The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen 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 another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
- How has the current King George shown his “decent respect for the opinions of mankind”?
- He went to war against Iraq despite overwhelming popular opposition around the world and despite the absence of any UN authorization. (The percentage of the population supporting unilateral war by the United States and its allies was 3% in Argentina, 10% in Britain, 5% in Bulgaria, 8% in India, 3% in Malaysia, 9% in South Africa, 4% in Spain, 5% in Switzerland, and so on.)
- He has pursued policies that have led huge majorities in many countries to have a negative opinion of him (in March 2004, 85% unfavorable in Germany and France, 55% in Britain, 90% in Morocco and 96% in Jordan).
- He dismissed the largest protests in world history in which many millions of people opposed his Iraq war plans, declaring, “You know, the size of protests is like deciding, well, I’m going to decide policy based upon a focus group.”
- He ignored the United Nations’ refusal to authorize war against Iraq by proclaiming that “America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our people.”
- All of the above.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator 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, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,
- How has the current King George shown his belief in the consent of the governed?
- He took office after his cronies in Florida disenfranchised tens of thousands of African Americans who were legally entitled to vote in the 2000 election.
- He handpicked an Iraqi leader — who had worked for the CIA and had engaged in terrorism in Iraq on its behalf in the 1990s — even though that leader was disapproved of by 61% of the Iraqi population.
- After a failed coup attempt backed by Washington against Venezuela’s president, Hugo Chavez, an administration official stated that, although Chavez had been “democratically elected,” one had to bear in mind that “legitimacy is something that is conferred not just by a majority of the voters.”
- Bush extended long-standing U.S.-Israeli opposition to self-determination for the Palestinian people by endorsing for the first time Israel’s permanent retention of major illegal settlement blocs on the West Bank.
- All of the above.
–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.
- How has the current King George furthered our safety and happiness?
- In the two years since September 11, 2001, less potential nuclear weapons material that might fall into the hands of terrorists has been secured than was secured in the two years prior to the attacks.
- Significant terrorist attacks were at a 20-year high in 2003 and there were more than twice as many terrorist attacks attributed to al Qaeda-linked or identified groups since 9/11 as in their entire pre-9/11 history.
- Former CIA director George J. Tenet said in February 2004 that the world was at least as ”fraught with dangers for American interests” as it was before the Iraq war began.
- The Bush administration is planning to deploy a national missile defense system later this year, a multi-billion dollar boondoggle that will fuel the global arms race, does not work (the system has been put through only 8 unrealistic tests, and failed 3 of them), ignores real threats (like port security), and, in the words of 31 former government officials, is a “sham” that “will provide no real defense.”
- All of the above.
… He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
- In the United States there is supposed to be a “volunteer” military. How has the current King George dealt with this force?
- He has ordered some soldiers’ tours of duty to be involuntarily extended by as much as 18 months.
- His White House budget office issued a memo calling for more than $900 million in cuts from veterans programs after the election.
- His “No Child Left Behind” education law requires high schools to provide military recruiters with the names, addresses, and phone numbers of their students — which the military hopes will “boost” recruitment.
- Rather than withdrawing troops from Iraq and saving lives, both U.S. and Iraqi, he has ordered that the media may not show pictures of the flag-draped caskets of dead soldiers.
- All of the above.
…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:
- How has the current King George tried to protect soldiers who commit crimes?
- He has refused to permit the United States to adhere to the International Criminal Court and has successfully pressured large numbers of allied countries to agree never to invoke its provisions against US troops.
- After failing to get his third consecutive Security Council grant of immunity for U.S. troops, he had his top official in Iraq, Paul Bremer, unilaterally extend Order 17, which immunizes U.S. and other coalition forces from Iraqi legal process.
- He has blamed “a few bad apples” for the torture and murders that have taken place in our offshore prison system, rather than acknowledging that, as Human Rights Watch has stated, “This pattern of abuse did not result from the acts of individual soldiers who broke the rules. It resulted from decisions made by the Bush administration to bend, ignore, or cast rules aside.”
- He has refused to declassify many relevant documents on the subject of torture deliberations within the administration, but documents that have been leaked or made public show that government lawyers advised (1) interrogators who torture al Qaeda or Taliban captives could be exempt from prosecution under the president’s powers as commander in chief; (2) it’s not torture if the interrogator knows that his or her actions will cause severe pain and suffering but doesn’t specifically intend to cause severe pain and suffering; and (3) it’s not torture unless the level of physical pain inflicted is equivalent to that of “organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death.”
- All of the above.
…For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
- What are the features of the current King George’s tax policies?
- Taxes have been cut 12% for the very rich, 7% for the middle class, and 3% for the poor.
- The middle class and poor will lose more from government spending cuts than they gain from the tax cuts.
- According to former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill, when a new tax cut for the rich was proposed, Bush asked his advisers, “Didn’t we already give them a break at the top?” — though the president soon endorsed the cut — and when O’Neill warned that new tax cuts would be economically unsound, Vice President Dick Cheney told him: “We won the midterms [elections]. This is our due.”
- His administration gave a $10 billion homeland security contract to a subsidiary of Accenture, the former consulting arm of Arthur Anderson & Co. which moved to Bermuda to avoid paying U.S. taxes, and then the administration got the House of Representatives to reverse its ban on giving such contracts to offshore tax avoiders.
- All of the above.
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
- Which of the following are characteristics of justice under the current King George?
- He has transported people across the seas to the U.S.-occupied military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and to a host of detention facilities around the world, known and unknown, where people have not been tried or even charged with offenses, whether real or pretended.
- Of the more than 5,000 foreign nationals arrested in the United States since 9/11 in anti-terrorist “preventive detention,” only three have been charged with any terrorist crime; of these, two were acquitted and the third was convicted only after the main prosecution witness lied on the stand.
- According to information U.S. military intelligence officials gave to the Red Cross, 70-90% of the people imprisoned in Iraq were arrested in error.
- He has turned prisoners over to the custody of foreign governments — such as Canadian citizen Maher Arar who was arrested in the U.S., denied a lawyer, and sent to Syria for 10 months of torture. As one U.S. official explained, “We don’t kick the s[hit] out of them. We send them to other countries so they can kick the s[hit] out of them.”
- All of the above.
…He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
- How has the current King George plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, and destroyed our cities and people?
- He has leased an area for oil and natural gas drilling just 100 miles off the coast of Florida, endangering the state’s beaches, and has favored an energy bill that would empower the Secretary of the Interior to allow offshore drilling in areas currently subject to drilling moratoria.
- He has rejected the Kyoto Protocol which would address to some degree the problem of global warming, a major cause of coastal erosion.
- His administration is calling for deep cuts in the funding of housing vouchers for the poor and changes in the program that are “more sweeping and threatening to the low-income families and elderly and disabled people whom the program serves [than]… any proposal advanced by any prior Administration” since the voucher program was created under President Nixon. This would devastate low-income families and the cities in which they live.
- His plan to deal with pollution from coal-burning power plants will lead to 8,000 additional deaths per year compared to a competing plan, according to a study by the mainstream research firm, Abt Associates.
- All of the above.
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.
- How has the current King George, who once said “America must never outsource America’s national security,” used mercenaries, foreign and domestic?
- There are some 15,000-20,000 private “contract employees” in security roles in Iraq — mercenaries — making them the second largest military force in the country, after the U.S. armed forces, and making Iraq the biggest market ever for private military services.
- Among the tasks assigned by the U.S. to mercenaries has been the interrogation of Iraqi prisoners, which has led to the widespread use of torture, for which private contractors cannot easily be brought to justice. As one commentator noted, “This legal grey zone may well not be entirely accidental, of course. It means that private contractors can be used to do dirty work for the military or the CIA with plausible deniability and relative immunity.”
- Among the mercenaries recruited for service in Iraq have been former assassins for the apartheid regime in South Africa, veterans of the Chilean military under Pinochet and the Serbian military under Milosevic, the commander of a murderous military unit in Northern Ireland, arms smugglers, and coup plotters.
- Scholar Deborah Avant of George Washington University noted that because of private security firms, “leaders in Washington and other Western capitals now have the freedom to intervene abroad and pay little domestic political price. …’it’s certainly a factor that allows countries, including the United States, to do things when there simply isn’t widespread public support.’”
- All of the above.
…A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
- Which of the following acts show that the current King George is unfit to be the ruler of a free people?
- He has systematically deceived the American people to lead us into war and for other nefarious purposes.
- He has raised government secrecy to new heights, denying the people, the Congress, and the courts the ability to oversee the operations of the executive branch.
- According to Amnesty International, “The global security agenda promoted by the U.S. Administration is bankrupt of vision and bereft of principle. Violating rights at home, turning a blind eye to abuses abroad and using pre-emptive military force where and when it chooses has damaged justice and freedom, and made the world a more dangerous place.”
- He has attacked working people (for example, issuing regulations that would allow millions of workers to be deprived of overtime pay), women (appointing judges hostile to reproductive rights), gay men and lesbians (calling for an amendment banning same-sex marriage), and racial and ethnic minorities (opposing affirmative action).
- All of the above and much, much more.
Answers and Sources
“E. All of the above.” is the answer to each question.
- Gallup International Iraq Poll 2003, Jan. 2003 (zip file). In the US, 33% favored war without UN authorization and in no other country surveyed did more than 20% of the population favor unilateral war.
- Pew Global Attitudes Project, “A Year After Iraq War: Mistrust Of America In Europe Ever Higher, Muslim Anger Persists: A Nine-Country Survey,” Washington, DC: Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, 3/16/04 (pdf).
- “President unbowed by protests,” Seattle Times, 2/19/03, p. A1.
- State of the Union Address, Jan. 20, 2004.
- U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, “Voting Irregularities in Florida During the 2000 Presidential Election,” Washington, DC: June 2001.
- “Public Opinion in Iraq: First Poll Following Abu Ghraib Revelations, Baghdad, Basrah, Mosul, Hillah, Diwaniyah, Baqubah, 14-23 May 2004,” 6/15/04, p. 15; Joel Brinkley, “Ex-C.I.A. Aides Say Iraq Leader Helped Agency in 90′s Attacks,” New York Times (NYT), 6/9/04, p. A1. Washington likes to pretend that UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi chose Allawi, but, as Brahimi noted, U.S. proconsul Paul Bremer “is the dictator of Iraq.” Bremer “has the money. He has the signature. Nothing happens without his agreement in this country.” The Washington Post adds: “U.S. officials in Baghdad have denied that the occupation authority exerted pressure or sought to promote certain candidates over others. But Iraqis involved in the process said that Bremer and White House envoy Robert D. Blackwill backed Ayad Allawi for prime minister over other candidates because Allawi was regarded as more sympathetic to the Bush administration’s desire to maintain full U.S. control over troops in Iraq.” Rajiv Chandrasekaran, “Envoy Bowed to Pressure in Choosing Leaders,” Washington Post (WP), 6/3/04, p. A10.
- Christopher Marquis, “Bush Officials Met With Venezuelans Who Ousted Leader,” NYT, 4/16/02, p. A1. A Defense Department official summarized the U.S. role in the coup: “We were not discouraging people,” the official said. “We were sending informal, subtle signals that we don’t like this guy. We didn’t say, ‘No, don’t you dare,’ and we weren’t advocates saying, ‘Here’s some arms; we’ll help you overthrow this guy.’ We were not doing that.”
- Elisabeth Bumiller, “In Major Shift, Bush Endorses Sharon Plan and Backs Keeping Some Israeli Settlements,” NYT, 4/15/04, p. A6. Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry rushed to add his voice of endorsement to the Bush-Sharon announcement: Dana Milbank and Mike Allen, “Move Could Help Bush Among Jewish Voters,” WP, 4/15/04, p. A16.
- Matthew Bunn And Anthony Wier, Securing The Bomb: An Agenda For Action, Project On Managing The Atom, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, May 2004 (pdf).
- Farah Stockman, “State Dept. Doubles ’03 Terrorism Death Toll,” Boston Globe (BG), 6/23/04, p. A8; Audrey Kurth Cronin, Congressional Research Service, memorandum to the House Government Reform Committee, “Terrorist Attacks by Al Qaeda,” 3/31/04 (pdf).
- Douglas Jehl, “Tenet Says Dangers to U.S. Are at Least as Great as a Year Ago,” NYT, 2/25/04, p. A15.
- Steven Weinberg, “Can Missile Defense Work?,” New York Review of Books, 2/14/02, pp. 41-47; Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation In cooperation with the Center for Defense Information (CDI) and the Union of Concerned Scientists, Briefing Book on Ballistic Missile Defense, May 2004 (pdf); CDI, “On Eve Of Key Defense Authorization Vote, 31 Former Government Officials Call Missile Defense Deployment ‘Sham’,” 5/7/04.
- David Lamb, “When the Army Won’t Let Go; With stop-loss orders extending tours up to 18 months, GIs banking on going home grapple with heading back to combat in Iraq instead,” Los Angeles Times (LAT), 6/17/04, p. A20.
- Jonathan Weisman, “2006 Cuts in Domestic Spending on Table,” WP, 5/27/04, p. A1.
- Susan Milligan, “Military Recruiters Getting A Foot In Door Federal Education Bill Requires High Schools To Share Student Data,” BG, 11/21/02, p. A3. Some school systems have been resisting: see, e.g., Tamar Lewin, “Uncle Sam Wants Student Lists, and Schools Fret,” NYT, 1/29/04, p. B10; Fred Alvarez, “Veterans Group Fights Policy That Gives Student Data to Recruiters,” LAT, 4/18/04, p. B5.
- Dana Milbank, “Curtains Ordered for Media Coverage of Returning Coffins,” WP, 10/21/03, p. A23; Sheryl Gay Stolberg, “Senate Backs Ban on Photos of G.I. Coffins,” NYT, 6/22/04, p. A17.
- Human Rights Watch (HRW), “The United States and the International Criminal Court“; HRW, “United States Efforts to Undermine the International Criminal Court: Legal Analysis of Impunity Agreements,” Sept. 2002; HRW, “Bilateral Immunity Agreements,” 6/20/03 (pdf). Not all of the agreements are publicly announced; for the latest list of bilateral immunity agreements, see Coalition for the International Criminal Court, “Status Of US Bilateral Immunity Agreements (BIAs),” as of 6/15/04 (pdf).
- Coalition Provisional Authority Order Number 17 (Revised), “Status of the Coalition Provisional Authority, MNF – Iraq, Certain Missions and Personnel in Iraq, 6/27/04 (pdf).
- Human Rights Watch, “The Road to Abu Ghraib,” June 2004.
- Office of the Assistant Attorney General, Memorandum for Alberto R. Gonzalez, Counsel to the President, 8/1/02 (pdf); Working Group Report on Detainee Interrogations in the Global War on Terrorism, “Assessment of Legal, Historical, Policy, and Operational Considerations,” 3/6/03; HRW, “U.S.: Released Documents on Torture Not Sufficient,” 6/23/04.
- Citizens for Tax Justice, “Overall Tax Rates Have Flattened Sharply Under Bush,” 4/13/04 (pdf).
- William G. Gale, Peter R. Orszag, and Isaac Shapiro, “The Ultimate Burden of the Tax Cuts: Once the Tax Cuts are Paid For, Low- and Middle-Income Households Likely to Be Net Losers, on Average,” Center for Budget and Policy Priorities and Tax Policy Center (Urban Institute and Brookings Institution), 6/2/04.
- Ron Suskind, The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O’Neill, New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004, pp. 299, 291.
- “House Reverses Bar on Security Project for Accenture,” Wall Street Journal, 6/17/04, p. A6.
- Human Rights First, Ending Secret Detentions, New York: June 2004 (pdf).
- David Cole, “Outlaws on Torture,” The Nation, 6/28/04, p. 8.
- Frances Williams, “Most detainees in Iraq arrested by mistake, says Red Cross,” Financial Times, 5/11/04, p. 10.
- Christopher H. Pyle, “Torture by proxy: How immigration threw a traveler to the wolves,” San Francisco Chronicle (SFC), 1/4/04, p. D1. See also DeNeen L. Brown and Dana Priest, “Deported Terror Suspect Details Torture in Syria,” WP, 11/5/03, p. A1; the legal complaint filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights, Arar v. Ashcroft et al., 1/22/04; and William F. Schulz, et al., Letter to Department of Defense General Counsel Haynes, 11/17/03.
- League of Conservation Voters (LCV), “Unambiguous Facts: The Bush Record on Florida Offshore Drilling,” May 2004. LCV has been criticized by some (e.g., Factcheck.org), but see LCV, “Florida Drilling Ad: Script and Facts,” and letter from Mark P. Longabaugh to Brooks Jackson, FactCheck.org, Annenberg Public Policy Center, 5/27/04 (pdf).
- K. Zhang K., B.C. Douglas, and S.P. Leatherman, “Global Warming and Coastal Erosion,” Climatic Change, vol. 64, no. 1-2, May 2004, pp. 41-58; Andrew C. Revkin, “Bush’s Shift Could Doom Air Pact, Some Say,” NYT, 3/17/01, p, A7.
- Barbara Sard and Will Fischer, “Administration Seeks Deep Cuts in Housing Vouchers and Conversion of Program to a Block Grant,” revised 3/24/04, Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.
- Michael Janofsky, “Study Ranks Bush Plan to Cut Air Pollution as Weakest of 3,” NYT, 6/10/04, p. A16.
- (Bush quoted in Peter W. Singer, “Outsourcing the War,” Salon.com, 4/16/04.)
- Peter W. Singer, “Warriors for Hire in Iraq,” Salon.com, 4/15/04; Peter W. Singer, “Beyond the Law,” Guardian, 5/3/04; P.W. Singer, “A Privatized Military Industry Is Taking Over the Work of War,” BG, 10/19/03, p. L12.
- Peter W. Singer, “Beyond the Law,” Guardian, 5/3/04; Julian Borger, “The Danger of Market Forces,” Guardian Unlimited, 5/6/04.
- Julian Rademeyer, “Iraq victim was top-secret apartheid killer,” Sunday Times (South Africa), 4/18/04; Louis Nevaer, “Here Come the Death Squad Veterans,” Alternet, 6/16/04; Charles M. Sennott, “Security Firm’s $293m Deal Under Scrutiny,” BG, 6/22/04, p. A1; Jonathan Franklin, “US contractor recruits guards for Iraq in Chile,” Guardian, 3/5/04, p. 14; Antony Barnett, Solomon Hughes and Jason Burke, “Mercenaries in ‘coup plot’ guarded UK officials in Iraq,” Observer, 6/6/04, p. 12.
- Robert Collier, “Global security firms fill in as private armies,” SFC, 3/28/04, p. A1.
- See David Corn, The Lies of George Bush, Mastering the Politics of Deception, updated edition; U.S. House Of Representatives, Committee On Government Reform — Minority Staff, Special Investigations Division, Iraq On The Record: The Bush Administration’s Public Statements On Iraq. Prepared For Rep. Henry A. Waxman, 3/16/04 (pdf).
- Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, Assessing The New Normal: Liberty and Security for the Post-September 11 United States, New York: Sept. 2003, chapter 1: Open Government (pdf).
- Amnesty International, “Report 2004: War on global values — attacks by armed groups and governments fuel mistrust, fear and division,” press release, 5/26/2004.
- See Ross Eisenbrey, Testimony Before the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations, 5/4/04; NARAL Pro-Choice America, “The Real Judicial Selection Crisis: The Bush Administration’s Bid to Force an Anti-Choice Majority,” 5/1/02; “NARAL Pro-Choice America Releases New Study Detailing the Growing Threat to Right to Choose by Bush Judicial Nominees,” 5/9/03; the White House, “President calls for an amendment banning gay marriage,” 2/24/04; Citizens’ Commission On Civil Rights, “The Bush Administration v. Affirmative Action: Justice Department Drags Feet on Upholding Court Ruling,” Washington, DC: 12/9/03 (pdf); Leadership Conference On Civil Rights Education Fund, The Bush Administration Takes Aim: Civil Rights Under Attack, Washington, DC: April 2003 (pdf).
Stephen R. Shalom teaches political science at William Paterson University and writes for ZNet. He has recently published a textbook, Which Side Are You On?: An Introduction to Politics (Longman, 2003). He thanks Mary Jane Karp, Tom Engelhardt, Stephen Soldz, and Stan Karp.
For a printable, one-page (two-sided) version of this quiz, suitable for handing out, in PDF format, click here.
[This article first appeared on Tomdispatch.com, a weblog of the Nation Institute, which offers a steady flow of alternate sources, news, and opinion from Tom Engelhardt, long time editor in publishing and author of The End of Victory Culture and The Last Days of Publishing.]