Kevin Martonick (2015)

| Letters

Dear IRS Commissioner John Koskinen,

On this tax day I am thinking a lot about how about half of our taxes goes toward military spending. Actually, it is something on my mind quite often throughout the year. In the same way a conscientious objector refuses to fight in a war and our country provides a route by which such a person may work in non-military service during a draft, I refuse to be required to pay for war or any violence done to anyone around the world by any governmental or other organization or persons and urge all in government to create a means by which conscientious objectors may pay their taxes ethically.

From Mamina Bibi, mother of Rafiq Ur Rehman and Atiq Ur Rehman and grandmother of 13 year old Zubair Ur Rehman and 9 year old Nabila Ur Rehman, the Pakistanis who testified before Congress regarding the two children whom were working in the garden with their grandmother when a U.S.drone missile struck them killing their grandmother, Mamina, and wounding the two children on October 24th, 2012, to the torture in Abu Ghraib, the surreptitious Diego Garcia, Guantanamo Bay, and other black sites, the illegal detention of cleared prisoners there and the fact that the war on terror has killed over 1 million people, possibly higher than 2 million, I cannot agree to help pay for such atrocities.

As I believe many in the U.S. are, I am a peace-loving person. I am glad to pay taxes that are used for constructive purposes that help improve the lives of everyone in the country which is why I would gladly make my entire tax payments to the Peace Tax Fund if it were realized. Presented by six members of the House of Representatives including John Lewis (D-GA), the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Act, H.R. 2483, states that, “…any form of coerced participation in military activity violates the inalienable right of people to live according to their religious conscience and ethical beliefs,” to which I am in complete agreement. The Peace Tax Fund would allow the federal taxes of conscientious objectors to be placed in a non-military trust fund which would give the government a means to gather revenue without violating people’s rights to practice their beliefs.

As you can see, people are trying to find ways to pay their taxes fairly and conscientiously. However, if we are blocked at every turn, what else are we to do? Therefore, though I have filed my taxes, until the Peace Tax Fund is realized, I will not be paying the portion of my taxes that is used for war, military and other violent purposes, currently 45% as detailed in the enclosed flyer. Instead, I will be redirecting that amount to local organizations here in Portland and others around the U.S.that are focused on humanitarian causes such as health care, education, peace movements and honest, comprehensive journalism.

If we are a peace-loving people, then why should we participate in the crimes of starting and maintaining wars for any amount of time, let alone the current ones with no foreseeable end, possibly going on into decades? This I cannot understand and will not be part of. I conscientiously object to participating in any war, military campaign or any kind of violence in any way. I welcome the day when we as a nation learn to deal peacefully, fairly and respectably with our neighbors around the world and with ourselves especially regarding the justice system and the police treatment of particular communities, a way in which a Peace Tax Fund wouldn’t even be necessary.

Thank you for your time.

Kevin Martonick