Whether the Osama and Saddam thesis was more the result of self-delusion or cynical manipulation, it - along with Washington's mismanagement of the whole Iraqi adventure - has been enormously damaging.
The Bush administration has misled the American people. It has isolated the US, as American diplomats and commanders pointed out this week. And its bungling in Iraq has given new and terrifying life to the cult of death sponsored by Osama bin Laden. Above all, it inspires little confidence it is capable of defeating the spreading al-Qaeda franchise, which always was the clear and present danger.
One of the interesting aspects of the 9/11 report was that Usama believed a successful strike would help al Qaeda recruit members and facilitate his desire to take control of Saudi Arabia.
So far, he looks prescient. I don't think he's so smart, the problem is we're pretty stupid.
So now the FT has given up on GWB. Next the Economist? But not the WSJ.