The United States' utter disregard of the sensitivities of Pakistan about the sanctity of its sovereignty, which were clearly reflected in the 14-point resolution unanimously passed by the joint session of the two houses of parliament on 22nd October, should no longer surprise political observers. Its policymakers must have dismissed the parliamentary consensus as a mere irritant worthy to be brushed aside, knowing full well that its wording, "the nation stands united against any incursions and invasions of the homeland, and calls upon the government to deal with it effectively," was not a hollow expression. But they had heard such sentiments forcefully expressed through the various forums time and again since their armed forces began violating our territory early 2006. They were confident that except for voicing protests, the Pakistanis would not dare do anything against the mighty superpower. The periodic missile attacks naturally cause an outrage and create anti-American feelings across the country that should hardly be expected to serve Washington's most cherished cause of eliminating the curse of terrorism. But while the words of the resolution were still resounding in the main chamber of the National Assembly, the Pentagon's Predators took to pounding villages in the tribal area, as if it had heard nothing to stay their hands, and in the four aerial incursions beginning from the small hours of 23rd October have killed nearly 50 persons. The Americans had been dissatisfied at Pakistan's attitude during the Musharraf era and had termed it as pro-Taliban and ambivalent, accusing it of passing on sensitive information to the very militants whom its security forces were supposed to eliminate or arrest and letting them quietly escape. Thus the mantra of "do more" endlessly voiced by western leaders and analysts who expressed their views about the role the country was playing in fighting the scourge. However, since the advent of the democratic rule, there have been indications of a sense of relief coming from the American political and media circles about the changed posture Islamabad had adopted towards militancy. One was not hoping the US to persist in the policy of bombing our territory. Instead, the attacks have become more frequent and since August this year 18 of them have taken place. The 14-point parliamentary resolution outlining a comprehensive strategy to deal with the issue has, it seems, heightened the Bush administration's concern because it gave the primacy of place to holding dialogue "with all those elements willing to abide by the constitution of Pakistan and rule of law". Somehow, it is convinced that the willingness to hold talks, meant to appease the roused local sentiments, would in fact provide the militants respite to gather greater strength. There hardly appears to be another reason for it to feel disturbed; for American officials (like Defence Secretary Robert Gates) are themselves encouraging pliable sections of the Taliban to come to the negotiating table. In other words, the daunting nature of the challenge, made more intractable by the wilting European will to keeping fighting, is being recognised in the top advisory circles of President Bush. Apart from the superpower hubris that the reverses in the two ongoing wars should have dented, the Bush administration is in a hurry. While the Pakistani leadership views the situation from a long-term perspective that visualises the restoration of lasting peace once the Taliban-Al-Qaeda phenomenon has subsided, the Bush administration is desperate to score some tangible gain in the little time left  in its stay in the White House. The consequences for Islamabad are not much of its concern. Having etched his name among the worst presidents in American history, who brought a bulging budget surplus left behind by President Clinton to a heavily debt-ridden state and made the world more dangerous than before, Mr George W. Bush is keen to show that the policies that have dragged him into this disreputable position have pointed the way to success. If the reckless aerial operations the Pentagon launches at will in Pakistan's tribal region result in the death or capture of a top militant leader like Osama bin Laden or Dr Ayman Al-Zawahiri he could tell his people and the world that he has not only avenged 9/11 but also taken out the kingpin of modern-day terrorism. While this might help in retrieving his position to an extent and improve the chances of Republican presidential hopeful John McCain replacing him, for eliminating terrorism he had better take the counsel of his senior military commanders, who have lately been unambiguously saying that armed action alone would not win the war. The US administration (of Bush, Obama or McCain) should know that Pakistan has, right from the beginning, been advising it to go to the root causes of terrorism and redress the historical injustices the people in various parts of the world have borne. The use of force would further complicate matters and certainly not create a climate of lasting reconciliation. Pressurising Islamabad to rely only on arms to eliminate militancy would have serious consequences for its nascent democratic order and also go against Washington's own interests. E-mail: