Gates Touts ‘Progress’ as Afghan Violence Soars

Insists He Is 'Confident' Despite Record Death Tolls

by Jason Ditz, September 03, 2010

22 US soldiers were killed in a four day span earlier this week, and two days ago it became official that 2010 was already the deadliest year for US troops in Afghanistan since the 2001 occupation began.

Yesterday, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was dressed down by Afghan President Hamid Karzai after NATO warplanes bombed a large number of campaign workers, killing at least 10 and severely wounding a candidate for parliament.

Typifying the short memories of top officials within the administration, Secretary Gates today toured a few bases and came away with boundless optimism, insisting that great progress has been made in the ever-worsening war and that he is “encouraged” by everything he sees.

Gates maintained that he is “confident” that the strategy of escalation announced in December, which has wrought nine consecutive months of record death tolls, is “working” and that he expects it to be vindicated in an upcoming December report on the war.

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