Declaration of Indictment
Editor’s Note: Many Americans seem to have forgotten the spirit of integrity, the courage – and the sense of outrage over the British Crown’s abuses of power – that led to the founding of the Republic. Instead, we have seen a lazy acquiescence to the many crimes of another imperious prince, George W. Bush, and the courtiers who surrounded him.
In this “Declaration of Indictment,” David Swanson of Afterdowningstreet.org adapts the outrages of President Bush to the style of the Declaration of Independence:
IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 2009
The unanimous Declaration of the fifty united States of America
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with a gang of lawless thugs and insist on the appointment of a special prosecutor to enforce the laws of the land even against those until recently holding the reins of Power, a decent respect to the opinions of humankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Prosecution.
We hold these truths to be the foundation of our Constitution and therefore of the U.S. Code of law, that all men and women are considered equal, that they are given by the laws they have created certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
— That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men and Women, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever the high officials of any Government become destructive of these ends, and when that Government refuses to correct itself through impeachment, expulsion, and other checks and balances, it is the Right of the People to demand the prosecution of the criminals and to refuse subservience to that Government until this Demand is met, and thereby to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that high Government officials should not be charged for light and transient causes, nor should amorous affairs enter the consideration of responsible governance; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that humankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government by prosecuting the chief offenders, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
— Such has been the patient sufferance of these fifty states; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to insist upon the appointment of an independent Counsel to prosecute the following criminal acts. The history of the recent rule of George W. Bush, abetted if not directed by Richard B. Cheney, is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden the Congress to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws.
He has made Judges and Prosecutors dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of foreign imperialism but domestic peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us as well as in bases garrisoning the globe at great cost in blood and treasure:
For protecting soldiers and mercenaries, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit:
For imposing Taxes on us to fund illegal wars and massive transfers to private bankers without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us and others in our name beyond Seas to be detained without charge and tortured for pretended offences:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Form of our Government:
For effectively suspending our own Legislature, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He has transported large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens to become the executioners of their fellow human beings, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury, silence, and the mockery of a Congress and a Justice Department terrified of asserting Power. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be free and unindicted for his Criminal Trespasses.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our attorneys general. We have warned them from time to time of treaty requirements to enforce the Laws of the land. We have reminded them of the circumstances of the crimes committed and openly confessed to. We have appealed to their native justice and decency, and we have conjured them to disavow these usurpations.
They too have been deaf to the voice of justice. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in Lawlessness, in Duty and Justice Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the sovereign People of this nation for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these fifty states, solemnly publish and declare, That these united states are, and of Right ought to be committed to the rule of law, not the rule of men or women, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the Bush-Cheney cabal or their protectors in the administration of Barack Obama, and that all political connection between them and this recently departed group of tyrannical abusers is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent People, they have full Power to end War, create Peace, enforce laws, establish Justice, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent People may of right do.
— And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of the American People and our friends and allies around the world, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
David Swanson is the author of the upcoming book "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union" by Seven Stories Press. You can pre-order it for a discount price at http://tinyurl.com/daybreakbook
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