Historical consistency has never been a strong point for SPIEGEL magazine or SPIEGEL ONLINE - but this is shocking:
"The US military is more successful in Iraq than the world wants to believe."
This all stems from last week's Der SPIEGEL magazine cover feature article by Ullrich Fichtner: An enormous, fascinating and remarkably honest report on the complex situation in Iraq. (The first link above in bolded-italics leads to the English translation of that report.) SPIEGEL ONLINE is also publishing Fichtner's report that US troops are in a remarkably good mood and have high morale. That also flies directly in the face of past SPIEGEL reporting that consistently depicted US troops as demoralized, depressed, defeated, prone to suicide and suffering from low morale.
As a long-time observer of the publication, my first reaction to reading this on SPIEGEL ONLINE was: Are they on drugs?! - this directly contradicts everything they've reported for the past four years! My second reaction was: Have they finally gotten off the drugs?! Maybe reality is finally starting to sink in!
Keep in mind that less than a year ago, Der SPIEGEL published a magazine cover (depicted below) declaring Iraq a "Lost War".
Is this abrupt about-face cynical hedging - or a genuine (and extremely sudden) change of heart? We would speculate that SPIEGEL editors have finally reached the realization that the version of reality they have painstakingly crafted for the German public since the conflict began - one of failure, disaster, debacle and quagmire for the Americans in Iraq - is no longer tenable when compared to the facts on the ground and will ultimately collapse on their heads like a flimsy house of cards. But with many American Democrats still in full irrational disaster-mode on Iraq (despite obvious recent improvement with the surge) this seems a somewhat unusual and perhaps premature move. Only time will tell...
This much we can say: For once - SPIEGEL has truly done something unpredictable in terms of its USA and Iraq coverage.
UPDATE: Victor Davis Hanson offers outstanding analysis that may - at least in part - explain what is going on at SPIEGEL. Excerpt:
"Yet the universal human desire to be associated in the here and now with the assumed winning side — and to shun perceived defeat — trumps them all. Throughout this war, that natural urge explains most of the volatile and shifting views of our politicians, pundits and media as they scramble to readjust to the up-and-down daily news from Iraq.
And so it is with the latest positioning about the surge that to a variety of observers seems successful — at least for now."