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Schools not Troops?

In case you missed it, Nicholas Kristof had an interesting piece about Afghanistan late last week where he posits that instead of a doomed-to-fail...


In case you missed it, Nicholas Kristof had an interesting piece about Afghanistan late last week where he posits that instead of a doomed-to-fail attempt at counterinsurgency, we should spend the money on education instead. Why? Because "for the cost of a single additional soldier stationed in Afghanistan for one year, we could build roughly 20 schools there."He builds the argument well, citing awesome organizations that have successfully built and maintained schools in the country-none of which get closed or bombed by the Taliban as some might like to say. There is plenty of evidence that education transforms countries for the better, and very little that a military strategy, such as the one currently underway, will produce such great results. With the death toll mounting-including that of an explosives expert just yesterday-it's a nice time to be contemplating other strategies.While I agree that it's money better spent-in general and also in terms of so-called nation-building-it doesn't quite address what we should do right now in Afghanistan. It's sort of like like saying "Would you like an apple or a pear?" and someone saying "I'd like a pizza." (Who wouldn't?) At the same time, it's out-of-box thinking that will likely provide the smartest move forward.So what do you think? Schools not bombs?Image from Greg Mortenson's nonprofit Ikat, which has opened many schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan.