I probably wasn't too clear. I was just pointing out some parallels, and outside of those I do not think they are the same. There are definitely some links, and if anything I would say I am not as hard on the AS as I should of been. As the saying goes with great power comes great responsibility, and the AS for the most part have squandered theirs.
The AS were born in a time of fear and uncertainty. They gathered together for both power and to manipulate events. They believe that if others can channel then they MUST be part of the AS; ie they want a pure monopoly on the ability to channel. The entire culture is layered with rituals and rules that are present simply because that is how it is always done. The group is layered in secrets and rumors that are hidden from both the public and other AS, in the guise of making AS appear all powerful to both new AS and the general population. Lastly for all of their power they have not done much to make the general population trust or like them.
There is a massive problem with the AS due of its formation, and the fact that AS do not like changing old customs. Since AS live a long time it means that all of the AS customs and basis is set on a period of time where the world was in shambles and scared (even AS). For example making sure the Amryial seat isn't a male makes a lot of sense in the time of the breaking, but makes less sense in a period where there has been no male channelers for over a thousand years. Likewise not going out into Randland to look for new pupils would of made sense in a period when being outside was extremely dangerous even for AS, however it makes no sense in the current Randland, where it is relatively peaceful. As its mentioned, they only train those that seek them out because that is how it has always been done; they are too blind to even consider if there was a reason why the original AS didn't go out looking for new charges (Small note the original AS in the AoL were more like the Aiel and got every single person that could channel - note that both the windfinders and Aiel get all of thier channelers). When an organization does not update with the times and the members live longer than normal lives where a single generation can create a massive history you can run into problems. This imo is part of the problem. The second generation of AS joined after there was already a hudred+ years of history, and from then on many of the AS customs were set in stone by a single group of women that were still scared from the breaking.
The AS is not an organization that allows for much free thought. You are one of five ajahs, and you aren't allowed to leave until the AS are done with you. In the past there were many more Ajahs, but the stronger ajahs basically removed them, and no new ajahs are allowed to be formed. So right off the bat as a new AS you would be pigeonholed into a specific group and if you don't agree with what your ajah does then tough. Inside the isolation of the White tower I'm sure the five ajahs seems like a great idea, because it allows those with more power in the source control a larger range of people into doing what they see is right. By basing their organization mostly by strength in the power they have cultivated an enviroment that is rather rigid and stagnant in development and growth. This is why Morraine basically leaves the tower as fast as possible, so that the blue ajah can not force her to become the Queen. The older and stronger AS manipulate and strong arm other AS into doing what they want, and by the time the newer AS reach their potential they are so used to manipulation being done to them, that they turn around and do it to others. Which of course is part of why the AS see nothing wrong with manipulating non channelers and expecting to get their way when they make suggestions.
This of course becomes a much larger issue when you remember that the AS believe that all channelers should be part of the tower. There is a huge emphasis on control and manipulation with the White Tower, and they do not like competition. This is why it is natural that many of the AS believe they should be in control of the dragon and manipulate him to their ends. It would be a horror if the Windfinders and Aiel never existed, and the fate of Randland likely would of been sealed. Not only because of the number of channelers the two groups have, but because of their different insists and how they interact with the population. In those two groups you have sections of population that both trust their channelers, and aren't restricted to rules formed by women during the breaking or with the intention to control and manipulate events.
Lastly they have completely miss-managed their image. They have infact completely segregated themselves from the rest of the world and for the most part, and have a very narrow view of the world. Not only has their actions made the general public mistrust them, but they have a misguided idea of their own history. They hide all of the possible blunders and mistakes of the AS and WT to make themselves seem infallable to others, but the net result is a bunch of AS that feel they can never do wrong because that is what the altered history tells them. When people think they can never do wrong because that is what they were lead to believe and those same people are manipulating other governments there are going to be massive mistakes. As a few of the PoVs have shown their have been people, towns, and entire kingdoms destroyed because of schemes a AS had planted that didn't even pan out.
I realise that the AS have spent the last few thousand years trying to prepare Randland for the last battle, but because of their structure and arrogance, they are going to mean little to the overall success. In the end they will be there to help fight, but all of their manipulations and attempts at control will in the end result in only allowing Rand to be born, by sending his mother into the waste. The fact that Elida staged a coup detat so close to the last battle shows just how bad the AS as a whole messed up with their attempt to save Randland from the last battle. AS I'm sure still think they are going to be the spearhead that stops the DO, but the truth is the major elements that will stop the DO will be the other portions of the population that were ignored by the AS, because they were too busy trying to manipulate events and gain power.
If anything this makes the AS even worse. For thousands of years the AS have been preparing for the last battle, and as soon as it is close the organization goes into a complete disarray. As the AS stands not only have they not helped during the events directly before the last battle, but they are in are close to being a hinderance during the last battle. They have completely missmanaged and dropped the perverbial ball. Thankfully the series has shown a lot of other groups and individuals that will be stepping forward to fill in the massive gaps that the AS have made for themselves. Keep in mind that the actions of Elayne and Nyv should not be seen as actions of AS; as they are not indoctrined into the AS philosophy. As the story goes on Egwene's actions can be seen as those of an AS, and imo she is picking up many of the bad traits of the AS from Suian that would of been better left alone.
Now there are a few AS that do not follow the mold and have done important and good things; such as Morraine, Cadsuanne, Verrin, Nyv, and Elyane (Small note Egwene has brought a breath of fresh air to the AS with the new ideas she is bringing, however she has also developed the manipulative nature too much for my tastes, and sees Rand as someone she needs to control, as well as having the idea that all the other channelers should be part of the White Tower, which of course she is in charge of). But the overall structure of the AS is flawed in its intended goal to safeguard Randland.
Ironically there are more well adjusted wise ones because they actually serve their people, and interact with them daily. They have not secluded themselves from the world like the AS. RJ did make an awful lot of AS with inflated egos, but I think that was mainly due to the structure of the WT.
I would say that is one of the failings of the AS. They want to be the single point of power in the land, with no rivals. They don't want the land of course, but they do not want other channelers with the ability to weild the same powers, or for others to be able to manipulate events like they do.
Luckily they did not do a good job and the Aiel are still present, and even with all their faults so are the seachan (I do not agree with how the seachann operate, however they do have a solid and stable military force in Randland at a time when it is needed, unlike the AS that are scattered and split). Or do you think it would be better if all Aiel channelers were AS?
I do agree that one of their major issues is believing their propaganda, but that is imo a fuction of how the AS system is set up and was inevitable.