Current Events and the Psychology of Politics

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Archive for November, 2010

Summary: The U.S. Department of Defense has released the report of its comprehensive review of issues associated with the prospective repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, instituted during the Clinton administration. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on November 30, 2009, Aubrey Immelman provided links, graphics, and video to supplement a report by Michael White of the British newspaper The Guardian, who — pointing to Rep. Michele Bachmann — said what troubled him about the U.S. today is that “public reaction to the Obama presidency is irrational, emotional, and ignorant.”

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 28th, 2010

Summary: WikiLeaks’ cache of a quarter-million confidential American diplomatic cables, most of them from the past three years, provides an unprecedented look at backroom bargaining by embassies around the world, brutally candid views of foreign leaders, and frank assessments of nuclear and terrorist threats. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on November 28, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that many soldiers and policy makers believe the conflict in Afghanistan may be harder and more intractable than the war in Iraq.

Nov 27th, 2010

Summary: A Somali-born teenager, Mohamed Osman Mohamud, plotted to carry out a car bomb attack at a crowded Christmas tree-lighting ceremony in downtown Portland, Oregon, but the bomb turned out to be a dummy supplied by undercover agents as part of a counterterrorism sting operation. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on November 27, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that Jeremy Greenstock, British ambassador to the United Nations from 1998 to 2003, testified before an inquiry into the Iraq war that the Bush administration was “hell bent” on the 2003 military invasion of Iraq and actively undermined efforts by Britain to win international authorization for the war.

Nov 26th, 2010

Summary: Weekly report of U.S. military deaths in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, compiled from U.S. Department of Defense news releases and … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on November 26, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that President Barack Obama, in his 2009 Thanksgiving message, called the nation’s attention to the men and women in uniform who were away from home sacrificing time with family, and also spoke about health care reform, the Recovery Act, and job creation.

Nov 25th, 2010

Summary: North Korea says planned U.S.-South Korean military maneuvers involving a U.S. nuclear-powered supercarrier are pushing the peninsula to the “brink of war.” … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on November 25, 2009, Aubrey Immelman provided an analysis of President Barack Obama’s political personality, leadership style, and decision-making on Afghanistan.

Nov 24th, 2010

Summary: North Korea’s artillery barrage of Yeonpyeong island, in conjunction with the sinking of the South Korean warship “Cheonan” in March, most likely is indicative of a hardline policy shift in North Korea coinciding with the military leadership cementing its control over Kim Jong-il’s successor, Kim Jong-un. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on November 24, 2009, Aubrey Immelman provided his weekly report of U.S. military deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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 22nd, 2010

Summary: North Korea showed visiting American nuclear scientist Siegfried Hecker a vast new facility it secretly built to enrich uranium, confronting the Obama administration with the prospect that the country is preparing to expand its nuclear arsenal or build a far more powerful type of atomic bomb. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on November 22, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that leaked British government documents call into question ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair’s public statements on the buildup to the Iraq war and show plans for the U.S.-led 2003 invasion were being made more than a year earlier, in February 2002, shortly after the attacks of 9/11.

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.