Debra Valov

| Letters

Internal Revenue Service
Fresno, CA

Dear Internal Revenue Service Person:
March 4, 2005

Today I sent in my completed 1040 and check in a separate envelope. I am writing to explain why I have withheld payment of $22.61 from the check in a symbolic act of war tax resistance, even though this amount by no means approaches the actual current percentage (50%) of tax revenue spent on the military every year.

Please note that I am paying the balance you claim I owe under extreme protest.

I protest the indecency of having to pay for Bush’s war and tax cut for the rich from the permanent disability settlement that I received last year after a grueling four year struggle in which I was shamelessly abused and ripped off by the insurance company of my disability pension.

I protest having to pay for Bush’s war from proposed future cuts to my SSDBI benefits.

I protest the grotesque misuse and abuse of my past tax dollars and the way in which my current taxes will be used to continue to wage a campaign of fear and violence at home and around the world, most specifically in Iraq.

As a Pacifist and a Patriot I cannot in good conscience blindly support the perverted policies of G.W. Bush and his administration. I would, if it were legally possible, divert all of my tax money to domestic programs that foster peace and bring true prosperity to all American citizens. This would be possible if there existed a “peace tax”, as has been proposed in the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Act (H.R. 1186), but thwarted by conservatives (all of whom no doubt consider themselves “good christians”).

I protest.

As the daughter and niece of WWII conscientious objectors, and the granddaughter, grandniece, and great-granddaughter of conscientious objectors in 19th century Tsarist Russia, I protest the murder by US soldiers of thousands of innocent civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan in my name.

I protest G.W. Bush lying to Congress about WMD’s in Iraq in order to send US soldiers, against international laws, current US treaties and worldwide dissent, to illegally invade and devastate a sovereign nation and to claim to do so in my name.

I protest G.W. Bush using the deaths of the 9/11 victims and his feigned concern for my safety to force through the passage of the so-called Patriot Act, thereby undermining the fundamental constitutional rights of due process, the right to privacy and the protection against undue search and seizure and habeus corpus, just to name a few of the draconian measures enacted.

I protest G.W. Bush’s hypocrisy in that he claims to be a christian and touts his supposed “pro-life, pro-family” values yet simultaneously and repeatedly gives the middle finger to poor people, children, the elderly, and people like me—the disabled—through his repressive legislation and budget cuts for social programs and his tax cuts for himself and his rich campaign contributors.

Last, but not least, I protest this administration’s blatant disregard for the value of human life, including the very lives of the soldiers he claims to support. Given that G.W. Bush has a long history of disregard for human life—from his tenure as the governor of Texas when he held the record for overseeing the highest number of executions in the history of the US, to his cutting of food stamp funding for the poor, to his shameless lack of concern for the thousands of innocent civilians and soldiers injured, tortured and/or killed at his behest to his gutting of veteran’s health care and benefits in the current budget—I thought it only fitting to try to determine what symbolic value our almighty christian leader might place on a human life. I came up with the whopping sum of $0.001 per person, which I believe is quite generous considering his abominable record.

When I decided to withhold a symbolic amount of war taxes from my payment, I determined to calculate this withholding based on G.W.’s symbolic monetary value of human life and the number of actual flesh and blood people whom he has been responsible for killing, but for whose deaths he neither acknowledges nor accepts any responsibility:

$22.16 Total monetary value of people killed and/or murdered by order of G.W. Bush
3200 Civilian deaths in Afghanistan—to 2005, only due to military action (estimated)
17,307 Civilian deaths in Iraq —to 3/3/05 , only due to military action (an average of numerous sources)
153 Combat deaths in Afghanistan—through 3/3/05 and as under-reported by the US military
1,500 Combat deaths in Iraq—through 3/3/05 and as under-reported by the US military
22,160 Total deaths—a very conservative estimate which does not include deaths due to disease, malnutrition…)
× $0.001 Dollar value per human life

Contrast this with the approximate $200,000,000,000 spent on the war in Iraq alone to date, or in other words, $10,634,338 spent per person killed, and you get a much better picture of the perversion that is our President, his policies and his true value for life. We should all be ashamed to call ourselves patriots if this is the type of person we allow to represent our nation and to misspendour money.

I am redirecting my withheld war taxes to a homeless family in Oakland who has suffered under the current economic and foreign policies. I have no delusion that my small action will have an impact on the morally bankrupt people in charge of policy at this time. Only time will tell whether they are brought to justice for their crimes against humanity. What does matter is that I am being true to my conscience, to my moral principals and to my obligation to honor the elders who came before me who bravely resisted doing wrong in the name of their god and country.

I am sorry for any inconvenience I may cause you. I understand that the IRS may use its enforcement procedures to collect this money from me but I hope that, instead of spending a great deal of time and other tax payer’s money to balance the budget on my account, you will join me in this refusal to pay for war and death.

In peace,

Debra Valov
Oakland, CA 94609

cc: Senator Barbara Boxer
Senator Diane Feinstein
Representative Barbara Lee
Councilwoman Jane Brunner
Governor Arnold Schwartzenegger
G.W. Bush
Oakland Tribune
Contra Costa Times
East Bay Guardian
San Francisco Chronicle
National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee
Michael Moore
KPFA Radio

“Paz, queremos paz…y libertad en este mundo…” José Luis Orozco (Peace, we want peace…and freedom in this world…)