In Support of Those Refusing to Pay for War
“Let them march all they want, as long as they continue to pay their taxes.”
—Alexander Haig, U.S. Sec. of State, June 12, 1982
To all people of goodwill everywhere:
We stand in profound opposition to our government's aerial bombardment, military invasion, and armed occupation of Iraq, which we consider morally reprehensible and an outrage against conscience and humanity. The reasons for our opposition, in brief, include the following:
This series of military actions has cost the lives of thousands of Iraqi soldiers and hundreds of American soldiers, and it has resulted in even greater numbers of people left injured, orphaned, and widowed. It has further devastated Iraq's already crippled infrastructure, which was destroyed by U.S. aerial bombardment in 1991, further depriving countless Iraqi children as well as adults of adequate electricity, clean water, sewage treatment, and medical facilities. It has increased the likelihood of terrorist attacks against the U.S., its citizens, and those of our military allies. It has caused untold damage to the environment and human health, including that of American soldiers, as a result of the depleted uranium used in U.S. weapons. It is costing tens, if not hundreds, of billions of dollars, thus further diverting resources from addressing the hunger, homelessness, unemployment, and other economic problems facing millions of American families. It was opposed by the United Nations, the great majority of the world's governments, and an even greater majority of the world's people. And, as a pre-emptive, unilateral military attack, it violated international laws, including the Charter of the United Nations, to which our government is a signatory and which the U.S. Constitution requires us to uphold. The fact that a large segment of the Iraqi population opposed Saddam Hussein and suffered greatly under his repressive regime, does not justify the death, suffering, and destruction caused by our military assault.
Our opposition, however, is not limited to this one instance of armed aggression by our government. As citizens of this country, we are compelled by conscience to speak out against, and avoid cooperation with, that which has allowed this and other instances of military aggressions to occur and which makes likely further military aggression against other nations.
“If a thousand [people] were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them and enable the state to commit violence and shed innocent blood. ”
—Henry David Thoreau, during Mexican-American War of 1846-48
It is clear that the U.S. government's ability to threaten, coerce, and, if deemed necessary, make war on other nations is a direct result, not only of our economic might, but also the unprecedented size of our military arsenal, which is now far larger than that of all our allies and "enemies" combined. It is equally clear that the maintenance of this arsenal depends upon the willingness of the American people — through their federal tax payments — to finance it.
Refusal to pay taxes used to finance unjust wars, along with refusal by soldiers to fight in them, is a direct and potentially effective form of citizen noncooperation, and one that governments cannot ignore. War tax refusal has a long and honorable tradition among religious and secular opponents of war.
Refusal to pay all or a portion of one's federal taxes as a form of conscientious objection to war may involve personal risks. For that reason, material, and moral support for war tax refusers — including organizing support committees, raising support funds, and providing legal defense — is an important form of war resistance in itself.
Therefore, we, the undersigned individuals, believing that war tax refusal under the present circumstances is fully justified on moral and ethical grounds, publicly declare our encouragement of, and willingness to lend support to, those persons of conscience who choose to take this step.
To order the book War Tax Resistance, go to the War Resisters League's online store.