VETERANS FOR PEACE OCCUPY NATIONAL ARCHIVES BUILDING
by Mike Ferner
“Arresting Bush and Cheney for war crimes will honor our oath to the Constitution,” vets say.
On Tuesday morning, September 23, 7:30am, at the front of the National Archives Building on Constitution Ave. in Washington, D.C., five military veterans will risk arrest as they climb a 9-foot retaining fence and occupy a 35-foot high ledge to raise a 22x8 foot banner stating, “DEFEND OUR CONSTITUTION. ARREST BUSH AND CHENEY: WAR CRIMINALS!”
The group has declared its intention to stay on the ledge, fasting for 24 hours “in remembrance of those who have perished and those still suffering from the crimes of the Bush administration,” according to a written statement. With a portable PA system, they will broadcast recorded statements from prominent Americans for the impeachment and/or arrest of George W. Bush and Richard Cheney. “Citizens Arrest Warrants” will be distributed to people waiting in line to enter the National Archives.
The veterans emphasized they are taking this action because “Bush and Cheney’s serial abuse of the Law of the Land clearly marks them as domestic enemies of the Constitution…they have illegally invaded and occupied Iraq, deliberately destroyed civilian infrastructure, authorized torture, and unlawfully detained prisoners. These actions clearly mark them as war criminals…accountability extends beyond impeachment to prosecution for war crimes even after their terms of office expire.”
“We take this action as a last resort,” their statement added. “For years we have pursued every avenue open to good, vigilant citizens to bring these men to justice, to re-establish the rule of law, and to restore the balance of power described in our Constitution. We are not disturbing the peace; we are attempting to restore the peace. We are not conducting ourselves in a disorderly manner; our action is well-ordered and well-considered. We are not trespassing; we have come to the home of our Constitution to honor our oath to defend it.”
Those participating are all members of Veterans For Peace and include Elliott Adams: 61, NY, VFP President and former Army paratrooper in Viet Nam; Ellen Barfield: 52, MD, former U.S. Army Sgt., full-time peace and justice advocate; Kim Carlyle: 61, NC, mountain homesteader, former Army Spec 5, 828-626-2572; Diane Wilson: 59, TX, shrimp boat captain, former Army medic, 361-785-4680; Doug Zachary: 58, TX, VFP staff, former USMC LCpl discharged as a conscientious objector, 512-791-9824; and Tarak Kauff (ground support) 67, NY, painting contractor, former U.S. Army Airborne.
Founded in 1985, VFP has 120 chapters throughout the country and has actively protested the Afghanistan and Iraq wars since their inception. Membership includes men and women veterans of all eras and duty stations spanning the Spanish Civil War, WWII, Korea, Vietnam and Iraq. VFP is an official Non Governmental Organization (NGO) represented at the UN.
“May the innocent find peace; may the dead find grace; may the wounded find healing; may the homeless find shelter; may America find forgiveness; and may justice find the guilty.” - Veterans For Peace Ch. 39