Current Events and the Psychology of Politics

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Jan 29th, 2010

Summary: An unrepentant Tony Blair defended his decision to join the United States in attacking Iraq, invoking the discredited neocon argument before a panel investigating the war that the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks made the threat of weapons of mass destruction impossible to ignore. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on January 29, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that suicide rates among active-duty U.S. military personnel continuing to rise even as the Defense Department dedicated more resources to identifying troubled service members and getting them the help they need. Preliminary figures confirmed at least 125 soldiers killed themselves in 2008, compared with 115 in 2007, 102 in 2006 and 87 in 2005.

Nov 22nd, 2009

Summary: Leaked British government documents call into question ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair’s public statements on the buildup to the Iraq war and show plans for the U.S.-led 2003 invasion were being made more than a year earlier, in February 2002, shortly after the attacks of 9/11. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on November 22, 2008, Aubrey Immelman noted that in the summer of 2008 U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann claimed she could lower the price of gasoline to $2 a gallon in about two years by increased drilling, including offshore drilling and drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; however, just a few months later the price at the pump dropped to nearly $2 in a matter of weeks, purely as a result of reduced demand during the economic recession.

Sep 26th, 2009

Summary: The U.S. and its five partners trying to stop Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons program — Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China — plan to tell Tehran that it must provide “unfettered access” to its previously secret Qom uranium enrichment facility within weeks. … Personality profile and threat assessment of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on the 17th day after losing his 2008 primary challenge against U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, Aubrey Immelman, in line with his focus on national security, reported on a skirmish between U.S. and Pakistani ground forces across the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and a speech at the United Nations by Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, in which he told world leaders (in an apparent reference to U.S. cross-border attacks) that his country cannot allow its territory to “be violated by our friends.” Immelman also posted an update on U.S. casualties and security incidents in Iraq.

Jun 15th, 2009

Summary: British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has authorized a long-awaited inquiry into the Iraq war, but defied requests from bereaved families and campaigners to hold sessions in public.

Dec 17th, 2008

Summary: The speaker of Iraq’s parliament, Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, announced his resignation after a parliamentary session descended into chaos as lawmakers argued about whether to free a journalist who threw his shoes at President George W. Bush. … In an interview with ABC News, Vice President Dick Cheney attempted to justify the decision to invade Iraq. … A double-bombing targeting traffic police in Baghdad killed at least 18 people and wounded 52. … Raed Fahmy, Iraq’s Minister of Science and Technology, escaped injury in a car bomb explosion that appeared to be an assassination attempt.