Current Events and the Psychology of Politics

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Summary: Heavy street fighting between militants and security forces in the Afghan capital of Kabul raged for 18 hours in what the Taliban, who claimed responsibility for the attacks, called the start of its Spring Offensive and retaliation for the burning of Qurans at a NATO base in February 2012, the murders of 17 Afghans allegedly by Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales in March 2012, and videos that surfaced in January 2012 apparently showing U.S. Marines urinating on dead Taliban fighters.

Jun 28th, 2011

Summary: Taliban attackers armed with machine guns, anti-aircraft weapons, rocket-propelled grenades, hand grenades, and grenade launchers stormed the heavily guarded Inter-Continental Hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan, before NATO helicopters killed the remaining insurgents in a final rooftop battle that ended a siege lasting more than five hours. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on June 28, 2010, Aubrey Immelman reported that an independent report by the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction found that the U.S. had often overestimated the ability of Afghan military and police units to fight on their own, calling into question the strategy to win the war and bring troops home.

Apr 16th, 2011

Summary: Afghanistan’s fighting season will begin in full force by the end of April — and with it, a chance to measure the success of NATO’s efforts to turn back the Taliban. The extent to which the Taliban return to the fight will also help determine whether the surge of more than 30,000 additional U.S. troops that President Obama announced in December 2009 succeeded in arresting the insurgency. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on April 16, 2010, Aubrey Immelman reported a New York Times/CBS News poll that found the 18 percent of Americans who identified themselves as Tea Party supporters were wealthier and more well-educated than the general public and tended to be Republican, white, male, and married.