Current Events and the Psychology of Politics

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Summary: President Barack Obama’s June 22, 2011 speech to the nation made it abundantly clear that the commander-in-chief is determined to end the U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan, irrespective of “conditions on the ground” and without “benchmarks of success” or the other classical wartime caveats and equivocations. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on June 25, 2010, Aubrey Immelman reported that legislators or candidates in nearly 20 states were pushing for tougher anti-illegal immigration measures similar to Arizona’s sweeping new immigration law.

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.

Mar 9th, 2011

Summary: U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates visited some of the most hotly contested parts of Afghanistan, where the effects of President Barack Obama’s 30,000-troop surge have been most keenly felt. While Gates expressed optimism, some observers believe U.S. gains in southern Afghanistan might prove illusory in the longer run. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on March 9, 2010, Aubrey Immelman provided his weekly report of U.S. military deaths in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Mar 7th, 2011

Summary: On a visit to Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Robert Gates has ruled out permanent American military bases in Afghanistan, though the U.S. is interested in maintaining a military presence in the former al-Qaida haven beyond the planned end of U.S. combat in three years. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on March 7, 2010, Aubrey Immelman reported that Adam Gadahn, the American-born English-language propagandist for al-Qaida, had been captured in Karachi, Pakistan. However, it was later revealed that this was a case of mistaken identity and that the man in custody was in fact Abu Yahya Majadin Adam.

Jun 28th, 2010

Summary: The U.S. has often overestimated the ability of Afghan military and police units to fight on their own, according to an independent report that calls into question the strategy to win the war and bring troops home. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on June 28, 2009 Aubrey Immelman provided his weekly summary of security incidents in Iraq (Operation Iraqi Freedom) and Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom).