Current Events and the Psychology of Politics

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Sep 9th, 2010

Summary: A U.S. missile strike in Pakistan’s North Waziristan region has killed five alleged militants in northwestern Pakistan, the fourth such attack on suspected insurgent targets there in 24 hours. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on September 9, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that Michele Bachmann testified that God told her to run for Congress and then, after being elected, said she would run for president if called by God. But she topped that assertion by claiming that Democrats want to take her down because they fear she could become the first woman president of the United States.

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.”

Aug 27th, 2010

Summary: A total of 46 students and nine teachers were treated in a Kabul, Afghanistan, hospital after what an official at the education ministry described as “an apparent poisoning” attack by “the enemies of women’s education.” However, the pattern of the reported illness bears the hallmark of a group psychological reaction known as mass hysteria. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on August 27, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) announced a joint town hall forum with Rep. Ron Paul as her guest. He also reported a summer of setbacks for the U.S. and its allies in Afghanistan, with rising casualties, a divisive election, and growing public doubt about the war.

Aug 13th, 2010

Summary: The number of civilians killed or wounded in the Afghan conflict rose 31 percent in the first six months of 2010, with anti-government forces causing about three-quarters of the casualties, according to a report by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on August 13, 2009 Aubrey Immelman reported that U.S. Marines surging into Helmand province, southern Afghanistan, to protect citizens ahead of the August 20 national election were meeting fierce resistance from the Taliban.

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.

Jul 2nd, 2010

Summary: Taliban suicide attackers stormed a four-story house used by the U.S. Agency for International Development in Kunduz, north Afghanistan, killing four people before succumbing in a fierce, five-hour gunbattle with Afghan security forces. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on July 2, 2009 Aubrey Immelman reported that PolitiFact’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Truth-O-Meter rated Rep. Michele Bachmann’s “scaremongering claim” that ACORN will be a paid partner of the Census Bureau and “in charge” of going door-to-door and collecting data from the American public in the 2010 U.S. Census as [Liar, Liar] Pants on Fire.

Jun 17th, 2010

Summary: The complex nature of the June 13, 2010 attack on Iraq’s central bank suggests al-Qaida in Iraq’s new leadership could be taking cues from the Taliban’s success with similar operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on June 17, 2009 Aubrey Immelman featured biographical profiles of candidates and other major players in Iran’s disputed 2009 presidential vote.

Jun 12th, 2010

Summary: About 50 Afghan schoolgirls became ill and were taken to a hospital after a suspected gas poisoning in their school in Ghazni, southwestern Afghanistan — the latest in a spate of similar incidents, some of which have the hallmarks of mass hysteria. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on June 12, 2009 Aubrey Immelman featured the daily summary of security developments in Iraq, as reported by Reuters.

May 19th, 2010

Summary: Taliban insurgents launched a brazen pre-dawn attack on Bagram air base north of Kabul, one day after the deadliest day of the year for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, with seven Americans dead. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on May 19, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that Iraqi officials postponed national parliamentary elections until Jan. 30, 2010; that Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said “We cannot succeed … in Afghanistan by killing Afghan civilians”; and that the U.N. refugee agency revealed that nearly 1.5 million people had fled their homes in Pakistan in May in an attempt to escape fighting between government forces and Taliban militants.

Apr 25th, 2010

Summary: Scores of Afghan schoolgirls in Kunduz were “knocked unconscious” or made ill this weekend by “suspected poison gas attacks” on their schools and authorities are blaming insurgents who oppose educating girls. However, according to clinical political psychologist Aubrey Immelman, Ph.D., “authorities would be well advised to investigate the alleged poison gas attacks as a possible case of mass hysteria, or mass psychogenic illness.” … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on April 25, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee created a Web site devoted to U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann’s false and controversial statements, intended as a virtual “truth squad” to expose Bachmann’s “fantastic claims and lies … that can quickly be disproven.”