Few would dispute Christine DeTroy’s comments
(, “Killing in our name”) that “it
is every U.S.
citizen’s tax money that builds armaments; it is every
U.S. citizens’ tax
money that funds the death and maiming of thousands.” DeTroy also points out
that Nuremberg places moral responsibility on individual soldiers for the
orders they follow. What to do then when the folks in Washington are in
brazen defiance of the law and are ordering troops to carry out crimes
against humanity, aggression (e.g., the decision to invade Iraq) being the
supreme war crime?
DeTroy discusses Nuremberg’s legacy as it relates to individual soldiers and
to government officials. I would add that the taxpayers she mentions have
their own opportunity to be conscientious objectors to
U.S. war crimes by
refusing to pay a portion of their income tax that is used to fund war,
instead diverting the funds to causes that promote peace. War tax resistance
has a long tradition in America, from Henry David Thoreau, who was locked up
for refusing to pay for the Mexican war in ,
to the Vietnam war protesters about whom Secretary of State Alexander Haig
re-marked, “Let them march all they want as long as they continue to pay
their taxes,” acknowledging the appreciable power of this form of protest.
Many followed Haig’s lead.
War tax resistance both throws a wrench in the revenue collection system
that pays for violent aggression and frees the consciences of individuals
who do not want to be implicated in war crimes. The National War Tax
Resistance Coordinating Committee offers interested taxpayers information
about taking action and about the risks involved in this form of civil
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