Former NYT Bureau Chief: I Won't Pay Taxes If U.S. Battles Iran

Considering how many hyperventilating media leftists broke their promises to leave the country if George W. Bush won reelection in 2004, I'm not exactly holding out hope we'll see the IRS arrest former New York Times bigwig Chris Hedges (file photo at right) anytime soon.

Hedges, if you recall, was the paper's former Middle Eastern bureau chief who became more famous (infamous rather) for his lengthy anti-war diatribe during a 2003 speech to graduates of Rockford College.

The devoutly left-wing Hedges has hardly stopped proclaming his bona fides since that time, even writing a book comparing American religious conservatives to the Taliban. Today, our hero is busy concerning himself with the conspiracy theory that the United States will soon invade Iran. If that proves to be the case, the unbiased former Timesman will refuse to pay his income taxes in that same year:

I will not pay my income tax if we go to war with Iran. I realize this is a desperate and perhaps futile gesture. But an attack on Iran--which appears increasingly likely before the coming presidential election--will unleash a regional conflict of catastrophic proportions. This war, and especially Iranian retaliatory strikes on American targets, will be used to silence domestic dissent and abolish what is left of our civil liberties. It will solidify the slow-motion coup d'état that has been under way since the 9/11 attacks. It could mean the death of the Republic.

Let us hope sanity prevails. But sanity is a rare commodity in a White House that has twisted Trotsky's concept of permanent revolution into a policy of permanent war with nefarious aims--to intimidate and destroy all those classified as foreign opponents, to create permanent instability and fear and to strip citizens of their constitutional rights.

A war with Iran is doomed. It will be no more successful than the Israeli airstrikes on Lebanon in 2006, which failed to break Hezbollah and united most Lebanese behind that militant group. The Israeli bombing did not pacify 4 million Lebanese. What will happen when we begin to pound a country of 65 million people whose land mass is three times the size of France? [...]

A country that exists in a state of permanent war cannot exist as a democracy. Our long row of candles is being snuffed out. We may soon be in darkness. Any resistance, however symbolic, is essential. There are ways to resist without being jailed. If you owe money on your federal tax return, refuse to pay some or all of it, should Bush attack Iran. If you have a telephone, do not pay the 3 percent excise tax. If you do not owe federal taxes, reduce what is withheld by claiming at least one additional allowance on your W-4 form--and write to the IRS to explain the reasons for your protest. Many of the details and their legal ramifications are available on the War Resisters League's website.

I will put the taxes I owe in an escrow account. I will go to court to challenge the legality of the war. Maybe a courageous judge will rule that the Constitution has been usurped and the government is guilty of what the postwar Nuremberg tribunal defined as a criminal war of aggression. Maybe not. I do not know. But I do know this: I have friends in Tehran, Gaza, Beirut, Baghdad, Jerusalem and Cairo. They will endure far greater suffering and deprivation. I want to be able, once the slaughter is over, to at least earn the right to ask for their forgiveness.

Related:

Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield, creator of NewsBusters and president of Dialog New Media, an internet marketing and design firm, left NewsBusters at the end of 2013