Current Events and the Psychology of Politics

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Dec 29th, 2010

Summary: Iraq Body Count, a British group monitoring Iraqi civilian deaths, said in its 2010 annual report that the number of fatalities has dropped slightly since 2009 but warned of lingering, low-intensity conflict in the years ahead. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on December 29, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that an Afghan soldier killed a U.S. service member and wounded two Italian soldiers in western Afghanistan, while Pakistani authorities appealed for calm after a bombing against a Shiite Muslim procession marking the holy day of Ashoura killed 43 in Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi.

Aug 19th, 2010

Summary: The last U.S. combat brigade in Iraq has crossed the border into Kuwait, bringing to a close the active combat phase for Americans of a 7½-year war that overthrew Saddam Hussein, forever defined the presidency of George W. Bush, and left more than 4,400 American service members and tens of thousands of Iraqis dead. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on August 19, 2009 Aubrey Immelman reported the deadliest attack in Iraq since U.S. troops withdrew from urban centers at the end of June 2009 — and one of the deadliest of the war — with a wave of bombings and mortar attacks in Baghdad killing nearly 100 and wounded approximately 1,000.

Aug 1st, 2010

Summary: July 2010 was Iraq’s deadliest month in more than two years, according to new official figures, suggesting that a resilient insurgency is successfully taking advantage of the months of deadlock in forming a new government. The figures show that 535 people were killed last month, the highest since May 2008 when 563 died. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on August 1, 2009 Aubrey Immelman reported that 40 U.S. troops died in Afghanistan in July 2009, by far the heaviest monthly toll up to that point in the war. The worst previous month for U.S. forces had been September 2008, when 26 were killed.

May 14th, 2010

Summary: Al-Qaida in Iraq is warning Shiites that “dark days soaked with blood” lie ahead with a new campaign of violence yet to come, with many Iraqis fearful that the current wave of bombings and shootings may revive the all-out sectarian warfare that ravaged the country in 2006 and 2007. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on May 14, 2009, Aubrey Immelman featured five reasons liberals love Michele Bachmann, the only politician — with the possible exception of North Korea’s Kim Jong-il — who flaunts universal, all-encompassing expertise that including such disparate specialties as theology, science, chemistry, finance, world affairs, and even sexual dysfunction.

Mar 19th, 2010

Summary: Seven years after the first bombs in the war to oust Saddam Hussein, Iraqis went about their business with little observance of the anniversary, looking to the future with a mixture of trepidation and hope. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on March 19, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that six years after the U.S. invaded Iraq on March 20, 2003 — March 19 in the United States — the end of America’s costly mission was in sight, but the future of Iraq much less clear.

Mar 17th, 2010

Summary: “Iraq is still being devastated by bombings, assassinations, corruption, millions of evictions, and continued infrastructure destruction. Yet the world that caused all this is trying to draw a rosy picture of the situation in Iraq,” according to Iraqi political analyst Maki al-Nazzal. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on March 17, 2009, Aubrey Immelman featured a report from Oprah magazine regarding the personal qualities of President Barack Obama: “‘Boring’ might not be the first adjective that comes to mind to describe [Obama], but it was ‘No Drama Obama’ who assured the nation with his steady composure and won the White House. Aubrey Immelman, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at the College of St. Benedict / St. John’s University in Minnesota, says the variable that most distinguishes Obama from the two previous presidents is conscientiousness.”

Dec 28th, 2009

Summary: The New York Times reports that in the midst of two unfinished major wars — Afghanistan and Iraq — the United States has quietly opened a third, largely covert front against Al Qaeda in Yemen. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on December 28, 2008, Aubrey Immelman reported that the Taliban, which had long operated its own shadow government in the most dangerous parts of Afghanistan, had begun spreading north, encroaching on the capital city of Kabul.

Nov 2nd, 2009

Summary: Of the 364 Iraqis killed in October, 155 died in two nearly simultaneous bombs targeting government buildings on Oct. 25, 2009 in downtown Baghdad — the worst attack in more than two years. … More Taliban bombings in retaliation as Pakistan continues its offensive in South Waziristan, a tribal region adjoining Afghanistan, where al-Qaida terrorists are believed to have hideouts. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on the 15th day of his write-in campaign against U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, Aubrey Immelman, in his capacity as research director of the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics, published two articles in the St. Cloud Times in which he provides an analysis of his primary concerns regarding the personality-based limitations of prospective Obama and McCain presidencies.

Oct 14th, 2009

Summary: In the first comprehensive tally released since the war began, Iraq’s Human Rights Ministry reports that 85,694 Iraqis lost their lives from 2004-2008 and 147,195 were wounded. The count includes Iraqi civilians, military, and police but not U.S. military deaths, insurgents, or foreigners, including contractors or U.S. forces, and it did not include the first months of the war after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. … On the 35th day after losing his 2008 primary challenge against U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, Aubrey Immelman reported on the increasing incidence of attacks by female suicide bombers — the mujahidaat — in Iraq and examined some of the factors behind this emerging threat.

Sep 1st, 2009

Summary: 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. … With 52 U.S. troops killed, August 2009 became the deadliest month of the deadliest year yet in the Afghanistan war. … The commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan has called for a new strategy against the Taliban in an assessment of the 8-year-old conflict ordered by the U.S. Secretary of Defense. … The number of civilians killed in Iraq shot up to 393 in August 2009, the highest level since April, after a spate of mass-casualty bombings caused carnage in Baghdad and northern Iraq. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on the 49th day of his campaign against U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann for the Republican nomination as House of Representatives candidate in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, Aubrey Immelman visited the St. Stephen Parish Festival with his four children. Afterwards, he made a detour through Rice on the way home to Sartell, for an update on shoreline restoration and water quality issues on Little Rock Lake in Benton County. He also posted updates on Hurricane Gustav, which made landfall as a Category 2 storm near Cocodrie, La.