Current Events and the Psychology of Politics

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Archive for March, 2011

Mar 21st, 2011

Summary: Graphic photos showing U.S. troops posing with dead Afghans have been published by the German newspaper Der Spiegel. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on March 21, 2010, Aubrey Immelman reported that U.S. military planners had little doubt that an Israeli air campaign against Iranian nuclear facilities would provoke Iranian retaliation against Saudi Arabia and other major oil producers allied with the United States; American efforts to stabilize Afghanistan and Iraq, both of which border Iran, would come under threat — and there would be no way that any U.S. administration, after so many decades pledging undying support for Israel, could make a convincing claim in Muslim eyes that it was not complicit in the attack.

Mar 20th, 2011

Summary: Moammar Gadhafi vowed a “long war” as allied forces launched a second night of strikes on Libya, inflicting heavy losses, while jubilant rebels who only a day before were in danger of being crushed by his forces now boasted they would bring him down. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on March 20, 2010, Aubrey Immelman reported that President Barack Obama’s foreign policy appeared to be working in one area vital to U.S. national security: Pakistan.

Mar 19th, 2011

Summary: French warplanes fired the first shots in the broadest international military effort since the Iraq war, destroying government tanks and armored vehicles in the region of the rebels’ eastern stronghold, Benghazi. Hours later, British and U.S. warships and submarines launched more than 110 Tomahawk missiles against Gadhafi’s air defenses around the capital Tripoli and the western city of Misrata. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on March 19, 2010, Aubrey Immelman reported that 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.

Mar 18th, 2011

Summary: NATO allies meeting in Brussels are drawing up plans to enforce a United Nations resolution authorizing military action to prevent the killing of Libyan civilians as Western leaders deliver an ultimatum to Moammar Gadhafi. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on March 18, 2010, Aubrey Immelman reported that a missile strike in Pakistan killed Hussein al-Yemeni, an al-Qaida leader believed to have been a key player in the suicide attack that killed seven CIA operatives at the CIA’s forward operating base Camp Chapman in Khost province, Afghanistan, near the Pakistan border on December 30, 2009.

Mar 17th, 2011

Summary: The U.N. Security Council has authorized “all necessary measures” including strikes by air and sea to protect civilians from attacks by Moammar Gadhafi’s forces. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on March 17, 2010, Aubrey Immelman reported that Iraq remained devastated by bombings, assassinations, and corruption.

Mar 16th, 2011

Summary: Four journalists covering the fighting in Libya for the New York Times have been reported missing. The journalists include reporters Anthony Shadid and Stephen Farrell, and photographers Tyler Hicks and Lynsey Addario. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on March 16, 2010, Aubrey Immelman provided his weekly report of U.S. military deaths in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Summary: In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Gen. David Petraeus, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, says much of the Taliban’s battlefield momentum has been halted, putting the U.S. on course to begin pulling out troops in July 2011 and shifting security responsibility to the Afghans. He cautioned, however, that security progress remains “fragile and reversible,” with tough days ahead as the Taliban launch an expected spring offensive. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on March 15, 2010, Aubrey Immelman reported that the arrest of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar — second in the Taliban only to one-eyed leader Mullah Mohammed Omain — reportedly infuriated Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who was said to have been holding secret peace talks with the Taliban’s No. 2 when he was captured in Pakistan the previous month, in February 2010.

Summary: Five Fairbanks-area residents involved in a loose-knit militia group have been arrested in connection with a plot to kidnap or kill Alaska state troopers and U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Beistline. The group includes Francis “Schaeffer” Cox, the 26-year-old leader of the so-called “Sovereign Citizens” movement, which considers individuals to be sovereign nations not subject to any state or federal laws. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on March 14, 2010, Aubrey Immelman reported that Afghan insurgents said deadly bomb attacks in the southern city of Kandahar were a warning to NATO’s top commander, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, that the Taliban were ready for in their heartland.

Mar 13th, 2011

Summary: Rep. Michele Bachmann told political activists in Manchester, N.H., “You’re the state where the shot was heard around the world in Lexington and Concord.” But those first shots of the Revolutionary War were fired in Massachusetts, not New Hampshire. Bachmann’s mistake was striking given her roots in the Tea Party movement, which takes its name from the dumping of tea into Boston Harbor by angry American colonists in December 1773, 16 months before the Battle of Lexington Green. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on March 13, 2010, Aubrey Immelman reported that Rep. Michele Bachmann, addressing Tea Party activists, exploited U.S. troops serving in Afghanistan in an attempt to score some cheap political points by saying that passing the health reform bill would be a slam against the troops in Afghanistan and that the bill should be killed for the sake of the troops.

Mar 12th, 2011

Summary: A magnitude 8.9 earthquake — the biggest in modern Japanese history — unleashed a 23-foot tsunami that swept boats, cars, buildings, and tons of debris miles inland and prompted a “nuclear emergency.” Warnings blanketed the Pacific, putting areas on alert as far away as South America, Canada, Hawaii, Alaska, and the entire U.S. West Coast. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on March 12, 2010, Aubrey Immelman reported that in the fourth major terrorist attack in Pakistan in a week, a pair of suicide bombers targeting army vehicles detonated explosives within seconds of each other, killing at least 43 people in the eastern city of Lahore and wounding about 100.