Current Events and the Psychology of Politics

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Jun 14th, 2011

Summary: May 2011 was the deadliest month for Afghan civilians since the war began shortly after the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, with 368 civilians killed and 593 wounded, according to a U.N. midyear civilian casualty report. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on June 14, 2010, Aubrey Immelman reported that in 1916 President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation establishing June 14 as Flag Day, and that President Harry Truman made it official in 1949 when he signed legislation designating June 14 of each year as National Flag Day.

May 31st, 2011

Summary: NATO says attacks on houses in Afghanistan will continue, after an alliance airstrike killed civilians and prompted harsh condemnation from President Hamid Karzai, who said the U.S.-led ISAF alliance risks becoming seen as “occupying force.” … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on May 31, 2010, Aubrey Immelman featured coverage of Memorial Day tributes by President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and major news services.

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.

Jan 31st, 2010

Summary: U.S. Special Forces working with Afghan commandos clashed with Afghan troops manning a snow-covered outpost and called in an airstrike, killing four Afghan soldiers, U.S. and Afghan officials said. Both sides called the clash a case of mistaken identity. Separately, an Afghan interpreter killed two U.S. service members at a combat outpost and U.S. soldiers shot and killed an Afghan imam when his car approached a convoy. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on January 31, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that Iraq imposed a nationwide security lockdown before key regional elections with blanket measures not seen since the deadliest years of the insurgency, underscoring the high stakes for Iraqi leaders desperate to portray stability after nearly six years of conflict prompted by the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Jan 7th, 2010

Summary: Thousands of Afghans shouting “Death to America!” protested the killings of children, the latest in a string of controversial cases in which international forces have been blamed for civilian deaths. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on January 7, 2009, Aubrey Immelman examined the latest lead in the kidnapping of Jacob Wetterling and provided links to reports on the Wetterling and Joshua Guimond missing person cases in St. Joseph and Collegeville, Minnesota.

Dec 23rd, 2008

Summary: The Army began an investigation after being prodded by Amanda Henderson, wife of Sgt. 1st Class Patrick Henderson, an Iraq combat veteran who spent the final months of his life as an Army recruiter before hanging himself with a dog chain in his backyard shed. In all, 15 of the Army’s 8,400 recruiters have committed suicide since 2003, with more than 540 of the Army’s half-million active-duty soldiers killing themselves.

Nov 8th, 2008

Summary: Iraqi officials, who see President-elect Obama’s views on the timing of a U.S. withdrawal as consonant with their own, appear to be leveraging his election to pressure the Bush administration to make last-minute concessions in negotiations to reach a status-of-forces agreement with the United States. … Iraqi and U.S. officials are concerned about a surge in “sticky bombs.” In Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai urged U.S. President-elect Barack Obama to stop the killing of civilians in coalition operations, which undermines popular support for the Afghan government and the international mission.

Summary: Saying airstrikes cannot win the fight against terrorism, Afghan President Hamid Karzai congratulated Barack Obama on his election as president of the United States and called on him to halt civilian casualties after U.S. warplanes bombed a wedding party, killing 37, mostly children.

Oct 16th, 2008

Summary: On the 37th day after losing his 2008 primary challenge against U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, Aubrey Immelman reported on the murder of a U.S. soldier by an Afghan policeman and sectarian divisions that threaten stability in Iraq.