This kind of observation is becoming popular:
Almost everyone I’ve ever spoken to in Hank Paulson’s old Treasury
Department agrees that without the immediate panic caused by the Lehman
default, the government would never have agreed to make the loans
needed to save A.I.G., a company it knew very little about. In effect,
the Lehman bankruptcy caused the government to panic, which in turn
caused it to save the firm it really had to save to prevent
catastrophe. In retrospect, if you had to choose one firm to throw
under the bus to save everyone else, you would choose Lehman.
Here is much more, by Joe Nocera.