We are unfortunate that our old soldiers never die but they also refuse to fade away. Creating myriad problems for their civilian masters. The latest example is Maj Gen (retd) Durrani (whose claim to fame was the GOC Multan when Gen Ziaul Haq's plane was loaded with the exploding mangoes, and Zia along with numerous high ranking officers including Lt Gen Akhtar Abdur Rahman and the US ambassador perished in an as yet unsolved mysterious crash. Gen Durrani retired from the army shortly after that, and after a while started being consulted by various US think tanks. When Musharraf took over as president he was the sounding board for Musharraf in the US and vice versa. His services to Musharraf earned him a special place of trust, and he was elevated as ambassador to the United States. He was the main interlocutor between the late Benazir and the Americans, and was the architect of the NRO which succeeded in clearing the path for the return of the PPP, With the confidence of the Americans and a close knowledge of the army set-up, he was soon a part of the track two diplomatic channel to India. Both sides claimed huge strides in the breaking down of the old animosity between the two, but the Mumbai bombing showed exactly how fragile the patch up was, and the quick escalation to a near war situation exposed the myth of the track two diplomacy. In the many years that Gen Durrani played the intermediary between the US, Musharraf and Benazir, his major success (?) came about because the main actors in the drama were all desperate for a resolution of their problems, and it (the NRO) seemed to fit the bill. For the India Pakistan solution would take longer, and the diplomats on both sides are far too professional to be given to quick fixes, and that to by amateurs. In the meantime the fixers enjoyed the hype and the high profile accorded them by the regular diplomats who knew that they would of necessity return to the regular channel. The biggest failure of Durrani was his inability to impress upon the Americans that the fault lay in the incorrect assumptions on their (the American) side thinking they could blitz their way through this war. Eventually they would have to come to ground, where they would be fought to a standstill, as indeed the position stands today. Durrani for his part could not convince the Americans that the economic drought left behind in the wake of the Russian retreat had left the Afghans poorer than ever before, and immediately after 9/11 the angry bombing ordered by Bush reduced 90 percent of Afghanistan to rubble. It was an act of insanity, and without cause. The poor Afghans had done nothing to incur this horrific punishment. The same as in Iraq. The Iraqis for their part had done nothing, to deserve the savagery that was visited upon them. When the history of the world is written these two instances will be held as examples of the brutality that can be hidden in the minds of educated civilised people. Indeed the Nazis were also a highly advanced society, which degenerated into a blood letting that was never as one sided as that seen in the last five years. Topped only by the Israeli massacre of the Palestinians in Gaza and continuing as this is being read. Gen Durrani would have served Pakistan better if he had been able to get the Americans to drop the 'do more' refrain, and set about rebuilding the region economically. With the ten years of Musharraf's dictatorship, underwritten by the American need for a comfort level that could only be supplied by a compliant military general. Far more sensible would have been the convincing of the Americans that the solution is not military but economic. The killing will only breed more hatred. But poverty creates a lasting and deeper wound. Osama bin Laden was smart he offered revenge, never did he offer a better life here, but succeeded in blaming the US for our ills including our poverty. The Americans must create a new Marshall Plan. For it may assuage the guilt for all the sins of their unnecessary wars they and their protg Israel have unleashed upon the world. This should have been the mission of the general. If he was genuinely interested in bringing peace to the neighbourhood. But some generals are convinced that they are smarter and more competent than the civilians, even though he may be the elected prime minister. But if the general has stepped out of line and is sacked, he cannot go whining in public against the prime minister. He cannot make statements to the effect that the PM acted in haste He must be told to shut up, even if Uncle Sam is his God Father. Similarly Gen Hamid Gul must be muzzled for his rantings on the TV channels may be construed as unofficial policy, and the blame for the Mumbai bombings could continue to be directed towards us. These generals would be well advised to fade away, and take their bigotry away with them. The writer is a political analyst