Two hundred and thirty two years ago, a courageous group of men drafted a fateful document, and after pledging “to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor”, they signed the Declaration of Independence. In so doing, they launched our country into existence. Many of us are quite familiar with portions of the Declaration, especially the opening “When in the Course of human events” and the climactic declaration “it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
Probably less familiar to most Americans is that a large portion of the Declaration is comprised of a list of abuses suffered by the colonies. In reading this list of abuses by King George III, it strikes me that many of the same abuses have been inflicted on the United States, and the world, by George W. Bush. When you read the Declaration’s list of abuses, it sometimes is hard to pick which George the Declaration is discussing. Selected passages from the Declaration appear below in italics, with my comments appended in normal text.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors 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.
That sure sounds a lot like signing statements to me.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
Bush repeatedly has refused to provide Congress with necessary information to make informed decisions, usually claiming state secrets or executive privilege. As an example, consider the difficulty Congress had obtaining documentation on the Terrorist Surveillance Program. The difference here would be that George W. Bush has the purpose of frightening Congress into agreement rather than fatiguing them as George III did.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
George W. Bush’s Department of Justice, under Attorneys General Ashcroft, Gonzales and Mukasey has been notorious in its obstruction of justice and politicization of the administration of justice. The examples are too numerous to list.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
Bush relies exclusively on General Petraeus, rather than Congress, to set the policy for military action in Iraq.
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
Although this is not happening here, Bush has made sure to put into place laws in Iraq exempting US military personnel and contractors from prosecution for any crimes committed there, although it now appears that contractor immunity is about to end.
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:
Recall that it took action by the Supreme Court to remind Bush that both US citizens and foreigners are entitled to the right to challenge their detention.
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
Bush is worse than George III, here. Extraordinary rendition is used for torture, rather than scam trials.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
This sounds like Bush’s EPA and plans for additional offshore oil drilling. He hasn’t been guilty of burning towns, but his version of FEMA sees fires as a chance for propagandizing.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
Bush’s mercenaries are domestic, coming from Blackwater and other lesser known contractors. The rest of this seems like a very accurate description of Bush, with his war in Iraq and longing for a war in Iran.
So, there we have many of Bush’s crimes being examples of history repeating itself. The question becomes on this Independence Day, what is to be done about it? Our Constitution provides the perfect remedy, impeachment for the high crimes and misdemeanors outlined here and elsewhere. The problem, of course, is that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi refuses to allow the initiation of hearings or a vote on impeachment. Our Congress clearly lacks the courage and leadership displayed by the signers of the Declaration of Independence. I truly hope they find that courage before it becomes incumbent on the citizens to display their own.
Update, July4: It looks like these folks have produced an updated version of the Declaration of Independence. Here they are reading it for us: