George Bush has more often gone to the people to ask them to forget about democracy, judicial process and balance of powers and just trust him.

Spying: After 9/11, Bush authorised the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on the conversations and e-mail of Americans without a warrant. Lawmakers have raised doubts about the programme’s legality.

Prison camps: Military authorities reportedly had taken to tying up and force-feeding the prisoners who had gone on hunger strikes at Guantánamo Bay seeking justice. This is a lingering outrage that has undermined American credibility.

Iraq war: One of Bush’s biggest “trust me” moments was when he told Americans that the US had to invade Iraq because it possessed dangerous weapons. Foreign Affairs edition includes an article by the ex-incharge of Iraq intelligence, Paul Pillar, who said the US cherry-picked intelligence to support a decision to invade that had already been made. Pillar said, initially Bush never asked for an assessment.

When the administration did ask for it, Pillar led the effort, which concluded that Iraq was on the brink of disaster. Officials leaked his authorship to the media. Spin-as-usual is one thing. Striking at the civil liberties, due process and balance of powers that are the heart of US democracy is another. —