Psychology, Politics, and National Security
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Archive for February, 2010


Summary: In a stinging editorial, The Fargo-Moorhead Forum editorial board writes, “If nothing else, Michele Bachmann is darned entertaining. In her role as Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District member of the U.S. House of Representatives, the conservative Republican has become the darling of the Tea Party set and a stir-em-up attraction at Republican rallies, although describing her as ‘conservative’ doesn’t do her justice.” … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on February 18, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that the number of Afghan civilians killed in armed conflict surged to a record 2,118 in 2008 as the Afghanistan war turned increasingly bloody. Insurgents were responsible for 55 percent of the deaths, but U.S., NATO, and Afghan forces killed 39 percent, the report said. Of the 829 deaths by the coalition forces, 552 were blamed on airstrikes.


Feb 17th, 2010

Summary: The Taliban’s top military commander has been captured in Karachi, Pakistan, in a secret joint operation by Pakistani and American intelligence forces. The commander, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, is an Afghan described by American officials as the most significant Taliban figure to be detained since the American-led war in Afghanistan started more than eight years ago. He ranks second in influence only to Mullah Muhammad Omar, the Taliban’s founder and a close associate of Osama bin Laden before the Sept. 11 attacks. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on February 17, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that North Korea marked the 67th birthday of its leader, Kim Jong Il, by claiming it had the right to “space development” — a term it has used in the past to disguise a missile test as a satellite launch.


Feb 16th, 2010

Summary: Weekly report of U.S. military deaths in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), compiled from U.S. Department of Defense News Releases. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on February 16, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that historians ranked Abraham Lincoln the best U.S. president and James Buchanan the worst. Former President George W. Bush was ranked 36th out of the 42 men who had been chief executive by the end of 2008, according to a survey conducted by the cable TV channel C-SPAN.


Feb 15th, 2010

Summary: The incendiary rhetoric of demagogues like Glenn Beck or Michele Bachmann is powerful because it slips through the cracks in our acculturated human rationality, with its biological substrates in the fontal cortex, to hit a lower nerve in the subcortical brain regions of the limbic system, the seat of emotion. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on February 15, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that federal authorities examining the early, chaotic days of the $125 billion American-led effort to rebuild Iraq had significantly broadened their inquiry to include senior American military officers who oversaw the program.


Feb 14th, 2010

Summary: Vice President Joe Biden belittled Dick Cheney’s criticism of the Obama administration’s commitment to fighting terrorism as either “misinformed” or “misinforming,” saying the Iraq war wasn’t worth it because of “the horrible price” paid. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on February 14, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that a female suicide bomber struck a tent filled with women and children resting during a pilgrimage south of Baghdad, killing 40 people and wounding about 80 in the deadliest of three straight days of attacks against Shiite worshippers.


Feb 13th, 2010

Summary: Bombs and booby traps slowed the advance of thousands of U.S. Marines and Afghan soldiers moving through the Taliban-controlled town of Marjah — NATO’s most ambitious effort yet to break the militants’ grip over their southern Afghanistan heartland. NATO said two of its troops were killed on the first day of the operation — one American and one Briton. Afghan authorities said at least 20 insurgents were killed. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on February 13, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair told a Senate panel that if the economic crisis lasted more than two years, it could cause serious damage to U.S. strategic and national security interests. “The longer it takes for the recovery to begin, the greater the likelihood of serious damage to U.S. strategic interests,” he told the Senate Intelligence Committee, as Congress prepared to vote on a $789 billion stimulus package.


Feb 12th, 2010

Summary: More than two-thirds of the United States’ land mass had snow on the ground today, with snow cover in 49 of the 50 states — Hawaii being the lone exception. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on February 12, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that in Afghanistan, Taliban militants killed 20 people in a coordinated attack on three government buildings in Kabul, while in Iraq, 16 people were killed and 45 wounded when twin car bombs exploded at a bus terminal and market area in southwestern Baghdad.


Feb 11th, 2010

Summary: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is claiming that Iran has produced its first batch of uranium enriched to a higher level of 20 percent, saying his country will not be bullied by the West into curtailing its nuclear program a day after the U.S. imposed new sanctions. … Psychological evaluation of Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, with personality profile and threat assessment, by Aubrey Immelman of the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on February 11, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that a U.S. spy satellite had captured an image of preparations at a North Korean missile site previously used for Taepodong-2 missile launch operations and that 19 people were killed in Taliban suicide attacks on Afghan government sites in Kabul.


Feb 10th, 2010

Summary: U.S. Marines fired smoke rounds and armored vehicles maneuvered close to Taliban positions to test insurgent defenses ahead of an anticipated attack on Marjah, the biggest militant-controlled town in southern Afghanistan. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on February 10, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported a new poll showing plummeting support among the Afghan people for the Kabul government and U.S. and European troops trying to bolster it against the Taliban insurgency.


Feb 9th, 2010

Summary: Weekly report of U.S. military deaths in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), compiled from U.S. Department of Defense News Releases. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on February 9, 2009, Aubrey Immelman featured live streaming video of the trial to decide the winner of the Coleman-Franken contest for U.S. Senate, courtesy of The UpTake.