Apparently, the Life Magazine articles from 1946 were for real. In addition, I've discovered a couple of others.
From the Saturday Evening Post, January 26, 1946, "How We Botched the German Occupation". The article states "No wonder so many Americans are asking, 'What are we doing in Germany?'"
The 1947 issue of Foreign Affairs, "Alternatives for Germany" states "The defeat of Nazism has removed one of the obstacles to the democratization of Germany; but it has not created a democratic Germany. Nor is there much basis for the belief that democracy will develop in Germany under present conditions of defeat, hunger, idleness and despair."
It's striking how familiar these articles seem. It's almost as if today's journalists just looked up these articles and rewrote them for the Iraq occupation. Perhaps things really are going badly in Iraq, but, as with Germany, I don't think we'll really know for quite a few years or even decades.