Current Events and the Psychology of Politics

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Nov 13th, 2009

Summary: Morale has fallen among soldiers in Afghanistan, while those in Iraq show much improved mental health amid much lower violence. … There were 133 reported active-duty Army suicides from January 2009 through October 2009, compared with 115 for the same period in 2008. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on November 13, 2008, Aubrey Immelman reported that an Iraqi soldier fired automatic weapons at U.S. soldiers at a military base in Mosul, killing two and wounding six before dying in a hail of bullets; bombers struck Baghdad for a third straight day, killing 23 people and wounding scores in a string of attacks in mostly Shiite areas; a suicide bomber driving an oil tanker detonated his explosives outside an Afghan government office in Kandahar, Afghanistan during a provincial council meeting, killing at least six people and wounding 42; Iran test-fired a solid-fuel, high-speed Sajjil long-range surface-to-surface missile with a range of about 1,200 miles; and North Korea announced it would shut the country’s border with the South on Dec. 1, 2008.

Feb 7th, 2009

Summary: To battle a growing suicide rate, the Army may have to start teaching soldiers how to handle stress from the first day they take their service oath, says Gen. Martin Dempsey, commander of the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command, which operates 33 schools and training centers at 16 Army installations.