Media sabres having rattled mercilessly in the railing against General Pervez Musharraf, once he departed were directed at a new target - the United States of America. The press rattling poses a minimum danger but the electronic media is lethal, reaching out as it does to the largely illiterate and easily-influenced masses, stirring up the popular but short-sighted prevalent anti-Americanism. Some of the efficient promoters of this latest attack campaign are a few disgruntled retired army generals, the latest recruit to their ranks being the former CGS Lt General Shahid Aziz who served under Musharraf. He is now trying to tell us that all decisions regarding waging the War On Terror were taken unilaterally by Musharraf, without the knowledge of his fellow generals. This is almost impossible to believe, particularly in the case of the ISI chief, who is now our COAS. What point he is attempting to make, or how he is helping the overall situation, is unclear. The people, of course, do not know the truth, neither do our brave drawing-room and TV studio flame throwers - though the fiery generals must be privy to many a fact regarding the 'agreement' made by the US and Musharraf and the new 'agreement' made with Asif Zardari prior to his planned elevation. According to news reports, small numbers of American troops have been operating in Pakistan for years in conjunction with the Pakistan army. So, there is not much that is new. Zardari, thankfully and obviously, is reluctant to utter on the 'crush America' movement (which seems to have replaced the 1971 'crush India' cry). His prime minister has, sadly for the battle criers, declared that Pakistan will not declare war upon America. They may however find some consolation in the avowal of the army chief, General Ashfaq Kiyani, that Pakistan will return fire with fire. This reckless war-mongering is merely strengthening the hand of the local Taliban who as of now are responsible for far more death and destruction than the American forces. Pakistani Taliban are killing hundreds of their fellow Pakistanis all over the frontier area with impunity, displacing thousands more, yet our belligerent drawing-room and TV studio preachers direct no guns at them. The would-be warriors have a seriously distorted sense of Pakistan's size and strength. David and Goliath may be an example they look to, but then Pakistan is not even a David in comparison to today's Goliath. Should the stress not be on cooling down an inflamed nation rather than stoking its fires? In this state of ignorance, does wisdom not dictate that caution and dialogue rather than shooting from the hip, be the order of the day? Pakistan has been paid over USD 10 billion over these seven years of the WOT for its participation in fighting the terrorists of this world concentrated in the northern areas of Pakistan and in Afghanistan. If it accepts payment, it must play its part. That is what the Americans are asking it to do. And if it is incapable of doing so, then logically it needs help. It is not clear at what our armchair and TV studio war mongers are really aiming. It may be mere rhetoric, but whatever it is, it is dangerous. Do they want President Zardari to throw down the gauntlet, do they want the unfortunate prime minister to retract his words and declare war. A number of guns have been aimed at Pakistan's ambassador in Washington who, in the light of what emanates from the homeland, has a tough job on his hands trying to control the situation. Would the sofa-studio wallahs have it that rather than using diplomatic argument and discussion he marches into the White House and threatens to nuke Washington? Ad hominen attacks upon a country's representative who is trying to do his job, and who is appreciated by the Washingtonians seem counter-productive. Is it not in our favour to have a man with unlimited access, whose mission is to pacify rather than inflame? Is it not better to engage the US diplomatically and say, "May we suggest you do not escalate," rather than to threaten war which is sheer stupidity - a case of pride trumping reason? Reportedly, the mood in Washington is ugly. Unless there is a change over here, Pakistan will end up being viewed as the enemy - a recent poll indicates that even the ordinary Joe in Iowa now considers Pakistan to be a source of danger to the US. Should we not at least try to dispel this image? A truth must be realised, and that is that though there are those who erroneously believe that that US would pay a heavy price for its 'incursions', it can cause irreversible damage to Pakistan if provoked. Dreams and delusions about future triumphs should not goad the nation into a potential disaster. If the Pakistan army can take care of things on its side of the border, the US will not need military operations inside Pakistan. For the present, we are incapable of even waging a successful war against our local Taliban so what is the point in getting carried away with jingoism and vitriolic rhetoric against what is accepted as an 'ally'? We must show effectiveness and commitment in the containment of the Jihadis who cover and prowl the frontier regions, but this will not be possible if we continue to make distinctions amongst the various groups, thereby inviting retaliation. The national mindset is in need of an urgent readjustment. The writer is a freelance columnist E-mail: arfc@cyber.net.pk