Current Events and the Psychology of Politics

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Summary: With about 500 fatalities, 2010 was the deadliest year yet for U.S. troops in the nine-year Afghanistan war, far exceeding the 300 casualties in 2009. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on January 1, 2010, Aubrey Immelman reported that U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan doubled in 2009 compared with the previous year, while U.S. deaths in Iraq dropped by half as troops largely remained on bases and the United States started preparing to withdraw from that country by the end of 2011.

Summary: The 101st Airborne Division is seeing its worst casualties in a decade as the U.S. surge in Afghanistan turns 2010 into the deadliest year of the war for the NATO coalition. Meanwhile, twin suicide bombings rocked a government compound in Iraq’s western city of Ramadi, killing 17 people and wounding more than 50. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on December 27, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that Pat Forte fought back courageously after suffering a setback around Easter 2009 with a relapse of thymic carcinoid, sustained by his strong Christian faith, the prayers and support of friends, and excellent medical care at the University of Minnesota Masonic Cancer Center.

Summary: U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, on a visit to Camp Nathan Smith, headquarters for U.S. operations in Kandahar, Afghanistan, told troops of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, that the likelihood of direct U.S. military engagement in Pakistan is very low but that “unfortunately, there are going to be more tough days ahead” in Afghanistan. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on September 3, 2009, on the same day that Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the Obama administration’s effort in the eight-year-old Afghanistan war was “only now beginning,” Aubrey Immelman reported that former U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) — my choice for successor to Secretary Gates — published an op-ed article in the Washington Post in which he cautioned, “No country today has the power to impose its will and values on other nations. … Bogging down large armies in historically complex, dangerous areas ends in disaster.”