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Voices / Letters from readers

We must address new Iran emergency with forceful action

Kurt Daims , a longtime activist, works to make global issues local as director of Brattleboro Common Sense, whose mission is “to invigorate the political life and maximize the political influence of Brattleboro, by facilitating residents’ involvement and influence in civic affairs and town governance.”

A proposal was announced on Jan. 2 for a way to interrupt the chain of command for illegal orders to start a war against Iran.

It was widely predicted that Donald Trump would start a new war in order to distract people from his impeachment trial. Now, two days later, he has started the war by assassinating a general in Iran.

This is a flagrant act of war and a violation of international law and U.S. law.

Though not in peril of our lives like so many Iranians and dark-skinned people around the world, the U.S. people are hostage to a maniac. But we cannot simply wait for his impeachment trial to remove him. Instead, we must address this new emergency with forceful action to interrupt the chain of command through which Trump acts.

Trump doesn’t perpetrate all his crimes by himself. Whether he’s putting immigrant children in cages or blasting innocent, confused people to bits, he does so by giving orders.

If people refuse his orders, as many heroes and whistle-blowers have done, then Trump himself will not put those children in cages. He will not himself bomb those innocent crowds.

So we need to remind U.S. military officers that their oath is to the Constitution of the United States, and not to the president.

We must remind them that their duty under the Nuremberg Principles is to refuse illegal orders. And we need to honor them and start a legal defense fund for them — and we need to do so now.

Wars are more than ugly enough, with civilians who know nothing about the conflicts that envelop them and have no idea why fiery death falls on them from the sky, why they suffer for the conflicts between leaders of governments they don’t support, just as we don’t support this one.

For such horrors conscience drives soldiers to insanity.

Let’s help our officers act on conscience now.

It’s sad that such things don’t go out of date. Brattleboro Common Sense prepared petitions during the late Bush administration. (BrattleboroCommonSense.org; 802-490-9363).

Meanwhile, contact the soldiers you know so that they are not dishonored by unlawful orders from Trump. Tell them that they must resist such illegal orders and that we will be working on their defense.

Kurt Daims
Brattleboro

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Originally published in The Commons issue #543 (Wednesday, January 8, 2020). This story appeared on page C7.

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