Current Events and the Psychology of Politics

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Jun 10th, 2010

Summary: Islamic militants publicly hanged a 7-year-old boy for “spying” in the militant stronghold of Helmand province, an Afghan official told the Associated Press. The child was allegedly placed on trial by the Taliban and found guilty of working for Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s government. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on June 10, 2009 Aubrey Immelman reported that a car bomb blew up in a packed outdoor food market in Bathaa, near Nasiriyah, about 200 miles southeast of Baghdad in one of the most peaceful areas of Iraq’s Shiite south, killing about 30 people and wounding dozens more.

Jun 7th, 2010

Summary: June 7, 2010 marks the end of 104 months of war in Afghanistan, making it the longest war in American history after the Vietnam War, which continued for 103 months following the Aug. 7, 1964 Tonkin Gulf Resolution. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on June 7, 2009 Aubrey Immelman provided his weekly report of U.S. military deaths in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), compiled from U.S. Department of Defense News Releases.

Jun 6th, 2010

Summary: Bombings in Baghdad, Iraq and Kandahar, Afghanistan killed seven people — including policemen in both countries — and wounded about two dozen. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on June 6, 2009 Aubrey Immelman commemorated the 65th anniversary of D-Day, the Allied invasion of Normandy on May 6, 1944.

May 13th, 2010

Summary: President Barack Obama is warning that the war in Afghanistan will get worse before it gets better, but he remains committed to his plan of beginning to withdraw U.S. forces in July 2011. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on May 13, 2009, Aubrey Immelman summarized and evaluated remarks by Dr. Maureen Reed on May 12, 2009, at a special DFL Minnesota Senate District 14 meeting in St. Joseph, Minn. At the time, Reed was challenging 2008 Democratic candidate Elwyn Tinklenberg for the Democratic Party endorsement in the 2010 Sixth Congressional District race for U.S. Representative against incumbent Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann.

Apr 29th, 2010

Summary: U.S. troops raided the home of a female member of the Afghan parliament and killed a neighbor who was one of her relatives, sparking angry protests. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on April 29, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that Iraq was falling fall far behind schedule in creating a system to maintain its own military equipment, costing American taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars to fill in the gaps, according to a U.S. audit by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction. Meanwhile, the death toll from twin car bomb blasts in a crowded Baghdad market rose to 51. The car bombs, which also wounded 76 people in the capital’s sprawling Sadr City slum, followed a series of other attacks in the previous two weeks, stirring fears of a return to broader sectarian bloodshed in Iraq.

Mar 20th, 2010

Summary: President Barack Obama’s foreign policy appears to be working in one area vital to U.S. national security: Pakistan. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on March 20, 2009, Aubrey Immelman examined what might have happened if companies deemed “too big to fail” had been allowed to do just that.

Mar 15th, 2010

Summary: The arrest of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar — second in the Taliban only to one-eyed leader Mullah Mohammed Omain — has reportedly infuriated Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who is said to have been holding secret peace talks with the Taliban’s No. 2 when he was captured in Pakistan in February 2010. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on March 15, 2009, Aubrey Immelman featured a live video feed of the closing arguments in Minnesota’s U.S. Senate recount trial to decide the winner of the race between incumbent Republican Norm Coleman and Democratic challenger Al Franken.

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 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 2nd, 2009

Summary: President Barack Obama is holding an uncertain hand in his high-stakes gamble in the fight against Islamic extremism in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Weak partners in both countries, doubts about the speed of building up Afghan security forces, and allies reluctant to commit themselves wholeheartedly to the battle all raise questions about the strategy. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on December 2, 2008, Aubrey Immelman reported that President George W. Bush said the biggest regret of his presidency was flawed intelligence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, telling ABC World News in an interview airing December 1, 2008 that he was unprepared for war when he took office.