Current Events and the Psychology of Politics

Featured Posts        





Jul 31st, 2008

While the major-party endorsed candidates continue to focus on energy issues, there are important developments on the national security and illegal migration fronts today that also deserve our attention, much as all of us would like to see cheaper gas.


Gates Sees Terrorism Remaining Enemy No. 1

New defense strategy shifts focus from conventional warfare

A soldier in Iraq guards suspected terrorists, a duty becoming the norm.
A soldier in Iraq guards suspected terrorists, a duty becoming the norm.
(Photo credit: Washington Post / Maya Alleruzzo — Associated Press)

By Josh White
The Washington Post
July 31, 2008


Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates says that even winning the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan will not end the “Long War” against violent extremism and that the fight against al-Qaeda and other terrorists should be the nation’s top military priority over coming decades, according to a new National Defense Strategy he approved last month.

The strategy document, which has not been released, calls for the military to master “irregular” warfare rather than focusing on conventional conflicts against other nations. … The strategy … spells out his view that the nation must harness both military assets and “soft power” to defeat a complex, transnational foe.

“Iraq and Afghanistan remain the central fronts in the struggle, but we cannot lose sight of the implications of fighting a long-term, episodic, multi-front, and multi-dimensional conflict more complex and diverse than the Cold War confrontation with communism” …

His strategy … departs from Rumsfeld’s focus on preemptive military action and instead encourages current and future U.S. leaders to work with other countries to eliminate the conditions that foster extremism. …

Gates wrote that he perceives this document as a “a blueprint to success” for a future administration. …

Gates singles out Iran and North Korea as threatening “international order” and meriting U.S. concern; his strategy also warns about potential threats from China and Russia …

Full story


Commentary: As someone trained in both conventional warfare and irregular counter-insurgency / anti-terrorist operations, I welcome Secretary Gates’ strategy proposal. It’s a nonpartisan transition document that either John McCain or Barack Obama can use as a strategic blueprint immediately upon taking office in January.


U.S. toll in Iraq hits all-time low as month ends (AP, July 31, 2008) — The monthly U.S. toll in Iraq fell to its lowest point since the war began, with 11 American deaths as July drew to a close Thursday after the departure of the last surge brigade. … The U.S. military has pointed to a Sunni revolt against al-Qaida in Iraq and a truce by anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr as playing a large part in the drop in violence, along with the troop buildup and improvements in training Iraqi security forces. Baghdad — the site of the some of the worst sectarian violence that pushed the country to the brink of civil war — has been turned into a maze of concrete walls and checkpoints that make it difficult for militants to function. …


Report: U.S. ‘Wasted’ $560 Million on Iraq Repairs

July 31, 2008

WASHINGTON — The United States has “wasted” more than half a billion dollars in Iraq repairing facilities that were damaged because of poor security, the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction says in a report released Wednesday.

Stuart Bowen’s quarterly report arrived at a price tag of $560 million by tallying the results of more than 100 audits his office has conducted.

Further billions had to be diverted from reconstruction to security because the Bush administration did not adequately foresee how volatile Iraq would be when it began rebuilding the country, the report says. …

Full story


U.S. to Urge ‘Fugitive Aliens’ to Surrender

Officials will offer fugitive aliens incentives to surrender for three weeks in August.

July 31, 2008

WASHINGTON — U.S. immigration officials, taking a new tack to solve an old, intractable problem, say they will give “fugitive aliens” in certain cities incentives to surrender during a three-week period in August.

The program will give fugitive aliens — people who have been ordered by immigration courts to leave the United States — up to 90 days after surrendering to get their affairs in order before departing the country. …

Full story


Study Finds 11% Drop in Illegal Immigrants

Nicole Gaouette

July 31, 2008


WASHINGTON — A report Wednesday indicating a marked decline in the number of illegal immigrants in the U.S. fueled a widening national debate over the Bush administration’s policy of immigration enforcement through aggressive workplace raids.

The largest such enforcement action was in May in Postville, Iowa, where federal immigration agents descended on a meatpacking plant and arrested nearly 400 workers later detained in a building used to house cattle.

The administration began aggressively enforcing workplace laws after Congress last year failed to pass an immigration overhaul. In the months since, thousands of workers have been arrested in scores of raids.

Conservatives have applauded the tactics, while critics have pointed to mistaken arrests of U.S. citizens, deaths of immigrants in detention and limited scrutiny of managers who recruit and hire them.

However, evidence that the strategy may have succeeded in reducing the number of illegal immigrants was presented in a report Wednesday by a group favoring tighter curbs on all forms of immigration.

The report by the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington-based think tank, says that the number of illegal immigrants fell about 11% between last August and May, from 12.5 million to 11.2 million.

The study was based on an analysis of census data and concludes that if that rate of decline is sustained, the number of illegal immigrants will be halved in five years. …

“It challenges the idea that there is no way to deal with the problem but for creating some kind of legal status [for illegal immigrants],” [Steve Camarota, the center’s research director] said. “And it seems you don’t have to deport everyone.” …

The immigration report was issued as Latino lawmakers gathered to condemn the administration’s enforcement drive and announced plans to put a stop to the raids. …

He said immigration reforms must include a way for illegal immigrants to legally remain in the country. However, he offered no further details on how Latino lawmakers would stop the raids.

Elsewhere on Capitol Hill, conservative lawmakers praised the value of immigrant “attrition through enforcement” and held up Wednesday’s study as proof.

“Enforcement works,” said Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), the ranking member on the Judiciary Committee, which oversees immigration issues. …

Full story

3 Responses to “On the Campaign Trail: Day 17”
  1. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Many Killed in Baghdad Bombings Says:

    […] On the Campaign Trail: Day 17 […]

  2. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Afghan War Deadlier Than Ever Says:

    […] On the Campaign Trail: Day 17 […]

  3. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Sliding into Recession . . . Again? Says:

    […] Campaign Against Michele Bachmann: Day 17 […]

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.