No tit for this tat
What the DGMO told senior journalists on Tuesday when quizzed about the absence of a military response to the Nato attack in Mohmand that killed 24 troops was a realistic answer. The general frankly conceded that a military response was not an option on account of the technological disparity between the two sides. Scrambling the air force would mean declaring war and the military simply can’t fight the NATO-ISAF with the handicap. What is required he said, was a political and diplomatic response. The remark is indicative of a somewhat belated awareness of the importance of political, rather than military, means in resolving international issues. This would discourage non-professional hawks itching to see tit-for-tat retaliation irrespective of its outcome. Wars, they tend to forget, are fought to win and not lose.
The government has already taken a number of political and diplomatic measures. The Prime Minister has told the US that after the barbaric attack there is to be no more business as usual between the two countries. The federal cabinet has endorsed the DCC decisions, announced a boycott of the Bonn conference and resolved to take the matter to a joint session of parliament to decide the mode of tackling it. The CIA has already been given a notice to vacate the Shamsi air base. The frustrated hawks would do well to await the results of these measures instead of venting their frustration on the government.
This brings us back to the much repeated truth about wars being too serious a matter to be left to the generals. There is a need on the part of the political leadership to redefine the country’s security paradigm because the issue of technological disparity is not confined to the western border but remains a disquieting reality on the eastern border also. To be able to exercise supremacy over the military as envisioned in the constitution, the political class needs to improve its abysmal performance, particularly in the spheres of governance and economy, which are crucial for national security. Only then will it be able to command a moral authority needed to stop all institutions from overstepping their defined spheres.