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July 4th Reflections: England, George, We the People, and the Right of Revolution


Tomorrow is the two hundred and thirty first (231st) anniversary of the Declaration of Independence (DOI), a document that linked the United States' struggle for independence from England to the notion of democratic government and the right of popular revolution. Formed in opposition to British rule and institutions and the "royal brute" King George, the DOI made history by saying that the consent of the governed was the only legitimate basis for a government and that the people had the right to replace an authoritarian government with more popular forms of rule.  This is the well known right of revolution. 

How chilling it is to contemplate the remarkable extent to which the current holder of the U.S. executive position created by the Constitution born of the American Revolution has been defying key DOI postulates in ways that the original “royal brute” would approve.

Boy-King George has invoked a modern version of the Divine Right of Kings in claiming to be above the law in enacting such arch-repressive policies as the wiretapping of U.S. citizens, extraordinary rendition, the denial of habeas corpus to “enemy combatants” and the torture of alleged terrorists and occupation resisters.  

He has only half-jokingly referred to the nation’s billionaires as his real “base” and to thinking it would be easier to rule through dictatorship than via “democracy,” which he falsely claims to promote within and beyond illegally occupied Iraq. He is a longstanding close friend of the monarchical rulers of the totalitarian and arch-reactionary state of Saudi Arabia. His administration sponsored and supported a military coup against the democratically elected president of Venezuela in April of 2002. I could go on and on, right up to his commuting (yesterday) of Lewis Libby's sentence for committing high state/executive branch crimes in service to the monumentally illegal cause of attacking Iraq.  

One remarkable historical irony from the dangerous and authoritarian reign of Bush II has long struck me as insufficiently appreciated by the liberal and left commentariat: the continuing death of U.S. troops and (larger numbers of) Iraqi civilians in a colonial occupation that Bush strategized with British elites while hiding his plans from the American people.

In the leaked Downing Street Memo of 23 July 2002, it was revealed by top British military intelligence officials that English authorities learned something remarkable from Bush and his team.  “Military action was now seen as inevitable,” the British discovered. “Bush wanted to remove Saddam through military action,” the Memo reads, “justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.” The cooked (not mistaken) intelligence claims used to trick the American people into supporting the pre-ordained invasion of Iraq were being manufactured in advance by U.S. authorities. British rulers were let in on this terrible reality.  

Things got positively weird between Team Bush and the rulers of England five months later.  In a two-hour meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair that took place in the White House office on January 31, 2003, Bush discussed several ways to provoke a confrontation. One of the methods he proposed was to paint a U.S. surveillance plane in the colors of the United Nations in hopes of anti-aircraft fire that could be used to justify an invasion. 

Just less than two hundred and twenty six years after the Thirteen Colonies and Thomas Jefferson declared the United States' independence from England, the rulers of the British state knew more about Bush’s foreign policy plans than “the Decider’s” own U.S. citizen-subjects as the Washington Mob prepared to undertake the bloody, colonial and bipartisan invasion of petroleum-rich Iraq.

Two hundred and thirty one years after the DOI, after at least one blatantly stolen Bush election, the majority of those citizens/subjects/spectators oppose their transparently authoritarian president’s recently escalated criminal "war" but lack confidence in their ability to do anything to stop it. After committing numerous offenses worthy  of impeachment, removal, incarceration and worse, the messianic- militarist boy King Dubya continues to tell reporters and the public that his decisions on Iraq will be informed by his generals and “commanders on the ground” – unelected military authorities – and not by merely elected “politicians in Washington” and not of course by the purported masters of U.S. government and policy: the people. War Criminal Bush holds special messianic reverence for the title “Commander-in-Chief,” suggesting a belief that military rule has supplanted civilian rule in his despotic mind. 

We the People are supposed to cower in the amnesiac corners of current history, hoping pathetically that a kind and gentle President will come along and be a good D/democratic king starting in late January of 2009.

God only knows what sort of imperial-plutocratic mayhem and murder Lord Darth Cheney and George the Lesser et al. will be able to inflict in the intervening 18 months. As Glen Ford recently argued in Black Agenda Report,"if Cheney-Bush can't be impeached, nobody can."  

We are supposed to have completely and permanently forgotten the right of revolution. Have we?  If not, what more would it take to make us take it seriously and act upon it? 

And, short of revolution, when does it say to future imperial presidents if Bush II is allowed to escape his crimes against law, civilization and humanity?  To quote Ford again: "Impeachment, like all criminal processes, is designed not just to punish current lawbreakers, but to prevent future criminality. George Bush and his gang have been running a massive criminal enterprise for more than six years, effectively nullifying the Constitution. The Constitution does not automatically come back to life after the two top criminals leave. It must be enforced, or it is just an old, moldy piece of paper. The question is not whether there is time to impeach Bush and Cheney, but whether there is time to rescue the rule of law – domestic and international."

 

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