April 15, 2003
Internal Revenue Service
Andover, MA 05501-0002
Dear Internal Revenue Service Person:
Instead of sending my taxes this year I enclose this letter explaining why I cannot in good conscience pay the tax money that is demanded of me by the United States government, approximately 650$ for the year 2002 from my work as a graduate student teaching assistant.
As a devoted Catholic and pacifist, a concerned citizen, botanist, environmentalist and teacher it would be hypocritical and unthinkable of me pay for the United States’ very own “weapons of mass destruction”. This is especially meaningful at present. Most recently, the United States has cowardly and unilaterally declared war on a country with a military budget 1/100th the size of that of the United States in order to deepen our political and economic control of the Middle East. In this unjust war we used illegal cluster bombs as well as weapons that are well known to be environmentally toxic. We have killed and injured thousands of Iraqi citizens. Contributing to our military budget will never work to “support Democracy”, as our civil liberties are under increased attack through the USA Patriot Act (with the threat of Patriot II ), nor will these dollars go to “support our troops”, as many will come home maimed, embittered, and harboring a destructive hatred of Arab peoples. Many American soldiers will suffer the consequences of exposure to depleted uranium, known to increase rates of cancer, leukemia, and birth malformations in Gulf War I veterans and Iraqi citizens. Shockingly, this war was hurled at us in the midst of cuts to military Veterans benefits! And a tax cut to benefit the rich! While millions of children starve around the globe!!
Our military is also complicit in the destruction of Iraq’s precious cultural monuments and artifacts. The military’s shameful disregard of another nation’s culture is only possible in a country whose schools are under funded and/or infested with military propaganda and recruitment centers. Our tax dollars also go to the Israeli government to support the unjust occupation of Palestine. Both the actions of the United States and of the U.S supported Israel are in severe violation of basic human rights.
In general, I will never support a government or military that speaks the language of “peacemaking” and “defense”, but whose acts speak of aggression, base cultural ignorance, extreme arrogance and spiritual vacancy.
Domestically, by supporting a monstrous military we fail to provide for our schools, hospitals, the environment, small farmers, the arts, community centers, and programs for the poor, children, and the elderly. A country that does not respect the humanity and natural resources of its “own people” is on a fast track to economic, cultural and spiritual death.
I would be very pleased to pay my taxes if it were to pay for the good community institutions mentioned above, and for the promotion of peace, justice, and the overall well being of our citizens. I would gladly contribute to the federal government if they were to compensate people in the U.S. for the pain of stolen land (the Native Americans), for racial and economic discrimination, slavery, and the horror of unjust imprisonment/isolation/detainment because of draconian laws or nothing other than their skin color, religion and/or government suspicion.
1000 dollars of my income has been redirected to organizations that feed the hungry, care for victims of disease and war, promote world peace, and protect civil liberties and human rights. This information will be easy for you to access — it is clearly displayed on my monthly credit card reports over the past 6 months. Yes, much of this money will go to support the healing of the people and land of war torn Afghanistan and Iraq. Thus, I will be labeled a “terrorist”. This is a risk for me that is far exceeded by the joy I get from following my mind’s heart. I wish the same for all Americans.
May it be someday that tax money goes not to the production of hate, but towards that of peace and justice. Until that day, I vow to be a “war tax resister”. It’s the least I can do for the Great Spirit of unarmed love.
With respect and peace,