50¢ of Every Tax Dollar Goes to Pay for Wars (March 7 2005)

Increasing numbers of Americans say the U.S. government is involved in immoral and illegal wars around the world and are refusing to support this with their tax money. The invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan and the indiscriminate killing of civilians, for example, are outlawed by international law. "Of every tax dollar paid, more than 50 cents goes to pay for past, present and future military expenses. The military budget for the Department of Defense alone for 2005 will be close to $500 billion. Our payment of federal taxes enables the government to carry on a continuing program of illegal military

activities," wrote Glen Milner, a member of Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action in Poulsbo, Wash., in a recent opinion piece in The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "International laws and agreements support and encourage citizens to resist their government when it is engaged in illegal acts," Milner added.

Under international laws, those who facilitate illegal wars and war crimes could actually be morally -if not legally- accountable, say proponents of resisting war taxes. Principle IV of the Nuremberg Principles states: "The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him." For example, a 1996 ruling by the International Court of Justice regarding the threat or use of nuclear weapons could be interpreted to mean that the United States' deployment of depleted uranium weapons is illegal. The humanitarian measure prohibits the use of weapons or methods of warfare that are directed against civilians or cannot discriminate between military targets and civilians; cause unnecessary suffering to combatants; violate the territory of neutral states; cause long-term and widespread damage to the environment or use poisonous substances. (...) In any event, tax resister groups estimate that tens of thousands of Americans don't pay their income taxes in order to protest U.S.-backed war efforts around the world. And, they say, that number is growing every year.

Back to Top

Back to Eco-nomics Directory