the limit.
- Of course, it isn't put that crudely in war time. It is dressed into speeches about patriotism, love of country, and "we must all put our shoulders to the wheel," but the profits jump and leap and skyrocket -- and are safely pocketed.
- I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.
- I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.
- What business is it of ours whether Russia or Germany or England or France or Italy or Austria live under democracies or monarchies? Whether they are Fascists or Communists? Our problem is to preserve our own democracy. And very little, if anything, has been accomplished to assure us that the World War was really the war to end all wars.
- Yes, we have had disarmament conferences and limitations of arms conferences. They don't mean a thing. One has just failed; the results of another have been nullified. We send our professional soldiers and our sailors and our politicians and our diplomats to these conferences. And what happens?
- The professional soldiers and sailors don't want to disarm. No admiral wants to be without a ship. No general wants to be without a command. Both mean men without jobs. They are not for disarmament. They cannot be for limitations of arms. And at all these conferences, lurking in the background but all-powerful, just the same, are the sinister agents of those who profit by war. They see to it that these conferences do not disarm or seriously limit armaments.
- Code Pink
- Iraq Veterans Against the War
- List of anti-war organizations
- List of peace activists
- List of veterans critical of the Iraq War
- Military industrial complex
- United States military veteran suicide epidemic
- Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
- Veterans For Peace
- War is a Racket by Major General Smedley D. Butler
- Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan