Bringing Peace to Soldiers


Zachary Moon

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Zachary Moon

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Anti-war activists and military folks are predisposed to see each other as "the enemy", but even mainstream or conservative folks can have a very difficult time truly welcoming home vets. Zachary Moon is very concerned about treating vets as real people, not political or theological pawns in some game. Relatively few Quakers serve in the military, even as chaplains, as Zachary does, and too few know how to really support our troops when they return home, so he has helped pioneer a way forward. Zachary is a life-long Quaker and author of Coming Home: Ministry That Matters with Veterans and Military Families


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Z Moon, the myth of the antiwar movement spitting on soldiers...

This talk perpetuates the myth that the peace movement of my generation mistreated the returning vets. That is simply not true. The US military turned their backs on them, from the VA hospitals to the streets where they were broken and forgotten by many, other than the peace movement who were the ones picking them up and feeding them in the parks and back alleyways. VETS WERE NOT SPIT ON in any great numbers, if ever there was one instance proven to be more than a repeated story, never verified. I know… I was there.
They are not our soldiers. They are not “serving” us. They are victims, who are lied to and serve Halliburton, Lockheed, and the other untaxable agents of the military industrial complex which has stolen democracy from the American people and many nations around the world.

I would no more thank these poor ones for serving the cause of war and oppression than I would thank the criminals I work with, as a curator in the Museum of the American Gangster. I listen to gangsters, tell their story, contextualize and even have close friendships who have been violent criminals. But, I have not once thanked them for their “service.”
There is a huge gap between calling someone a baby killer and thanking them for the “service” of being a gunman who has raped innocent nations which have never threatened our families or nation. We can tender to them, feed them spiritually, but to thank them is an act of pure hypocrisy or simple misunderstanding of the role of the military.
Joining the army and putting on a uniform is antithetical to the cause of liberty, the cause of peace. The old chestnut of changing the world by being a part of the system, when the system is purely evil is just foolish. There is a wonderful film, about a teacher to joins the SS to keep his job… and in the end, begins down that slope of accommodation to evil… the film is called “Good”. I highly recommend it. One cannot become part of an evil system to change it from within.
Any one who joins the military for reasons of integrity is mistaken, pure and simple. The purpose for the US army is to conduct illegal wars of aggression. We go into other nations and kill for the profit of the ones who have destroyed this nation at its core. One can engage in conversations with respect without accepting the lie that the US military is nothing more than a criminal gang.
I was more than shocked that the interviewer did not challenge the myth that the anti-war movement spit on soldiers. This interview turned the issue into a black and white issue. There is a broad middle ground of standing apart from war, shunning the army, and loving the soldier and helping to bring her or him to an understanding in the same way we help to lead young people out of street gangs. We don’t join street gangs to help crips and bloods. The young gang members believe they are in the service of their families and communities. That does not give a color of integrity to the wrongs they commit in the error of their allegiance.

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