Fred's right on in this Slate piece, much as I wish he weren't so damningly accurate with the luxury of hindsight. While I don't feel happy about the treatment the world has given the US, there is little doubt to me now that the PR angle of the attacks could not have been handled more ineptly by the administration...and that failure is an absolutely damning one. There's no reason that the US should not have been able to do everything it has done in the last two years and keep its allies on its side.
Andrew Sullivan disagrees, of course, and while I see his side of things, it's clear that a little sugar here would have gone far. But Bush is a non-sweetner kind of a guy.
I laugh at the French on a regular basis--hey, who doesn't?--but that doesn't preclude wanting them on your side in a fight.
After all, these guys invented the Maginot Line--they're bound to have more great ideas on defense any minute now.