A Veteran's Declaration of Independence for July 4, 2008

By David Swanson

The Declaration of Independence is frequently cited but rarely read, and even more rarely updated. Remarkably, it needs very little updating to apply to the latest King George III. A couple of years ago, in preparation for July 4th events, Veterans for Peace (VFP) came up with the Declaration of Impeachment, which changes very few words from the original Declaration of Independence: http://afterdowningstreet.org/declarationofimpeachment

Now they’ve come up with a new Declaration of Independence that spells out in more updated detail the charges against the current king. Tarak Kauff of VFP came up with this and sent it to me. I think we should start right now planning events to feature it on July 4, 2008. It’s available as a flyer in a nice PDF here: LINK.


We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all human beings are created equal, that they are endowed with 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 any form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and 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. Experience hath shown, that humankind is more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right them by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations demonstrates the design to reduce the people to a state of absolute Despotism, it is the Peoples Right, it is their Sacred Duty, to throw off such a Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security …

The history of the administration of President and Vice President, George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney is a history of repeated crimes, injuries and usurpations, all having as a direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny of the Executive Branch. A President whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant is unfit to be the leader of a free people. To prove this, let these Facts be submitted to a candid world:

In his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has conspired to exceed his constitutional authority to wage war, in that he has committed

(a) CRIMES AGAINST PEACE: namely, planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances, or participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the foregoing;

(b) WAR CRIMES: namely, violations of the laws or customs of war. Such violations shall include, but not be limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave labor or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory, murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war or persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity;

(c) CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY: namely, murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other inhumane acts committed against any civilian population, before or during the war; or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds in execution of or in connection with any crime within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, whether or not in violation of the domestic law of the country where perpetrated.

Let it be duly noted that leaders, organizers, instigators and accomplices participating in the formulation or execution of a common plan or conspiracy to commit any of the foregoing crimes are responsible for all acts performed by any persons in execution of such plan.

Article 1. He has subverted the Constitution and the constitutional separation of powers by undermining the rightful authority of Congress to declare war, oversee foreign affairs, and make appropriations. He did so by justifying a war with false and misleading statements and deceived the people of the United States as well as Congress. He denied the electorate the right to make an informed choice and thereby undermined democracy.

Article 2. In violation of the United Nations Charter, which is the law of the land under the U.S. Constitution, he has launched an aggressive war upon Iraq, neither in self-defense nor under authorization of the UN Security Council.

Article 3. He also committed fraud against the United States by lying to and intentionally misleading Congress about the reasons for the Iraq war.

Article 4. He has violated the U.N. Charter, Article 2, paragraph 4, by threatening the use of force against the territorial integrity and political independence of Iran. Bush’s threat of force against Iran has included the possibility of nuclear force. Bush has secretly supported preliminary acts of war within Iran with neither approval from nor funding by Congress.

Article 5. He has allowed the U.S. military to violate treaties to which the United States is party and has failed to investigate and prosecute high-level officials responsible for these abuse. These violations include the targeting of civilians, journalists, and medical personnel, and the illegal use of a variety of weapons, including: Land mines, used in Afghanistan and Iraq in violation of Geneva Conventions Protocol I, Article 85, and Protocol II of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons; Cluster bombs, used in Afghanistan and Iraq in violation of Geneva Conventions Protocol I, Article 85, and Protocol I of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons; Depleted uranium munitions, used in Afghanistan and Iraq in violation of Geneva Conventions Protocol 1, Articles 35.2, 35.3, 48 and 55.1; Napalm or Mark 77 Firebomb, used in Iraq in violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, Article II.1.b; White phosphorous, which was deployed “as an incendiary weapon” in urban areas of Fallujah, Iraq, where there were high concentrations of civilians, during Operation Phantom Fury (November 2004-January 2005), making the said deployment of white phosphorous a violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, Article II.1.b; -BLU-82B/C-130 “daisy cutter” bombs, used in Afghanistan in violation of Geneva Conventions Protocol I, Articles 35, 48, 51 and 55.

Article 6. He has directed or authorized the National Security Agency and various other agencies within the intelligence community to conduct electronic surveillance outside of the statutes Congress has prescribed as the exclusive means for such surveillance, and to use such information for purposes unknown but unrelated to any lawful function of his office; he has also concealed the existence of this unlawful program of electronic surveillance from Congress, the press, and the public.

Article 7. In violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, he has arrogated excessive power to the executive branch in violation of basic constitutional principles of the separation of powers. He has formally declared his intent to violate the laws enacted by Congress by appending a “signing statement” to legislation, asserting his right to carve out exceptions to legislation as he sees fit, thereby arrogating to himself powers reserved solely to Congress. He has, in several instances, gone on to act on his self-declared right to violate these laws.

Article 8. He has violated the rights of citizens and non-citizens by arbitrarily detaining them indefinitely inside and outside of the United States, without due process, without charges, and with limited, if any, access to counsel or courts.

Article 9. He has abused his power and failed to faithfully execute the laws of the United States by allowing his administration to condone torture, failing to investigate and prosecute high-level officials responsible for torture, and officially refusing to accept the binding nature of a statutory ban on cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 10. He has sought to mislead the people of the United States and the Congress by hiding information without justification, selectively releasing misleading pieces of information, funding misleading journalism, producing misleading video reports falsely presented as independent journalism, using the U.S. military to target journalists in Iraq, threatening officials with retribution should they reveal information, and exacting retribution against whistle blowers. He has abused his power and failed to faithfully execute the laws of the United States by allowing his administration to reveal the identity of a covert agent of the Central Intelligence Agency and the front-group she worked for, and by failing to investigate and prosecute high-level officials responsible for this security breach.

We therefore declare that as Free and Independent citizens of the United States; We are absolved from any Allegiance to the Bush/Cheney Administration; We call for the arrest and trial of the Bush/Cheney criminal cabal; And all political connection with this Administration, is and ought to be, totally dissolved.

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