Letter to the Commissioner of Internal Revenue Service, the Secretary of the Treasury, the President and the People of the United States of America Accompanying My 1984 Tax Return
August 15, 1985
RE: Federal Income Tax
This letter is dedicated to a man named “Hue.” He is a Vietnamese man who remains a vivid image in my mind and soul. As a former Air Force security officer in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam in 1969, I was an observer of bombing missions of villages after which I was supposed to assess damages. Hue was one elderly Vietnamese man who survived, fortunately or unfortunately, depending on one’s point of view, one of those barbaric bombing attacks. Our eyes caught each other at about 200 feet and that profound encounter helped spark a moral journey of understanding planetary citizenship and what peace means at very deep levels within my being. That journey continues to evolve today. Hue represents the struggle and humanity, not ideology or embodiment of some blurred evil, of people throughout the world. He could be in El Salvador, Nicaragua, the Philippines, Korea, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, or anyplace else. There is voluminous violence and suffering in the world, and our super-power is substantially contributing to it
For the past three years I have been working directly with and for Vietnam veterans in the United States who continue to experience problems, many from what I call moral dis-ease, from our war. The United States government and the people who furnish the legal and political basis to this government have not been willing to pay for the price of our war. Agent Orange issues, emotional and moral stress issues, homelessness in epidemic proportions, inadequate pensions and compensation disabilities, etc., continue to haunt or trouble a significant number of Vietnam veterans for which the Veterans Administration has been unwilling to adequately deal with. Those of us who have been advocates for our own veterans have turned to private resources or state governments for assistance as we cannot wait until we are all dead before reckoning with these issues.
As an ex-kill warrior, one matter that I learned well was that we cannot kill hearts and minds if we want to win them. Killing promotes killing as violence promotes violence. I also learned that I never wanted to participate in killing citizens anywhere on the planet. I cannot kill the citizens myself nor can I support others killing them in my name.
Therefore, I cannot financially support such activities. I grieve over the policies of my own country that plans, prepares, initiates, or wages a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances, or participates in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of same. The United States has signed a number of treaties in our history that preclude the waging of wars of aggression. These treaties are part of the supreme law of the land under Article VI of the Constitution. Additionally, our country has signed the Nuremberg charter and principles which delineate the scope of individual responsibility in the face of illegal activities by a government. As I read the Nuremberg principles, complicity in the commission of crimes against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity is a crime under international law. As such, it is also part of the supreme law of the United States under the Constitution. Nuremberg also requires responsibility of individual citizens to abide by international law even when ordered contrary by his/her government. Article VI of our Constitution makes this individual responsibility supreme law over orders by the government.
As the United States is engaged in wars and aggression against citizens of other nations, and is conspiring to do so as well, and uses the threat of first strike weapons as a plan to wage aggressive war, such behavior is clearly in violation of a number of treaties, the Nuremberg principles, and the United States Constitution. As such, I cannot in good conscience pay these taxes. Furthermore, by so doing, I am upholding the Constitution of my own country.
S. Brian Willson
Attachments to 1040 Return, August 15, 1985
- Note to item #56 and item #68:
- The self-employment portion of the total tax return will be paid only if the Commissioner of Internal Revenue and the Secretary of the Treasury certify to me in writing that no amount of the self-employment portion of the total tax return will in any way, either by direct payment or in form of loans or transfers of funds, be utilized for any overt or covert military or intelligence functions by any agency of the federal government or any other organization at the request of the federal government.
- Note to item #47 and item #49:
- I represent approximately .000001% of all individual taxpayers in the United States. The military portion of the budget is approximately $300,000,000,000. My individual share of that military budget on an equal basis with all other individual taxpayers is $3000.