Petraeus said that as the fighting increases — and American casualties rise — the public should remember that “progress is possible” in Afghanistan. Petraeus knows that’s true, he explained, because he has seen it.
“For example, nearly 7 million Afghan children are now in school as opposed to less than 1 million a decade ago under Taliban control,” Petraeus said. “Immunization rates for children have gone up substantially and are now in the 70 to 90 percent range nationwide. Cell phones are ubiquitous in a country that had virtually none during the Taliban days.”
I know that you’re as tickled as I am that more Afghans have cell phones these days. Better to call ahead to warn the Taliban that our troops are coming.
York reminds us, if we needed it, that the “hearts and minds” strategy is, well, lots of bad words come to mind. Let me just say that it is unconvincing. These primitives in Afghanistan are never going to love us. They’re only going to sell out to the highest bidder, but like any crook, they’ll only stay bought until they a) get a better offer, b) have important body parts hacked off if they don’t join the jihadis.