Current Events and the Psychology of Politics

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Dec 16th, 2010

Summary: A five-page unclassified summary of the 2010 White House review of Afghanistan war strategy says U.S. and NATO forces had made “notable operational gains,” halting the Taliban’s momentum in many areas and disrupting al-Qaida. But it stressed the gains were fragile and reversible and that major challenges remained. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on December 17, 2009, Aubrey Immelman provided his weekly report of U.S. military deaths in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), compiled from U.S. Department of Defense News Releases.

Summary: Afghanistan-Vietnam parallels: A president, eager to show his toughness, vows to do what it takes to “win.” … The nation that we are supposedly rescuing is no nation at all but rather a deeply divided, semi-failed state with an incompetent, corrupt government held to be illegitimate by a large portion of its population. … The enemy is well accustomed to resisting foreign invaders and can escape into convenient refuges across the border. … There are constraints on America striking those sanctuaries. … Neighboring countries may see a chance to bog America down in a costly war. … There is no easy way out.