U.S. Refusenik Sick of Being Applauded by Peaceniks Who Pay For War

The peacenik press is full of news over the court-martial of Ehren Watada, who has refused to deploy to Iraq because he believes he was improperly ordered to fight an illegal war. But, as in Thoreau’s day, “the soldier is applauded who refuses to serve in an unjust war by those who do not refuse to sustain the unjust government which makes the war.” Watada, I’m happy to hear, is having none of that:

“Should citizens choose to remain silent through self-imposed ignorance or choice, it makes them as culpable as the soldiers in these crimes.” … “we as Americans have to step up and say either we agree with what’s going on or we disagree with what’s going on.… If you disagree… then you are going to have to ask yourself what are you willing to sacrifice of yourself in order to correct the injustice and wrongs of this government in regard to the Iraq War.”

“We all take part in it — if you pay your taxes, you’re taking part in this war. We all have a responsibility, as they determined after Nuremberg, whether you’re the lowest soldier or the highest ranking general, or just a regular civilian, we all have responsibility… to resist and refuse enabling and condoning this criminal behavior,” he said.

People in the peace movement are eager to remind Congress that “You Can’t Oppose the War and Fund the War” but are they willing to be reminded themselves?

The Boston Globe carries an obituary for Cynthia Foster, who at 99 years old was still resisting war taxes:

When Mrs. Foster died at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center following a massive stroke, she was still engaged in her longtime battle with the Internal Revenue Service over the use of her federal taxes for military spending, [Andrea] Bird said. She was 99 and had been living at Mount Pleasant Home in Jamaica Plain.

A member of the New England War Tax Resistance for many years, she wore its red and white button “every day of her life,” Bird said. The button says “Don’t Pay War Taxes” and bears the likeness of Henry David Thoreau, who spent a night in jail for protesting the use of taxes to finance the Mexican-American War.

Mrs. Foster’s battles with the IRS were legendary.

In , the Globe reported that Mrs. Foster demonstrated in front of the Union Warren Savings Bank opposite Boston Common after the IRS had notified her a levy would be put on her savings there for nonpayment of taxes.

“I refuse to support this insane military madness,” the Globe quoted her. “It must be stopped. I will not throw my money down this bottomless pit, down a rathole. I am pleased to say that today the IRS is getting only a bit over $100 because I have contributed my savings to life-supporting, peace-promoting, community, and human service organizations.”

A memorial service will be held at at Community Church of Boston.

The date of the service — traditionally the last day to file income taxes — was not deliberate, said Carol Hebb, but is “very ironic.”

Bird said, “Cynthia would have loved it. Anything to draw attention to a cause.”

A columnist at MSN Money is going to live on $12,084 this year, which, though not particularly unusual by American standards, and positively wealthy by global standards, represents a newsworthy experiment in “poor like me” to people like her and her readers.

Her experiences and strategies may be of interest to anyone contemplating reducing their income, either to get below the tax line or for other reasons.

The Guardian reports that:

The US flew nearly $12bn in shrink-wrapped $100 bills into Iraq, then distributed the cash with no proper control over who was receiving it and how it was being spent.

The staggering scale of the biggest transfer of cash in the history of the Federal Reserve has been graphically laid bare by a US congressional committee.

In the year after the invasion of Iraq in nearly 281 million notes, weighing 363 tonnes, were sent from New York to Baghdad for disbursement to Iraqi ministries and US contractors. Using C-130 planes, the deliveries took place once or twice a month with the biggest of $2,401,600,000 on , six days before the handover.

The article goes into some details, and it’s mighty ugly. Suppose any of that “363 tonnes” was once your money before it was taxed away and then stuffed in a duffel bag to pay off a contractor, handed out in bundles from the back of a pickup truck, or paid to one of the thousands of “ghost employees” of Iraq’s quasi-government?