Jason Robert Mizula: No More Will I Enable U.S. Wars

Jason Robert Mizula has sent a letter to the IRS explaining why he has started to refuse to pay his federal income tax. “This is the first year since leaving the military that I have had taxable income,” he explains, “otherwise I would have done this sooner.” Excerpts:

As a veteran of both the U.S. Coast Guard & the Army National Guard, (one taking me to assist in the relief effort in New Orleans in the wake of Katrina, the other to war in Iraq) I have witnessed how taxpayer-funded death and destruction in other countries goes hand in hand with the lack of much-needed resources here at home.

I do not seek to pay less than my fair share to my society. Refusing to pay federal income tax is not a selfish act seeking personal financial gain. It is also not an act that I take lightly. This is not a joke. If Americans knew exactly what they were funding, and those we kill were actually humanized to the American public, there would be no more war. I am an American citizen, but beyond that I am a veteran of the US military. I eagerly enlisted at 18 to serve my country, and if that is what I was doing I would still be in the military. I took part in the destruction of Iraq and will have to live with this fact for the rest of my life. As you may know, (according to the VA) twenty-two veterans feel they can no longer live with the guilt forever etched on their consciences, (and mixed with trauma) every single day. It is difficult to reconcile the things we were taught to believe about America as children and still see on the ‘news’ and hear spewing from the mouths of politicians, with the reality of what we experienced. Our taxes would be better spent helping heal the warriors society is as quick to discard as they were to label ‘hero’.

We are not at war to protect ourselves; we are at war because it is the most profitable business on the planet. We are at war because we are greedy. We are at war because we socialize our children to see other people as less than human. I have learned that I have far more in common with the average Iraqi citizen than I do with every single member of congress.

Since I do not trust that the tax dollars I pay will be earmarked for peaceful purposes even upon my request, I am instead donating the full amount that I was asked to pay in federal taxes instead to organizations working to improve the human condition.

To quote Dr. King (a man with a federal holiday in his honor, and a Nobel Peace Prize, as well as an FBI file) for the last time, “The bombs in Vietnam explode at home. They destroy the hopes and possibilities for a decent America.” That is exactly what the bombs are doing as they explode in Afghanistan and Pakistan, in Yemen and Somalia, in Iraq and Syria, in Libya and in Uganda, but the bombs falling on schools and hospitals in Gaza are also keeping Detroit from thriving. It is not just the bombs that we drop, but the weapons we build and the massacres we make possible. I have had enough. As a human being, I am not going to stand for this insanity any longer. So long my hard earned dollars are taxed away to be spent on violence, on death, on destruction… on war, I will ensure that every penny which I owe is rerouted to fund peace. I love the people of this country, but I love all people.

I found another brief note about American Socialist tax resister J.J. Keon, who kept up a Thoreauvian jail stint in Grafton, Illinois over a poll tax there:

Refuses to Pay Tax and Is Sent to Jail

 — Because J.J. Keon, a Socialist leader, refuses to pay a poll tax of $1.50 he began to serve six months in jail.

The City Hall has been converted into a jail by screening the windows with chicken wire, and Keon declares he will serve the full term rather than pay the tax or work it out at 75 cents a day. He holds such a tax is unconstitutional.

Keon’s meals will be brought from the city’s leading hotel and a special deputy has been sworn in to look after him, making the cost of his keep to the city $3.25 a day.