Iraq Veterans in Dissent, Masculine Loyalties in Contention: Epiphanies among the Troops


ACLS Fellowship Program




When American soldiers go to war in Iraq, the violence they witness can leave them torn between loyalties to unit, nation, and conscience, caught between conflicting versions of a masculinist imperative to protect others. The subjects of this study are Veterans who became dissenters, young men who realized that such loyalties required them to break ranks, to criticize the war, and to leave the military. Based on over 40 oral histories with veterans, the study explores why they voluntarily joined the Army or the Marines with noble goals and patriotic ideals and how they returned from Iraq transformed. It provides needed empirical and theoretical work on men and war, and explores the “epiphanies of war” to explain social processes leading men to oppose this war.