07/19/2007 09:45 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Finally, Bad News That Even Bush Can't Spin

If I were running for U.S. president, in every debate I'd crib a question from the Ronald Reagan playbook: Are you safer today than you were six years ago?

About 80 percent of Republicans would answer yes. But this week, the nation heard otherwise and from a source that might make even President George W. Bush's base sit up and take notice.

It didn't come from those "defeatist" Democrats living in their "pre-9/11 world." This time, it was Bush's own administration undercutting what has long been his most politically potent rationale for waging war in Iraq -- that we have to fight al-Qaeda over there to keep from having to fight them here; that we've put the "enemy on the run" and "decimated their leadership."

Not so fast. The latest National Intelligence Estimate concludes that al-Qaeda and its leader have only grown stronger since the inception of Bush's war.

While the president diverted the military to Iraq, the real terrorist threat in Afghanistan and Pakistan intensified. If he reads the estimate, he will weep for the more than 3,000 lives lost and billions of dollars spent in a war that's only heightened the hatred of Americans in the Islamic world and increased their desire to kill us -- here.

Read the rest of the column here.