I often come across people who consider that Gen Musharraf’s U-Turn after 9-11 was the only alternative that the dictator had in the face of the threat from State Department official to bomb Pakistan back to stone age if Pakistan were to refuse to cooperate. A dictator general finding himself running out of ideas and options is typical of his training where he can only see lose-win or win-lose situations. The dictator generals trying to safeguard their illegitimate rule are pathologically incapable of thinking out of box and contemplating options that may exist outside the win-lose or lose-win box. On the other hand, politicians never run out of ideas even when their backs are to the wall. I personally think the fake commando general could have done several things, but in his false bravado and enclosed in his limited coterie of advisers he took the easiest way out. I think the preferred option would have been that he should have announced elections, transferred the power to an interim government and told USA that such decisions require consensus. He would have gained several months of time for Pakistan. Getting a political consensus from politicians is hard especially when backed by the military. They would have started bickering and playing politics. The pressure would have thus passed. Turkey did a similar thing when USA tried to pressure Turkey to give land access to US forces for invading Iraq. They referred the case to parliament that conveniently ruled out the possibility. This is Politics 101.
- See my detailed post: Are Generals Qualified to Make Long Term Strategy: Costs of Strategic Failures of Military Dictators
The question typically asked in Pakistan is what were the options. There were several options provided Gen Musharraf had loved Pakistan more than his ego to hold on to his illegitimate rule.
There can be several scenarios that can be built upon the above transfer of power to civilians option:
 Bush threatened to bomb Pakistan to Stone age, says Musharraf, The Guardian, Sep 22, 2006
“When the president looks me in the eye and says … that there won’t be a Taliban and there won’t be Al Qaeda, I believe him,” said Mr Bush. “This is a person with whom I’ve now had close working relationships for five and a half years.
“And when he says, if we find — or when we find Osama bin Laden, he will be brought to justice, I believe him. And we’ll let the tactics speak for themselves after it happens. We’re on the hunt together.”
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