hearts and minds

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hearts and minds pl (plural only)

  1. People's private feelings and emotions, now especially those of a local population towards an invading or occupying military force.
    • 1990, Peter Hopkirk, The Great Game, Folio Society 2010, p. 211:
      As experienced political officers, Sir William Macnaghten and Sir Alexander Burnes should have been aware of what was going on in Afghan hearts and minds, but relations between the two men had become badly strained.
    • 2006, Will Fowler, Britain's Secret War: The Indonesian Confrontation 1962-66, Osprey Publishing, p. 15:
      apart from road patrols they worked with the infantry and SAS, patrolled rivers in canoes, and carried out 'hearts & minds' programmes in the villages.
    • 2012, Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, The Guardian, 30 Apr 2012:
      Unlike in Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan, in Yemen they are trying to implement sharia by winning over the hearts and minds of the people.