Monday, April 09, 2012

Governments: Eager to send off to war, slow to honor promises

As Nanci Griffith sings, "It's a hard life/ It's a hard life/ It's a very hard life/ It's a hard life wherever you go" ("It's A Hard Life," written by Griffith, first appears on her album Storms). When the governments of the US and UK went to war on Iraq, no leaders went into battle, their citizens did. And it's the citizens who suffered. Some died, some suffered visible wounds, some suffered what are called "invisible wounds." England's Daily Mirror explores that last category today:

A Mirror investigation has found a significant increase in the number of our service personnel being treated for mental health issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder.
Between 2007 and 2010, the total with mental health problems soared from 2,289 to 2,510 – a 9.7% increase. And those diagnosed with severe PTSD leaped from 122 in 2007 to 185 in 2010 – a 51% rise.
The shocking statistics cover all ranks, from top brass to privates. The Army currently has around 100,000 troops – with 9,500 of them serving in Afghanistan.
Figures obtained under freedom of information laws reveal that 9,064 soldiers and officers had some type of mental disorder between January 1, 2007, and December 31, 2010.
They included those suffering anxiety and mood swings – as well as 509 confirmed cases of post-traumatic stress disorder.

In both the US and the UK, those who served struggle to get the post-war benefits and care they need. In the US, Eric Tucker (AP) reports on the increase in the number of female veterans who are homeless. In the UK, Gavin Harvey (Northern Echo) reports on the father of Cpl Simon Miller who was killed with five other British military police in a 2003 attack. John Miller is quoted explaining, "It's the Government who send them out to war, but they are abandoned when they return. It's important that these people are looked after. They should be looked after for the rest of their lives, under the wing of specialists 24/7." Like John Miller, Cindy Sheehan lost a child in the Iraq War, her son Casey. As a result, she has repeatedly taken on the war machine. For her, that includes refusing to pay taxes. That action will result in her appearing before a judge on April 19th. The Northern California War Tax Resisters issued the following statement:

When the IRS takes Cindy Sheehan to court to try to force her to support the war machine that killed her son, other war tax resisters from Northern California will be standing with her.
On April 19th at 10:30 a.m., the IRS will ask a judge of the U.S. Federal Court, California Eastern District (501 I St., Sacramento) to compel Cindy Sheehan to give them information that would help them collect money from her. Northern California War Tax Resistance supports Sheehan's continued refusal to cooperate.
Cindy Sheehan is not waiting for Congress to shut off the spigot of funding for war and militarism – she's taking a stand of conscience by refusing to pay the taxes that make the wars possible. And she's not alone: war tax resisters across the country are refusing to pay into the Pentagon's budget.
Among them are members of the group Northern California War Tax Resistance.
“I wish more anti­war activists would put their money where their mouth is like Cindy does,” says David Gross, 43, of Berkeley, California. Gross hasn't paid any federal income tax since 2003. “I didn't feel like I could really say I was against the wars until I stopped supporting them with my tax dollars, so I decided to stop paying. Now I put all of my energy on the side of my values instead of being a reluctant part­time worker for the Pentagon.”
Jan and David Hartsough of San Francisco, California, have been resisting the federal telephone excise tax since 1968, and today they also refuse to pay half of their federal income tax. “The U.S. Government has already taken Cindy's son for the immoral and illegal war in Iraq,” David says. “She should not in addition be forced to pay for other mothers' sons to kill and be killed in Afghanistan.”
“This year I'm celebrating 25 years of refusing to pay war taxes to the federal government,” says Jon Marley, 50, of Berkeley, California. “I choose this kind of civil disobedience because I believe it is morally wrong for the U.S. to spend nearly 50% of our taxes on murder, torture, and rape in places like Afghanistan and Iraq. We should be using those dollars for projects that provide housing and food and education and health care. Cindy Sheehan understands this, and that's why she has my full support in her brave stand as a war tax resister.”
“How many of our sons and daughters must die in faraway lands? And how many faraway sons and daughters must die at their hands?” asks war tax resister Susan Quinlan of Berkeley, California, who has been resisting taxes since 1981. “Thank you to Cindy Sheehan and to the other mothers and fathers who say 'no!' to this military madness! Not our children, not their children, and not with our taxes!”
Martha Cain, of Berkeley, California, says: “[Former U.S. Secretary of State] Alexander Haig said [of anti­war protesters], 'Let them march all they want as long as they continue to pay their taxes.' Cindy Sheehan interpreted this advice and acted on it. I support and admire Cindy for her courage and commitment in refusing to pay for more violence in this world.”
“I refuse to allow any of my tax money to be spent on wars, torture, rape, and killing people for whatever excuse the government and our corporations want to make up,” says Xan Joi, of Berkeley, California. “To attempt to force Cindy Sheehan to pay for this war on Iraq that actually took her child’s life is unconscionable, immoral – and demanding that she participate in supporting, condoning, and accepting the murder of her own child – let alone other mothers’ children. I feel so tender toward the women of this nation and other nations that I will not allow myself or others to injure their sons and daughters. Cindy Sheehan is a courageous mother who is refusing to be bought by the greed of our nation. I support her stands.”
“I have been resisting the military portion of my income taxes since Vietnam,” says Lorin Peters, 69, of Lafayette, California. “For two reasons: our military is being used for domination and empire, and not for defense; [and] nonviolent defense works better than violent defense, as was demonstrated by Gandhi and others.”
Sheehan appreciates the company: “I would like this to be a movement,” she says. “There are many, many people who are conscientious tax resisters around the country, but I think we need to make it a movement with more and more people joining us. There are many ways people can be conscientious tax objectors. You don’t have to do it 100% like I do.”

Bonnie reminds that Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Ms. Troll Goes Shopping" went up last night. On this week's Law and Disorder Radio -- a weekly hour long program that airs Monday mornings at 9:00 a.m. EST on WBAI and around the country throughout the week, hosted by attorneys Heidi Boghosian, Michael S. Smith and Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights), topics explored include Mumia Abu-Jamal, the Supreme Court verdict on strip searches, guests Dan Berger and Naomi Jaffee discussing David Gilbert's new book Love and Struggle: My Life in SDS, the Weather Underground and Beyond and attorney Piper Hendricks discusses how the US Public Health Service used over 5,000 Guatemalans as human guine pigs.

UK Indymedia offers this from Wise Up For Bradley Manning:

Bradley Manning supporters from Wales and beyond will be organising in Pembrokeshire, Cardiff and north east Wales during April. Bradley, who has Welsh roots, will be back in court at Fort Meade in the US this month (24th - 26th) where proceedings against him will continue.

We're calling for all charges against Bradley Manning to be dropped and for him to be freed immediately. A fair trial is impossible and in any case blowing the whistle on war crimes is not a crime. For whistleblowers in the US, as here, the rhetoric is protection, the reality persecution.

Join us at one of the planned events or get in touch by email. Help us make some noise on the streets for Bradley Manning. We'll be in Pembrokeshire 12-14 April, Cardiff 15-24 April and north east Wales 25-29 April. Plenty of opportunities for street speaking, stalls, banner hangs, busking etc.

What's already planned?

More info about all events here and here.

12 April, Cardigan
Pwllhai Market – info stall

13 April, Haverfordwest
War in the 21st Century.
Bradley Manning exhibition and event with war veterans

16-24 April, Cardiff
Bradley Manning exhibition and exhibition of photojournalist Guy Smallman’s photos of Afghanistan
at Central Library

16 April, Cardiff
An evening with Craig Murray
at the University

21 April, Cardiff
Stall for Bradley Manning
at CAAT regional campaign day, Chapter Arts

22 April, Cardiff
Stand Up, Stand Up for Bradley Manning! Comedy night, Yard Bar and Kitchen

24 April, Cardiff
Food Not Bombs: Free food! Free Bradley Manning!
Stall outside Central Market on the day Bradley’s next court hearing begins

24 April, Cardiff
Special sneak preview screening of film Incident in New Baghdad
at the University

27 April, Denbigh
Meeting for and about whistleblowers

29 April, Wrexham
Gig for Bradley Manning

WISE Up for Bradley Manning
- e-mail: wiseupforbm[at]
- Homepage:

The e-mail address for this site is

law and disorder radio
michael s. smith
heidi boghosian
michael ratner