Current Events and the Psychology of Politics

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Summary: U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, on a visit to Camp Nathan Smith, headquarters for U.S. operations in Kandahar, Afghanistan, told troops of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, that the likelihood of direct U.S. military engagement in Pakistan is very low but that “unfortunately, there are going to be more tough days ahead” in Afghanistan. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on September 3, 2009, on the same day that Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the Obama administration’s effort in the eight-year-old Afghanistan war was “only now beginning,” Aubrey Immelman reported that former U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) — my choice for successor to Secretary Gates — published an op-ed article in the Washington Post in which he cautioned, “No country today has the power to impose its will and values on other nations. … Bogging down large armies in historically complex, dangerous areas ends in disaster.”

Sep 1st, 2010

Summary: In Afghanistan, a spike in bloodshed has claimed the lives of 19 U.S. service members in just four days, elevating the U.S. death toll for August to 55, with 76 fatalities in total for NATO forces. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on September 1, 2009, Aubrey Immelman provided his weekly report of U.S. military deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan and reported that with 52 U.S. troops killed, August 2009 became the deadliest month of the deadliest year yet in the Afghanistan war; that the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan called for a new strategy against the Taliban in an assessment of the 8-year-old conflict ordered by the U.S. Secretary of Defense; and that the number of civilians killed in Iraq shot up to 393 in August 2009, the highest level since April 2009, after a spate of mass-casualty bombings caused carnage in Baghdad and northern Iraq.

Jul 31st, 2010

Summary: July 2010 has become the deadliest month of the nearly 9-year-old Afghanistan war for U.S. forces, surpassing the previous record of 60, set in in June 2010. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on July 31, 2009 Aubrey Immelman reported that bombs exploded near five Shiite mosques in Baghdad, killing at least 29 people, in an apparent coordinated attack that targeted worshippers leaving Friday prayers.

Jul 22nd, 2010

Summary: A car bomb outside a Shiite mosque in the village of Abu Sayda near Baqouba north of Baghdad killed 15 people, the third deadly attack in the region in as many days, while a U.S. soldier was killed in a separate bombing in the same province. … The Taliban claims it shot down a helicopter that crashed in southern Afghanistan, killing two U.S. service members. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on July 22, 2009 Aubrey Immelman reported that Iraq’s western city of Ramadi, Anbar province, declared a state of emergency and imposed a vehicle ban after several bomb attacks; bombs also exploded across Baghdad, killing 16 people and wounding dozens.

Jul 14th, 2010

Summary: Eight American troops were killed in a series of attacks in the Kandahar offensive in southern Afghanistan. So far in July, 45 international troops have died in Afghanistan, 33 of them Americans. June saw more than 100 troops killed — the bloodiest month of the nine-year-old war. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on July 14, 2009 Aubrey Immelman provided his weekly report of U.S. military deaths in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), compiled from U.S. Department of Defense News Releases. … He also reported that July 2009 was shaping up to be the deadliest month of the Afghanistan war for U.S.-led international forces, with the number killed by mid-month already matching the highest full-month toll of the nearly eight-year conflict.

May 13th, 2010

Summary: President Barack Obama is warning that the war in Afghanistan will get worse before it gets better, but he remains committed to his plan of beginning to withdraw U.S. forces in July 2011. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on May 13, 2009, Aubrey Immelman summarized and evaluated remarks by Dr. Maureen Reed on May 12, 2009, at a special DFL Minnesota Senate District 14 meeting in St. Joseph, Minn. At the time, Reed was challenging 2008 Democratic candidate Elwyn Tinklenberg for the Democratic Party endorsement in the 2010 Sixth Congressional District race for U.S. Representative against incumbent Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann.

Apr 18th, 2010

Summary: The Taliban are moving fighters into Kandahar, planting bombs, and plotting attacks as NATO and Afghan forces prepare for a summer offensive. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on April 18, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that Congress would begin hearings on an energy and global warming bill that could revolutionize how the United States produces and uses energy, in an effort to reduce pollution said to be responsible for heating up the planet.

Mar 14th, 2010

Summary: Insurgents say deadly bomb attacks in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar are a warning to NATO’s top commander, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, that the Taliban are ready for a coming offensive in their heartland. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on March 14, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that Jeff Kass, one of the first reporters on the scene of the Columbine High School shooting on April 20, 1999, had completed the definitive work on the tragedy, “Columbine: A True Crime Story.” (Immelman collaborated on the project, developing psychological profiles of shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold.)