Current Events and the Psychology of Politics

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Mar 30th, 2009

Summary: Pentagon spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and to fight terrorism elsewhere has reached $685.7 billion since 2001, according to a U.S. government watchdog agency. The Government Accountability Office, or GAO, said the Iraq war accounted for $533.5 billion in Defense Department spending obligations through December 2008, while spending on operations in Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa, and the Philippines totaled $124.1 billion. The remaining $28.1 billion was for operations to defend the U.S. mainland, the GAO said in a letter to Congress dated March 30, 2009.

Nov 15th, 2008

Summary: Adm. Chris Barrie, former chief of the Australian Defense Force, has said there was no evidence to justify going to war in Iraq in 2003: “I have to say, even up until the day I retired, I never saw any evidence that said suddenly we had to go off and do a job in Iraq.” … Two U.S. soldiers were killed in an OH-58 Kiowa Warrior helicopter crash in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. … A car bomb killed 10 people and wounded 30 in the northern Iraqi city of Tal Afar.

Nov 13th, 2008

Summary: In Mosul, an Iraqi soldier fired automatic weapons at U.S. soldiers at a military base, killing two and wounding six before he died in a hail of bullets. … In Baghdad, bombers struck the capital for a third straight day, killing 23 people and wounding scores in a string of attacks in mostly Shiite areas. … In Kandahar, Afghanistan, a suicide bomber driving an oil tanker detonated his explosives outside an Afghan government office 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. … North Korea announced it will shut the country’s border with the South on Dec. 1, 2008.

Nov 12th, 2008

Summary: 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, the pendulum in Mosul has swung several times between stark violence and fragile security, and 2008 is no different. Last November, when the American regiment arrived, the city’s western half was “entirely enemy territory,” with other areas not much better, says Maj. John Oliver, operations officer of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment’s 3rd Squadron. … A series of blasts struck Baghdad for the third consecutive day, killing nine people and wounding more than 30 others. … Taliban fighters hijacked trucks carrying Humvees and other supplies for U.S.-led troops in Afghanistan, authorities said after a brazen attack near the Khyber Pass that underscored the militants’ grip across key mountain strongholds.

Oct 27th, 2008

Summary: On the ninth day of his write-in campaign against U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, Aubrey Immelman, in line with his focus on national security, reported that despite millions of dollars of U.S. expenditure in Mosul since 2003 to improve electricity, overhaul army facilities, and rehabilitate schools and other infrastructure, five years of war had reduced much of Iraq’s third-largest city to rubble.