Current Events and the Psychology of Politics

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Nov 19th, 2010

Summary: Weekly report of U.S. military deaths in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, compiled from U.S. Department of Defense news releases and … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on November 19, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that, according to a November 2009 Anti-Defamation League Special Report titled “Rage Grows in America: Anti-Government Conspiracies,” a wave of anti-government hostility had swept across the United States since the election of Barack Obama as president, creating a climate of fervor and activism with manifestations ranging from incivility in public forums to acts of intimidation and violence.

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.

Nov 5th, 2009

Summary: Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, due for deployment to Iraq, went on a shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, killing 13 and wounding 30. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on November 5, 2008, Aubrey Immelman reported that Afghan president Hamid Karzai congratulated Barack Obama on his election as president of the United States and called on him to halt civilian casualties after U.S. warplanes bombed a wedding party — killing 37, mostly children — saying airstrikes cannot win the fight against terrorism.

Mar 7th, 2009

Summary: With the end of U.S. combat operations in Iraq in sight, the cost of leaving is now measured in financial, logistical, and — above all — political terms. The U.S. withdrawal from Iraq will cost hundreds of billions of dollars. … March 2009 update of key facts, figures, and statistics on Iraq since the war began in March 2003. … The Pentagon reports that up to 18 deaths of soldiers in February 2008 may have been suicides.

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.

Feb 6th, 2009

Summary: The Army is investigating an unexplained and stunning spike in suicides in January 2009. The count is likely to surpass the number of combat deaths during the same period reported by all branches of the armed forces in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere in the fight against terrorism. “In January, we lost more soldiers to suicide than to al-Qaida,” said Paul Rieckhoff, director of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

Dec 23rd, 2008

Summary: The Army began an investigation after being prodded by Amanda Henderson, wife of Sgt. 1st Class Patrick Henderson, an Iraq combat veteran who spent the final months of his life as an Army recruiter before hanging himself with a dog chain in his backyard shed. In all, 15 of the Army’s 8,400 recruiters have committed suicide since 2003, with more than 540 of the Army’s half-million active-duty soldiers killing themselves.