Current Events and the Psychology of Politics
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Summary: A new report by the Wartime Contracting Commission estimates that about $60 billion in taxpayer money has been lost to waste and fraud in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade of war. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on August 31, 2010, Aubrey Immelman provided his weekly report of U.S. military deaths in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.


Nov 21st, 2009

Summary: The United States government has spent $53 billion on reconstruction in Iraq since the 2003 invasion, building tens of thousands of hospitals, water treatment plants, electricity substations, schools, and bridges. But there are growing concerns, according to the New York Times, that Iraq will not be able to adequately maintain the facilities once the Americans have left, potentially wasting hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on November 21, 2008, Aubrey Immelman reported that followers of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr had stomped on and burned an effigy of President George Bush in the same central Baghdad square where Iraqis beat a toppled statue of Saddam Hussein with their sandals five years earlier. Chanting and waving flags, thousands of Iraqis filled Firdous Square to protest a proposed U.S.-Iraqi security pact that would allow American troops to stay for three more years.


Oct 11th, 2009

Summary: Iraqis took to the streets in parts of Iraq to demand open elections and improved public services, revealing a growing discontent among Iraqis that is overshadowing concerns about the ability of Iraqi forces to take over from withdrawing American troops. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on the 32nd 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 that the Bush administration had removed North Korea from its “state sponsors of terrorism” blacklist. He also posted a daily summary of security incidents in Iraq.



Summary: Iraq remained the deadliest country for media workers in 2008, followed by India and Mexico, although the number of deaths was down sharply from the previous year. A total of 109 journalists and support staff in 36 countries died while covering the news in 2008, down from 172 in 2007, largely due to a decline in the number of media workers killed in Iraq.



Summary: A federal draft report depicts the U.S.-led reconstruction of Iraq as a $100 billion failure doomed by bureaucratic infighting, ignorance of basic elements of Iraqi society, and waves of violence. The report, “Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience,” was compiled by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, led by Stuart Bowen Jr., a Republican lawyer.