Read the following paragraph, and imagine it being written by a member of the mainstream media (emphasis added throughout):
Ramadi is an irritating contradiction of almost everything the world thinks it knows about Iraq -- it is proof that the US military is more successful than the world wants to believe. Ramadi demonstrates that large parts of Iraq -- not just Anbar Province, but also many other rural areas along the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers -- are essentially pacified today. This is news the world doesn't hear: 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.
Shocking, yes? Probably written by The Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol or some other conservative columnist, right?
Well, such is not the case, for this truly amazing article was published by Germany's Der Spiegel Friday, which as Ray Drake pointed out to his readers on Monday, has consistently been a staunch opponent to the Iraq war and George W. Bush.
That's all changed now (grateful h/t Say Anything):
When describing Iraq, the word "peace" is seldom used. Truth be told, the Americans have restored order to many parts of the county.
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. Wherever the Americans went they were shot at from apartment buildings, three times with rockets and four times with rocket-propelled grenades. Sixteen remote-controlled bombs exploded along the neighborhood's streets, 14 homemade explosive devices were found and defused, snipers attacked the occupying troops twice and one hidden car bomb was found, ready for use. And so the story continued: throughout November, December, January and February.
Then came the surge:
By March, however, the number of incidents reported in Tameem had dropped to 43, including only four direct attacks with rifles and pistols and one rocket attack. There were no bombings, snipers, rocket-propelled grenades or car bombs. And the leaders of the region's 23 powerful clans were finally meeting with US commanders for "security conferences," while the imams from the city's mosques met with the military's chaplains.
The Iraqis in Ramadi, almost all Sunnis, had been worn down by chronic violence. Many had been victims of kidnappings or blackmail at the hands of mafia-like terrorist groups. They had finally come to the realization that, in the long run, the Americans were less of a threat and offered more hope than the fanatical holy warriors from Iraq and abroad.
Americans were less of a threat and offered more hope than the fanatical holy warriors from Iraq and abroad. Can you imagine any American journalist writing such words? Or these:
Families began sending their sons to join the new Iraqi police force and military and fathers ran for municipal offices. They began cooperating with US military officials, turning in bombers and revealing their weapons caches, all while going about their daily lives, running their businesses, working as contractors, shipping agents and garbage collectors. Teachers returned to their classrooms, doctors began treating patients again and store owners restocked their shelves. Iraqis were now building the barbed wire barriers around the city, constructed to force travelers through checkpoints. Iraqis even manned the checkpoints as the Americans -- the Iraqis' former enemies -- retreated to the background, watching over as the city made a fresh start.
Since June, Ramadi residents have only known the war from televison [sic]. Indeed, 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.
The reader is strongly encouraged to take the time to review all eight segments of this astounding report that really should be required reading for all American journalists and politicians who still question whether or not the surge is working.
Bravo, Der Spiegel. Bravo!