Tax Day 2012
To Whom It May Concern,
Dear Commissioner of Internal Revenue,
Tax season is upon us again and I am writing you my elected officials today to inform you of my concerns as an American citizen and to ask you to please remember your oath to support the Constitution and your duty of service to the American people.
My first concern is the perpetual state of war America finds itself in from one president to the next. According to the United States of America’s Constitution Article 1, Section 8 it is the responsibility of Congress to declare war. However if Congress, as it is widely understood, hasn’t declared war since World War II, our presidents from that time onward have been acting illegally when unilaterally declaring war.
In our wars many innocent people lose their lives:
“Over one million Iraqis have met violent deaths as a result of the 2003 invasion, according to a study conducted by the prestigious British polling group, Opinion Research Business (ORB). These numbers suggest that the invasion and occupation of Iraq rivals the mass killings of the last century—the human toll exceeds the 800,000 to 900,000 believed killed in the Rwandan genocide in 1994, and is approaching the number (1.7 million) who died in Cambodia’s infamous “Killing Fields” during the Khmer Rouge era of the 1970s.
Our soldiers are expected to bear the greatest burden:
“Some 107,000 Army soldiers have been deployed to war three or more times since 2001, or some 20 percent of the active-duty force. More than 50,000 of those currently in uniform have completed four or more combat tours, Army figures indicate.”
Then when we bring the soldiers home they are treated extremely disrespectfully by our government in that they are not immediately given the care they require as a result of injuries and difficulties sustained in their service to this government:
“Veterans Health Administration policy requires that all first-time patients requesting mental health services receive an initial evaluation within 24 hours, and a comprehensive diagnostic appointment within two weeks.” As it turns out, veterans have to wait on average over two months just for the initial evaluation.
“The average wait time for wounded veterans to see their disability-compensation claims completed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has now grown to 262 days — or nearly nine months — according to a federal website and three watchdog groups.”
Add to this the fact that the Department of Veterans Affairs is now facing serious accusations of intentionally manipulating and suppressing data that has resulted in the denial of care to suicidal veterans:
“In addition to withholding or manipulating data, former VA researcher…said the department made little effort, if any, to help veterans in a VA survey who expressed suicidal notions.”
In another extraordinarily concerning matter, when on 60 Minutes, shortly after his election, president Obama repeated he would follow through with his campaign promises to close Guantánamo:
“I have said repeatedly that I intend to close Guantanamo, and I will follow through on that.
I have said repeatedly that America doesn’t torture.
And I’m going to make sure that we don’t torture. Those are part and parcel of an effort to regain America’s moral stature in the world.”
Not only has the president failed to follow through on his promise to close Guantánamo, but the office working to close the torture chamber has itself been closed instead:
“The State Department on Monday reassigned Daniel Fried, the special envoy for closing the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and will not replace him, according to an internal personnel announcement. Mr. Fried’s office is being closed, and his former responsibilities will be “assumed” by the office of the department’s legal adviser, the notice said.”
As if these things aren’t bad enough, my fellow American citizens and I are being asked to fund these illegal wars, killing of innocent people, torture camps, not to mention increasing and highly destructive drone activity, NSA, FBI, CIA and DHS unwarranted surveillance of Americans, the list goes on. My conscience simply will not allow me to fund such activities. So this is what I’m going to do. I have provided a flyer detailing the actual U.S. budget, courtesy of the War Resisters League, and what percentage goes into military spending, 47%. I will not be paying the equivalent percentage (47%) of my taxes that the U.S. government budgets for military spending according to this flyer. I am asking you our elected officials to please remember your oath and your duty to the American people. Please stop the senseless wars and destruction throughout the world, bring our entire military home to stay on American soil and limit it to the size necessary for protecting our own country. When the hard earned money of the American people which is given to the government as a privilege to be used for the good of the people, is being used for humanitarian reasons, then of course I would be happy to pay my taxes entirely because I know it would be for a good cause. Until then, I will be taking the percentage of my tax dollars that would be spent by the U.S. government to kill people and instead donate that money to humanitarian organizations that help people.