Current Events and the Psychology of Politics
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Feb 5th, 2010

Summary: The U.S. is preparing a major attack on the Taliban, the militants are being squeezed in their Pakistani sanctuaries, and the Afghan government is trying to draw them into peace talks. … NATO is sending reinforcements to Kandahar, 260 miles southwest of Kabul, ahead of a major offensive to reverse Taliban gains in southern Afghanistan. … Suicide bomb kills 6 in Afghan south. A bomb on a parked motorcycle exploded on the outskirts of the holy city of Karbala, killing at least 20 Shiite pilgrims and wounding 110. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on February 5, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that with the reduction of violence in Iraq following a U.S. troop “surge” and other measures, foreign militants were flooding into Afghanistan to join Taliban insurgents battling Afghan and international troops. He also reported that Father Bruce Wollmering OSB, monk and priest, died suddenly on February 4, 2009 at Saint John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minn. Subsequently, on December 9, 2009, it was reported that former student Jeramiah (Jerry) McCarthy had filed a fraud lawsuit against St. John’s Prep School and Abbey for allegedly covering up sexual misconduct by Fr. Bruce Wollmering since the mid-1960s.


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.


Dec 10th, 2008

Summary: Thomas Fingar, Bush administration deputy director of national intelligence for analysis, suggests the Iraq war was as much the failure of policymakers as the product of the flawed intelligence on which they relied. … Decision-making on Iraq was marred by a strong sense of time pressure, a tendency among decision makers to seek concurrence on Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction, and a directive leadership style in the White House — all of which are causes of groupthink. … According to the Gayle Report, the Department of Defense knew before the Iraq war started in 2003 of the threats of mines and roadside bombs in Iraq but did nothing to acquire Mine Resistant Ambush-Protected (MRAP) vehicles ahead of the invasion — a level of overconfidence symptomatic of groupthink.