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So-called anti-war movements typically disguise partisanship as pacifism.

Since World War II, the anti-war movement in America has been almost exclusively partisan, saying that the United States was supporting the wrong side or was itself the aggressor.

Thus the term anti-war is often used specifically to indicate political opposition to America's war aims, notably during the Vietnam War and the invasion of Iraq. While reminiscent of pacifism, the "anti-war" movement is not opposed to war per se, but only America's involvement in it.

Often overlooked by anti-war activists is that the American military is volunteer today, and service is not compulsory.

So-called "anti-war activists" are content to let foreign governments invade other countries and slaughter or enslave innocent people, as long as the United States isn't involved. Their reasoning, which is more often assumed or implied than stated explicitly, is that the United States is imperialistic to the core, and that no American military intervention could possibly be a good one (see "American Empire").


The term anti-war on the surface would seem to be an opposition to war itself (see pacifism), or similarly, the wish that a specific war would simply end immediately (regardless of outcome). "Tenting Tonight on the Old Campground", Civil War ballad by Walter Kittridge, is a song with no reference to victory but only a wish for "the dawn of peace". [1]

Partisans frequently exploit this confusion, using terms such as peace and anti-war to imply that there's nothing worth fighting over with such violence, while downplaying or hiding their desire for one side to win.

Phrases like "opposition to the war" likewise are not meant as an even-handed condemnation of both sides (for violating pacifism). Rather, it as one side's participation in the war which is being opposed. During the Vietnam war "anti-war" protesters would even chant slogans like "Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh! The NLF is gonna win!"

See also