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Erb: Don't pay taxes that fund the war
You pay for war every day you work. Half your income tax is appropriated for war and war debts. The Chinese banks and rich investors who buy the debt are banking on your spending your career paying them more than you will pay to educate your children. George Bush is bent on expanding his war into Iran and Syria. The moral issues of paying war taxes and the issues respecting resisting them must be faced. Here are the issues most often raised.

"While our troops are there, we must support them." Three out of four of those troops say they should not be there. To stamp out resistance, they must burst into homes in the middle of the night, hold families at gunpoint, ransack the house, take the men away to hell holes, and do other things that make them hated. The resistance thrives on the hate. U.S. troops survive a tour only to go back and be killed. Their replacements are more youth desperate for work and college money.

"Iraq will be worse without American boots on the ground." Iraq has gotten worse every day it has been occupied. Further, the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld plan has always been to redeploy their troops to 14 permanent bases in the countryside and do more killing with aircraft and missiles. "Shock and Awe" was a demonstration of the Pentagon's capacity to kill and destroy without combat. Now bombing is replacing boots on the ground outside of Baghdad. This bombing will become more intense and less discriminate as the war drags on, and the money is there for $2 million missiles. Increasingly, the boots on the ground are mercenaries who work outside civilian or military law.

"My taxes pay for good things, not just for war." George W. Bush, like Ronald Reagan before him, cut all the good things back, then locked the cuts in by running up military debts. This fiscal year the interest will be $376 billion. As the war continues, this figure grows, and even veterans' benefits are cut. Tax resisters donate money they don't pay for killing to schools and other good things.

"We have a new Congress. Give them a chance." For the Democrats, the mandate for peace is a bullet to be dodged. As they did when Reagan was president, they are rubber-stamping what the war industry wants, saying they have no choice, and proposing a non-binding resolution. Tax resisters can make war appropriations a choice even for the Democrats.

"What about other kinds of protest?" Protest (rallying, marching, petitioning) is showing our numbers. Resistance is using our numbers. If just showing our numbers stopped war, "Shock and Awe" would have been stopped.

"Resisting taxes means risk." You risk losing money. You do not risk bullets, explosives and incendiaries. You will not be killed, mutilated or deranged. You will not have to live knowing there is children's blood on your hands. The word "soldier" connotes courage. When peace activism has that connotation, we have won peace.

"I'll wait until I see others doing it." Those others are waiting for you. Any act of protest or resistance is an act of faith.

"I don't believe in breaking the law." But the government does. It is a crime to prepare for aggressive war, threaten war, make war as an instrument of policy, to use weapons and tactics that do not discriminate between combatant and non-combatant, to use weapons that keep killing after the fighting is over, to torture and rape. You have right in law to refuse to be an accessory to these crimes.

George W. Bush has assumed unconstitutional powers and declared himself outside the jurisdiction of the courts. Without revolt at the grass roots, Bush's successors will exercise the powers he has assumed.

The risks of resisting war taxes depend upon how much tax is resisted and the method used. Examine your conscience, then call the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center at (303) 444-6981.

Gary Erb lives in Boulder.

 

 

 

 
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