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.

Summary: U.S. officials say they are certain the bizarre assassination plot against the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States, Adel Jubeir, was real; however, some analysts say it is unlikely the Iranian government would be involved in such a tangled plot. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on October 13, 2010, Aubrey Immelman reported that Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made a bold show of strength in Lebanon, vowing before thousands of Hezbollah supporters in Beirut that U.S. and Israeli power in the Middle East would soon be eclipsed.

Summary: The U.S military estimates $360 million in U.S. tax dollars has ended up in the hands of the very people the American-led coalition has spent nearly a decade trying to defeat in Afghanistan: the Taliban, criminals, and power brokers with ties to both. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on August 17, 2010, Aubrey Immelman provided his weekly report of U.S. military deaths in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

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.

Jun 27th, 2011

Summary: America’s chapter in Afghanistan’s struggle is drawing to a close. Few experts believe Afghanistan will enjoy peace anytime soon. Optimists hope the level of violence can be reduced and the fighting limited to small areas around the country. Pessimists, including many Afghans, fear that once the foreign troops leave, the country will descend into a new civil war. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on June 27, 2010, Aubrey Immelman reported allegations by Iran that Saudi Arabia was allowing Israel to use its territory in preparation for attacking Iran nuclear sites.

Feb 19th, 2011

Summary: Taliban gunmen detonated explosives in front of a Kabul Bank branch and then stormed the building in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad, killing several people and injuring scores of others. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on February 19, 2010, Aubrey Immelman reported that Joseph Stack, a software engineer with a long-standing grudge against the Internal Revenue Service, crashed a small plane into an office building housing IRS employees in Austin, Texas.

Nov 29th, 2010

Summary: The United States has now been fighting in Afghanistan longer than the Soviet Union, whose occupation lasted nine years and 50 days before the USSR retreated in defeat on Feb. 15, 1989. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on November 29, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that, according to a Senate Foreign Relations Committee report, Osama bin Laden was unquestionably within reach of U.S. troops in the mountains of Tora Bora when American military leaders made the crucial and costly decision in December 2001 not to pursue the terrorist leader with massive force. The report affixed a measure of blame for the state of the Afghanistan war today on military leaders under former president George W. Bush, specifically Donald H. Rumsfeld as defense secretary and his top military commander, Gen. Tommy Franks.

Nov 13th, 2010

Summary: An independent 25-member task force led by former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and former national security adviser Samuel Berger is cautioning President Barack Obama about the high cost of the Afghanistan war and suggests the United States should downsize its ambitions and reduce its military presence in Afghanistan if Obama’s December 2010 Afghanistan policy review finds the current strategy is not working. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on November 13, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that morale had fallen among soldiers in Afghanistan, while those in Iraq showed much improved mental health amid lower violence. There were 133 reported active-duty Army suicides from January 2009 through October 2009, compared with 115 for the same period in 2008.

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 25th, 2010

Summary: In Afghanistan, the five-member “Red team” is rethinking the war in Afghanistan and questioning some of the basic assumptions behind the effort to clean up corruption and gain the upper hand over the Taliban. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on September 25, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that President Barack Obama, speaking at the G-20 summit in Pittsburgh on a day the Pentagon announced five more American deaths in Afghanistan, said he understood that Americans were tiring of the war in Afghanistan and that he was examining whether the U.S. was pursuing the right strategy there.