That challenge is especially great when, as with America 's present rulers, those others are consistently dishonest with us about who they are and where they 're coming from. The world they inhabit, and the world they pretend to inhabit, are at such odds that, in seeking to understand them, we are compelled to be like detectives looking for the pattern in the clues that will disclose the hidden truth.
In this first of a three-part series, we will look at one such pattern --a pattern that could be called "The Rejection of all Restraint. "
It did not take long for the Bushites to show their disdain for international order. Even this, though, emerged as a pattern piece by piece. The World Court --rejected. A treaty to better monitor the flows of money --rejected. The ABM treaty --abrogated. The Kyoto Treaty --contemptuously scuttled.
And now, this country 's Ambassador to the United Nations is a man whose pronouncements have denigrated the whole concept of an international order to constrain the actions of its members by mutually-agreed rules. Why have such rules, his position seems to be --at least so long as the United States has the unchallengeable power to act however it wishes?
Our present ruling group has shown consistent hostility, too, to the system of environmental regulation that would govern how industrial corporations may act on American soil, and on this planet --in the pursuit of their private profits. Across the board, our governing powers have worked to weaken the restrictions enacted in the United States over the past generation --Clean Air Act, Endangered Species Act, occupational safety regulations, etc.
Most dramatically, perhaps, in the crucial area of climate change they have made the United States an environmental pariah. Besides utterly rejecting the Kyoto Treaty and failing to offer anything in its place, they 've scoffed at the very idea of a national effort to conserve energy. This despite the evidence from other countries that America could make huge improvements in the efficiency of our energy use, without sacrificing our economic vitality, and despite the ever-growing scientific evidence that global warming is already under way with possibly severe consequences for future generations.
Then there is the pattern of their rejection of Constitutional restraints on their power. This has been particularly evident in the way they used the Patriot Act to institute broader police powers that infringe on personal privacy. It has been evident also in the way they 've tried to give the President essentially unchecked powers in the prosecution of suspected terrorists.
What is the pattern that emerges from all these clues? In each case, the Bushites have shown a hostility toward any order that would restrain their freedom of action.
That 's why so many of us were struck by the press conference held by the Special Prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald. His palpable love of good order seemed so strange in this Bushite era that for many it served as an inspiring reminder of an aspect of America that 's lately been dismantled before our eyes. One sensed that, though he might like to speak more freely about what he knows and what he suspects, he feels honored to bow before the rules that govern his office and the grand jury process because he understands their rightness and he loves the justice these rules protect.
(Contrast that with the evasiveness and equivocation of the president 's press secretary, Scott McClelland, whose failure to deal with entirely appropriate questions like, "How does the president 's saying 'We don 't torture ' fit together with his vice president 's seeking an exception to the McCain bill, and the president 's threat to veto it? ' --seems so transparently to me, "Answering such questions does not further our interests, so I 'll evade them. ")