12/20/10 at 8:00 AM
If Gen. David Petraeus gets his wish, this will be the year of the snake. America’s top officer in Afghanistan recently explained his war plan as the “anaconda strategy,” designed to “squeeze the life” out of the Taliban insurgency. And according to the Pentagon, it’s working already. In Helmand and the Taliban’s home province, Kandahar, the military says, the insurgents’ momentum has been slowed or even reversed by thousands of U.S. reinforcements using get-tough tactics. In fact, another year or two of such victories might conceivably reduce the insurgency in the south to a worrisome but tolerable nuisance.