Current Events and the Psychology of Politics

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Dec 10th, 2009

Summary: Finding Bin Laden: Here’s what we know about Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts, based on information from U.S. intelligence sources; analysis by NBC News senior investigative producer Robert Windrem. … Personality profiles of Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri by Aubrey Immelman, Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on December 10, 2008, Aubrey Immelman reported that Thomas Fingar, Bush administration deputy director of national intelligence for analysis, had suggested the Iraq war was as much the failure of policymakers as the product of the flawed intelligence on which they relied. Fingar’s assessment reveals that decision-making on Iraq was marred by a strong sense of time pressure, a tendency among decision makers to seek concurrence on Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction, and a directive leadership style in the White House — all of which are well-established causes of groupthink. Furthermore, according to the Gayle Report, the Department of Defense knew before the start of the Iraq war in 2003 of the threats of mines and roadside bombs in Iraq but did nothing to acquire Mine Resistant Ambush-Protected (MRAP) vehicles ahead of the invasion — a level of overconfidence symptomatic of groupthink.