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This Isn’t Your Father’s Anti-War Movement: Comparing the Political Mobilization of Vietnam and Iraq Veterans

Authors:

Darrell Driver ,

U.S. Army War College, US
About Darrell
Director of European Studies at the U.S. Army War College, with previous teaching experience at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. PhD in Political Science from Syracuse University, with publications on a range of topics from civil-military relations to European security issues.
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Jean Callaghan

George C. Marshall Center for European Security Studies, DE
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Abstract

The mobilization of veterans can be a powerful force for any political cause, especially when that cause is concerned with ending a war. Vietnam veterans’ voices were a prominent feature of the Vietnam antiwar movement, and, by 2007, antiwar Iraq veterans groups were playing an important role in the public debate on the merits of continued U.S. military involvement in Iraq. By comparison, however, these two episodes of veteran antiwar mobilization looked very different. Changes in the social, technological, and political environment had reshaped the prevailing political opportunity structure in important ways. This paper examines those changes and the way in which select veterans organizations adapted to them. While a traditional antiwar movement did emerge to trade in more conventional protest activities, veterans’ opposition to the Iraq War also signaled the beginning of a political action committee-based approach to veterans’ politics that is likely to remain with us for the foreseeable future.
How to Cite: Driver, D. and Callaghan, J., 2019. This Isn’t Your Father’s Anti-War Movement: Comparing the Political Mobilization of Vietnam and Iraq Veterans. Journal of Veterans Studies, 4(1), pp.78–93.
Published on 14 Feb 2019.
Peer Reviewed

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