By Darryl Mason
Pakistan's President Musharraf has been talking tough while touring the US during the past week, as he meticulously promotes his new book, In The Line Of Fire.
The book was originally going to be a round-up of Musharraf's career and a recent history of Pakistan, but the majority of the book is consumed by Musharraf spilling his guts on his version of the events of 9/11 and the 'War On Terror' that followed.
In headline grabbing interviews last week, Musharraf came across as a man righteously pissed off at how much criticism Pakistan has copped for allowing Islamic extremism to flourish in his country.
His book, and the round of American interviews, are all about settling scores and getting his version of the 'War On Terror' into the headlines. He has been remarkably successful at doing just that.
Musharraf is rumourd to have scored a cool million for the book, and it has already proved to be one of the most controversial tomes ever written by a serving world leader.
There's plenty of good reasons for all that controversy.
For starters, Musharraf reveals in his book that the very first phone call he got on 9/11 from America was from then Secretary of State, Colin Powell, who laid down the law with one clear message that would become President Bush's matra : "You're either with us, or against us."
Musharraf makes it very clear that the United States' first target of opportunity in US plans to strike back for 9/11 was Pakistan, not Afghanistan.
Incredibly, Musharraf's first reaction after Powell's phone call was to sit down with his war cabinet and contemplate just how Pakistan would sqaure up in a full-blown military conflict with the US. This was serious stuff. Pakistan had, and still has, nukes. If Pakistan did not do what the US told them to, they would have had their nukes...well, nuked :
So Musharraf admits that while he was opposed to terrorism in general, he only made the decision to join the US in the new war after he realised Pakistan could not win, or withstand, a full blown US military assault.
I made a dispassionate, military-style analysis of our options....I war-gamed the United States as an adversary. There would be a violent and angry reaction if we didn’t support the United States. Thus the question was: if we do not join them, can we confront them and withstand the onslaught? The answer was no, we could not...
Musharraf was deeply troubled about backing the US in the 'War Against Terror' (as it was then known). He knew the Taleban, and al-Qaeda, enjoyed vast support from Pakistanis, and he was risking his own political career, and it turns out his own life, by throwing his side in with the US in the new war :
The ultimate question that confronted me was whether it was in our national interest to destroy ourselves for the Taleban. Were they worth committing suicide over? The answer was a resounding no.
Musharraf doesn't refer to his quandry as a "choice", he called it "the ultimate question".This book is Musharraf fighting back against critics in his own country, and around the world, and trying to secure his place in history as man who realised the mistakes that had been made in using extremists and terrorists as supplementary fighters, particularly in the 1980s during the Afghanistan War.
The history of al-Qaeda and the Taleban told by Musharraf is a version of history that no US president of the past two decades has ever had the balls to even go near, and Musharraf's telling of the growth of these terrorist groups confirms a lot of the legends about Osama Bin Laden and the help he received in his remarkable rise through the 1990s.
Go Here For The Full Story.
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