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UPDATED: Spiegel's Upbeat Assessment of the Surge

Der Spiegel is usually very critical of the United States and sometimes even Anti-American. The latest edition of this German weekly, however, features an "unexpectedly upbeat assessment of the current surge strategy in Iraq," writes Ulf Gartzke in the Weekly Standard Blog.
Gartzke concludes that Europe might contribute more to US-led efforts Iraq:
If things in Iraq are beginning to move in the right direction, and if General Petraeus’ update report in September is positive as well, European governments could have more domestic political leeway to provide additional political, economic, and police/military training support for Iraq’s stabilization and reconstruction. For far too long, European public opinion has viewed the Iraq war as a lost-cause--a quagmire caused by an unwarranted unilateral U.S. military invasion--that is now essentially Bush’s problem to solve. In the coming months we will see whether improving conditions on the ground in Iraq can also improve public perceptions outside of Iraq, not only in Europe but also in the United States.
Related Atlantic Review post from November 2006: German President Koehler Calls for more European Help to Stabilise Iraq

Editorial Note: This is the 600th post in the Atlantic Review. We forgot to celebrate the 500th. We got a wait till we reach one thousand. :-)

UPDATE: Our reader Don informed us that Spiegel has now published an English version of this article.


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RayD on :

@ Joerg, I also found this unusual - and a bit contradictory. After all, SPIEGEL ran a cover (41/2006) less than a year ago with the headline: "Power and Lies: George W. Bush and the Lost War in Iraq."!?issue=41&year=2006 I am confused - is the war lost or not? Has SPIEGEL suddenly changed its mind and decided to rewrite history?

Joerg - Atlantic Review on :

Spiegel could have changed its opinion. Similarly to Michael O'Hanlan and Kenneth Pollack who wrote an optimistic report in the Wash Post two weeks ago, after a lot of criticism before. I think, it is more likely that Spiegel just wants to surprise its readers every so often. Therefore Malzahn and Broder write their pro-US pieces once in a while. Spiegel writes whatever sells.

Don S on :

"Spiegel writes whatever sells." And Medienkritik's infamous 'splash page' of Spiegel covers is what 'sells', Joerg?!!!! Hmmmmm......

Joerg - Atlantic Review on :

Yes, the Spiegel covers 'sell' in Germany. And the overblown Medienkritik criticism of those covers 'sells' in the US. (I agree with most of Medienkritik's criticsm of Spiegel, but sometimes they read too much into it. And many Americans, who comment on Medienkritik, seem to believe that Spiegel is the only news source in socialist Germany.)

Don S on :

So it's der Speigel (and the lion's share of the German media) in one corner - and RayD in the other. Sounds fair and balanced to me, you also? ;) How many millions do you suppose Speigel and company sell. Compare that to Medienkritik's 'sales' in the US. Hardly equivalent.....

Joerg - Atlantic Review on :

Sorry, I did not mean to treat them as equals. Besides, DMK does what it does because they believe in and without any profit consideration, while Spiegel does it for profit.

Pat Patterson on :

I didn't know that Germany taught New Math, but congratulations nonetheless!

Zyme on :

There is another article at SPON today that shows the development in its early stages which I pointed out here recently: The more the democrats turn towards Bush´s policy, the more the german media here will try to present both parties as "essentially the same". Just look at the creation "So klingt der neue Hoffnungsträger der Demokraten, gestatten: Barack Bush-Obama." :D "Der sofortiger Abzug aus Bagdad? 92 Prozent der Amerikaner sagen nein. Die Schließung des Sondergefängnisses in Guantanamo Bay? Eine Mehrheit der Amerikaner lehnt ab. Der schwerste Vorwurf, den die Wähler derzeit an Bush adressieren ist der, dass er Osama Bin Laden "nicht aggressiv genug verfolgt hat"." "So treten in diesen frühen Wahlkampfwochen zwei Kriegsparteien vor das Publikum, die sich in den Disziplinen Schlitzohrigkeit und Rauflust duellieren." "Die Mehrzahl der Amerikaner, daran besteht auch im fünften Jahr nach dem Anschlag auf das World Trade Center kein Zweifel, ist eben keineswegs kriegsmüde. Sie will nicht den Krieg, nur die Erfolglosigkeit beenden." Ahh, I love it. Joerg, somehow I believe this isn´t exactly what you meant when saying that germans should get a more balanced picture of both american major parties, huh? ;) Last but not least: "Das genau unterscheidet Europäer und Amerikaner: Die Nationen auf dem alten Kontinent setzen - nach den Verwüstungen zweier Weltkriege - auf die Kraft der Diplomatie. Die Amerikaner setzen auf die Macht, auch in ihrem rohen Zustand, weshalb der US-Militärapparat alle anderen Nationen überragt.",1518,499437,00.html

Don S on :

An english version of the article is found here:,1518,499154,00.html It is a study of what is occuring in Ramadi - or rather what is not occuring. Remember 'Bloody' Ramadi? Some quotes: "In October, 90 "incidents" were reported in Tameem, an area no larger than a few city blocks in Berlin. Twenty of those incidents involved attacks on US troops by gangs of insurgents." "US military officials at the Baghdad headquarters of Operation Iraqi Freedom often have trouble believing their eyes when they read the reports coming in from their units in Ramadi these days. Exploded car bombs: zero. Detonated roadside bombs: zero. Rocket fire: zero. Grenade fire: zero. Shots from rifles and pistols: zero. Weapons caches discovered: dozens. Terrorists arrested: many." "Ramadi, long a hotbed of unrest, a city that once formed the southwestern tip of the notorious "Sunni Triangle," is now telling a different story, a story of Americans who came here as liberators, became hated occupiers and are now the protectors of Iraqi reconstruction." The story is amazing, and the fact that it is being reported in der Speigel borders on miraculous....

JW on :

Thanks, Don. I have posted your link as an update.

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