A. R. Jerral General (retd) Pervez Musharraf, in an article published on June 6, 2011, has given the details of circumstances and considerations that compelled him to take the fateful decision to join the US coalition in Afghanistan on the war against the Taliban. However, there are lobbies in Pakistan who either support or oppose the decision and have their reason for it. But this article does not focus on these reasons. General Musharraf has given a detailed analysis of the losses and harms of an anti-US stand and just hints at the socio-economic and military gains that would accrue from the alliance with the West. But he has not elaborated on those gains for anyone to comment upon in any objective manner, while the harms that he has spelled out may leave many doubts in the minds of the Pakistani nation. He admits that he was angrily told by the US to be either with us or against us with a threat that if against America then Pakistan should be prepared to be bombed back to the Stone Age. It was a potent threat and the decision was surely not easy, but then heads of states are required to take difficult decisions; leading and ruling a nation is a difficult calling. The leaders take such decisions on the basis of their support from the masses, and eventually they rise or fall together. History is full of such events and only posterity gives a verdict either in favour or against. So far the results of his decision have not proved any good for Pakistan. He says that an anti-US decision would have been a foolhardy, rash and most unwise, as it would have irreparably compromised our strategic interests - our nuclear capability and the Kashmir cause. This he based on the assessment that in the event of going against the USA, it would, in collusion with India, trample Pakistan. Our airspace and land would have been violated and our air force would have been pitched against the combined might of the US and Indian forces. In his assessment, it appears that Pakistans military forces stood no chance of defending the country and stopping the trampling of Pakistan. It is, indeed, a very serious assessment that impacts gravely on the professional prowess of Pakistans armed forces. The General writes in his article that after having made his decision he had discussed it with his Cabinet, media men and leading columnists. He also states that he went to the army garrisons all over the country and talked to the soldiers and he had developed a broad consensus on his decision. Had this assessment been made by a civilian leader one could condone it, but coming from a person who was the COAS and responsible for maintaining the army at the highest professional level, one cannot ignore the observation. I am in no position to give an appropriate reply to this question; those who hold senior command responsibility in the armed forces are best equipped to publish a rebuttal to General (retd) Musharrafs claim. The scenario that the General paints needs serious analysis. A US-Indian collusion embarking on an advance through Pakistan to reach Afghanistan is not only foolhardy, it is farfetched. It calls for an attack on Pakistan from the Lahore-Sialkot border, crossing over major river and canal obstacles, traversing through major built-up areas and rugged mountainous terrain of Potohar, and passing through the tribal areas would be a nightmare of colossal dimensions; it could never be an easy drive. True that such a fantastic adventure would be preceded with overwhelming air strikes, yet Pakistan would have been capable of putting up formidable resistance and could sneak in retaliatory air strikes. In case the country was to be trampled, as the General had analysed, the golden eggs that Pakistan has were available and are not meant for safekeeping. If Pakistan had gone down, it certainly had and has the capability to take the other party down too. Any aggressor would think twice before venturing on such a foolhardy adventure. General (retd) Musharrafs reaction and decision reflects his character psyche. In his book, In the Line of Fire, he describes himself as a street smart kid, who had organised area gangs to intimidate the weaklings of the neighbourhood. This is a typical 'bully psyche: intimidate the weak and when faced with a bigger bully give in. He met a bigger international bully and crumbled and now is trying to justify his action. War is dirty business; it leaves death and destruction in its path. Saner societies and nations try to avoid it if they can, but when it impinges on a nations integrity then a self-respecting state rises with resolve and meets the challenge head-on. No one lives forever; it is death with dignity that places a nation on a higher moral pedestal. Whatever the General wanted saved from compromise has, unfortunately, not escaped the international pressures. Kashmir is a political and diplomatic problem, and deserves a separate treatment. Our nuclear assets have become almost a liability and we are bending backwards to prove to the US and the world that these are safe; their deterrent value has become suspect. Our territorial integrity is being violated everyday with immunity. Our airspace was violated in the Abbottabad episode with threats of similar violations in future. The people are being killed daily in drone attacks by the US. By bowing down to the American demands, Pakistan has not been able to avoid what General (retd) Musharraf had hoped to avoid. However, some recent episodes have tended to confirm his analysis. The nation has genuine worries and thus wants a clarification from its defence forces. I strongly urge the senior military command to debate what the General has publically stated and tell the nation about the professional prowess of those responsible for the national security. If in their assessment he is right, then the nation will be well advised to reassess the national priorities pragmatically and conduct the national affairs in a manageable manner. The writer is a freelance columnist.