Shirley Whiteside (2012)

| Letters

Tax Day 2012


Please note that as we pay our 2011 income taxes, we have withheld $100 in protest. We are not opposed to taxes, in fact we believe that they are essential in the provision of a sound social system; for protecting a viable infrastructure and care for the sick and those in need. We are Conscientious Objectors to war (the legal status granted to persons otherwise required to participate in military service). These principles extend from our Christian upbringing. Our beliefs about war and peace have been fortified over the years. They are not political beliefs, but a commitment to nonviolence grounded in spiritual beliefs.

The United States tax collection system does not afford any option for tax payers conscientiously objecting to war. As tax payers we are required to participate in the waging of war conducted in our name. At this time in history, no acceptable option is provided for citizens such as ourselves whose religious, moral and ethical principles defy participation in war.

We humbly seek options in this dilemma that are consistent with our values.


Byron L. Plumley, Jr.
Shirley Whiteside

Attachment: Cost of war

cc. National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund
U.S. Senator Michael F Bennet
U.S. Senator Mark Udall
U.S. Representative Ed Perlmutter

Researchers in the Eisenhower Study Group at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies looked at the human, economic, social and political costs of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as U.S. military actions in Pakistan. The numbers below are the conservative ones in a span, all from their June 2011 report, as accessed April 16, 2012.

The Dead

6,051 U.S. service members
2,300 U.S. contractors
9,922 Iraqi security forces
8,756 Afghan security forces
3,520 Pakistani security forces
1,192 Other allied troops
11,700 Afghan civilians
125,000 Iraqi civilians
35,600 Pakistanis (civilians and insurgents)
10,000 Afghan insurgents
10,000 Members of Saddam Hussein’s army
168 Journalists
266 Humanitarian workers

Total: 224,475 lives lost

The Wounded

99,065 U.S. soldiers
51,031 U.S. contractors
29,766 Iraq security forces
26,268 Afghan security forces
12,332 Other allied troops
17,544 Afghan civilians
109,558 Iraqi civilians
19,819 Pakistani civilians

Total: 365,383 wounded

The Displaced

3,315,000 Afghan civilians
3,500,000 Iraqi civilians
1,000,000 Pakistani civilians

Total: 7,815,000 refugees and internally displaced people

Costs to the American Taxpayer

$1.3 trillion in Congressional War Appropriations to the Pentagon — the official budget for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

$3.7-4.4 trillion estimated total costs to American taxpayers. This includes the official Pentagon budget (above), veterans’ medical and disability costs, homeland security expenses, war-related international aid and the Pentagon’s projected expenditures to 2020.

$1 trillion more in interest payments through 2020 on money the U.S. borrowed for war.