If you don’t want to bomb Indochina, don’t pay for it By Ed Hedemann Austin Despite Richard Nixon’s recent peace proposals, the low number of American casualties and the massive troop withdrawals, the Indochina war goes on and on and on. Air power, bombs, anti-personnel mines and electronically controlled weapons simply have replaced U.S. ground troops and the killing continues at the rate of 300 Asians a day. President Nixon said in a press conference last year, “As we reduce the number of our forces, it is particuarly important for us to continue our air strikes. … We have to not only continue our air strikes; we will have to step them up.” U.S. air based in South Vietnam will be closed or transferred to the South Vietnamese by the middle of this year, but the large majority of the bombing will continue to be done by U.S. aircraft and pilots based in Thailand and on carriers in the South China Sea. LTHOUGH THE bomb tonnage A dropped on South Vietnam is lower than it was a few years ago, the tonnage dropped on Cambodia, Laos and the Ho Chi Minh Trail makes the total of bombs now devastating Indochina comparable to the 1967 level. In fact, the Nixon administration has dropped more tons of bombs on Indochina than were dropped during World War II and the Korean War combined. Nixon’s bomb record now exceeds Lyndon Johnson’s. United States has dropped 300 pounds, three hundred pounds of bombs for every man, woman and child in Indochina. Some 500,000 non-combantants have been killed in this war since 1964. And, as General William Westmoreland affirmed before the House Armed Services Committee last year, it’s American air power and artillery, not ground forces, that kills the majority of the enemy. With the automated battlefield, generals in command of forces engaging the “enemy” study computer readouts instead of battle maps; pilots who fly missions set coordinates \(from signals relayed from electronic sensors scattered over the the planes fly automatically, releasing their bombs by electronic signal. Automated warfare provides the United States with a handy mercenary army. Instruments do not defect. They are not 20 The Texas Observer known to take consciousness-expanding drugs. And they have no ethical qualms about killing civilians. This automated carnage costs money, plenty of money. The federal budget for fiscal ’72 is $176.8 billion. Payments for past, present and future wars make up about $110 billion or 61 percent of that budget. \(This includes expenditures for national defense and related activities, veterans’ payments and interest on the national debt which is more .than percent of the budget goes for human resources, 11 percent for physical resources. If this tax money were not spent on war materials, it could do a great deal of good. The 105 helicopters destroyed in Laos last year at a cost of $52.5 million could have paid for 17 health centers accommodating 40,000 people a year. One $25 million B-1 bomber would build 15 fifty-bed hospitals and one aircraft carrier costing a billion dollars could buy 67,000 low-cost housing units. THE INDOCHINA war could be ended right now, but it apparently won’t be, despite the fact that most Americans are fed up with it. Congress could stop the war by refusing to fund it, but our timid representatives shrink from such a decisive move \(after all, there’s a war on, as Jules individuals to refuse, at least symbolically, to pay for the bombing of Indochina. War tax resistance can take the mild form of filling out IRS form 843 requesting that money paid for the war be returned. Or one can refuse to pay a token $5 or $10 of ins income tax. Some ware resisters will not pay the percentage going to the war or to the military. Others will pay no income tax at all on the theory that the federal government already has extracted some money through other taxes and most all of the income tax could be construed as a war tax. One of the complications in refusing payment is that the withholding system puts many people in the position of not owing any additional money in April. There are a number of ways to circumvent the withholding system. Most of them require planning ahead. The most common method is to use the recently issued W-4 forms, which for the first time allow additional exemptions to be claimed in anticipation of itemized deductions. War tax resisters claim the additional withholding allowance \(on line 6 of the the illegal and immoral conduct of the U.S. government, some or all of the federal taxes claimed could not be lawfully collected. Of the various federal excise taxes, the 10 percent telephone tax is the easiest to refuse and is the one most related to the Indochina war. In 1966 Wilbur Mills introduced a bill in Congress to levy the 10 percent tax on all telephone service to help fund the Vietnam war. If a telephone customer pays his or her bill less the tax with a note indicating why, the telephone company will not discontinue service but simply will forward the fact of refusal to the IRS. An estimated 100,000 people in the nation are doing this. FOR BOTH income and telephone tax the risks are basically the same. The IRS once a year will send a couple of forms or visit in person [asking for payment of the amount due plus 6 percent interest per annum] . Often the IRS will stop at that point even if no money is sent the, because it usually costs them more to collect than it’s worth. Sometimes the IRS will attempt to find a bank account or place of employment to get the money. If that fails, the government may attempt to auction off some property, such as a car or a home. -No such drastic action has been taken in Texas, yet, and only a few cases of confiscation have occurred across the nation. Although refusal to pay taxes is a misdemeanor, the government has not prosecuted anyone who has made it clear that he was refusing to pay as a matter of principle rather than in an attempt at fraud. A separate note of explanation to the IRS usually will clarify the situation. The members of Direct Action are encouraging people who refuse war taxes to channel their tax money into an alternative fund. Direct Action has such a fund called the People’s Life Fund. In the past, proceeds of the Austin fund have gone to the Austin Free Clinic and to the Committee of Responsibility, which medically treats war-damaged children from Southeast Asia. Direct Action is organizing a demonstration at the Federal Building in Austin on April 17. Some of us will attempt to pass out tax resistance literature inside the IRS office. On April 8 we will be holding a clinic on the how’s and why’s of tax resistance. For further information, contact Direct Action, P. 0. Box 7161, Austin, 512/471-4362.