Current Events and the Psychology of Politics

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Feb 26th, 2011

Summary: Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates bluntly told an audience of West Point cadets that “the odds of repeating another Afghanistan or Iraq — invading, pacifying, and administering a large third-world country — may be low” and that “any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa” should, in the words of General Douglas MacArthur, “have his head examined.” … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on February 26, 2010, Aubrey Immelman reported that insurgents had struck in the heart of the Afghan capital with suicide attackers and a car bomb, targeting hotels used by foreigners and killing at least 16 people and wounding dozen. The four-hour assault began about 6:30 in the morning with a car bombing that leveled a residential hotel used by Indian doctors. A series of explosions and gunbattles left blood and debris in the rain-slicked streets and underscored the militants’ ability to strike in the heavily defended capital even as NATO marshals its forces against them in an assault on Marjah in the volatile south.

Sep 29th, 2010

Summary: The heavily fortified Green Zone in Iraq’s capital has in recent weeks come under an intensifying barrage of rocket attacks, and a senior American military commander is suggesting that Iranian-backed militias are behind the attacks in an effort to influence the formation of a new Iraqi government. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on September 29, 2009, Aubrey Immelman provided his weekly report of U.S. military deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan.