The Newest Season of The Fear Factor: Bush Pulls Osama Bin Laden From Mothballs to Terrorize Us Again

He's baaaaccck; not just Bush (who must be due for his annual 6 week summer vacation which should never be confused with the approximately 22 weeks of other vacations he takes each year) but his favorite convenient bogeyman, Osama bin Forgotten; the same one Bush can never decide whether he is the worst threat EVER or "completely unimportant so we don't need to bother to even pretend to catch him anymore". Writes Dan Froomkin in the Washington Post today:

Nearly six years after President Bush pledged to capture him "dead or alive," Osama bin Laden is not only still at large, but he and his al-Qaeda organization have apparently benefited greatly from Bush's decision to invade Iraq.

That's not just me saying so. It's the inevitable conclusion from the declassified summary of a White House intelligence report released to great fanfare yesterday.

It turns out that bin Laden and his al-Qaeda leadership are safely ensconced in Pakistan. They're still trying to attack us. And the U.S. occupation of Iraq has provided them with a potent rallying cry, recruiting tool and training ground they would not have had otherwise.

The White House has time and again used the specter of al-Qaeda to cow Capitol Hill into doing its bidding. Similarly, Bush and his aides have lately gone to great lengths to conflate the multifaceted insurgency in Iraq with al-Qaeda. After all, when it's Bush vs. al-Qaeda, how many Americans will side with al-Qaeda?

The report's release shot al-Qaeda back into the headlines. But this time, the al-Qaeda stories have a potentially devastating twist for the administration: As it turns out, Bush's policies may have helped bin Laden more than they've hurt him.

Gee, really?

Actually, I suspect that bin Laden and Bush are tied together not just at the hip, and not just at the wallet. Bush needs him as much as Osama needs Bush. What scares me most, however, is that I think their interests may be far more chummy - as profitable for each other as they are devastating to the rest of us - than we can yet even begin to conceive.