Joshua Foust decided to parse my use of literary criticism to deconstruct Afghan roads as an element of COIN strategy, and the result isn’t pretty:
Here, though, Grunstein’s argument falls apart. There is preciouslittle evidence that a) “Afghans” have a homogenous identity; b) thecurrent “intrusion” by the outside world is any more significant orjarring than it was before 1979; or c) they actually dislike roads. Infact, of all the people I’ve spoken to the last two months—Pashtuns, noless—they want more, rather than fewer, roads. They see roads as the key to prosperity—a simplistic view, perhaps, but no less heartfelt.
In all fairness to Grunstein, that is, to me, I wasn’t trying to suggest that Afghans have a homogeneous identity, but rather that individual isolated villages within Afghanistan have a homogeneous identity. As for the rest, fair enough.
Foust goes on to explain where the real trouble with roads lies without resorting to narrative deconstruction. Needless to say, it’s more straightforward, but not necessarily easier to solve.