Current Events and the Psychology of Politics

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Summary: Hundreds of Afghans marched through Kabul on the eve of the 10-year anniversary of the U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan to condemn the United States as occupiers and demand the immediate withdrawal of all foreign troops. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on October 8, 2010, Aubrey Immelman reported that the United States, continuing a surge in CIA-run, drone-fired attacks, conducted two missile strikes in the northwestern Pakistan tribal region along the Afghan border, killing nine suspected militants.

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.

Mar 7th, 2011

Summary: On a visit to Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Robert Gates has ruled out permanent American military bases in Afghanistan, though the U.S. is interested in maintaining a military presence in the former al-Qaida haven beyond the planned end of U.S. combat in three years. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on March 7, 2010, Aubrey Immelman reported that Adam Gadahn, the American-born English-language propagandist for al-Qaida, had been captured in Karachi, Pakistan. However, it was later revealed that this was a case of mistaken identity and that the man in custody was in fact Abu Yahya Majadin Adam.

Dec 2nd, 2010

Summary: The New York Times reports that confidential diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks offers a fresh sense of the pervasive nature of predatory corruption in Afghanistan, the overwhelming scale of the corruption, and the serious challenge it poses to American officials who have made shoring up support for the Afghan government a cornerstone of America’s counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan, where bribery, extortion, and embezzlement are the norm. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on December 2, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that President Barack Obama held an uncertain hand in his high-stakes gamble in the fight against Islamic extremism in Afghanistan and Pakistan, with weak partners in both countries, doubts about the speed of building up Afghan security forces, and allies reluctant to commit themselves wholeheartedly to the fight.

Nov 23rd, 2010

Summary: According to the Pentagon’s latest congressionally mandated 6-montly report, violence in Afghanistan reached an all-time high from April through September 2010 — up about 300 percent from 2007 — as Western troops battled an increasingly sophisticated insurgency. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on November 23, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that the St. Cloud Times, after leading the charge in Minnesota earlier in the year to set a new standard for calling Rep. Michele Bachmann out for her radical extremism, backslid into the longstanding pattern of Minnesota media to gloss over or simply fail to report the full extent of Bachmann’s political paranoia and extremism. To compensate for this failure, I posted the full text of Times Washington correspondent Larry Bivins’ softball Bachmann interview, annotated and supplemented with critical content missing from the Bivens fluff-piece.

Nov 21st, 2010

Summary: There are growing signs that the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan has worn out its welcome, with “foreigner fatigue” becoming increasingly apparent among the Afghan people. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on November 21, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that the United States government had spent $53 billion on reconstruction in Iraq since the 2003 invasion — building tens of thousands of hospitals, water treatment plants, electricity substations, schools, and bridges — but that there were growing concerns Iraq will not be able to adequately maintain the facilities once the Americans leave, potentially wasting hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.

Nov 17th, 2010

Summary: NATO may keep fighting in Afghanistan past its 2014 target date for shifting authority to Afghan forces, according to Mark Sedwill, the alliance’s top civilian in the country. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on November 17, 2009, Aubrey Immelman provided his weekly report of U.S. military deaths in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Oct 12th, 2010

Summary: Members of Afghanistan’s new peace council say releasing Taliban figures detained at Guantanamo Bay and scratching scores of others off the U.N. sanctions list would jump-start peace talks aimed at ending the 9-year-old war. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on October 12, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that Rep. Michele Bachmann told bloggers at an event in Washington: “Quite honestly I don’t even know anything about MSNBC.” To refresh Bachmann’s memory, MSNBC is the cable network on which she dishonored her office on October 17, 2008, when she called for McCarthy-like witch hunts to find out which members of Congress are “pro-America or anti-America.”

Oct 7th, 2010

Summary: Analysis on the 9th anniversary of the beginning of the U.S. war in Afghanistan on October 7, 2001. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on October 7, 2009, Aubrey Immelman provided news and analysis on the 9th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan to topple the Taliban, destroy al-Qaida, and kill or capture Osama bin Laden and other leaders of the terrorist organization.

Sep 2nd, 2010

Summary: About $155 million in deposits have been withdrawn from Afghanistan’s largest bank in just the last two days, spurring fresh concerns among U.S. and Afghan officials that a financial panic could spread through the country and derail the U.S. war effort. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on September 2, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, in a fiery speech at an Independence Institute fundraiser in Denver that at times sounded more like the plot of a slasher movie, railed against the dangers of health care reform and other Democratic initiatives, warning the proposals “have the strength to destroy this country forever” and calling on her audience to “make a covenant, to slit our wrists, be blood brothers on this thing.”