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What does General Musharraf want to win — a battle or the war?

Warfare is the name of the game, whether it is of military, political, social or economic nature. Each battlefield determines its own rules, tactics, strategies and goals. But one thing is regarded as common. The end result should be victory.
An important point to be kept in view in this context is that a war has a very different connotation than a battle has. Or a combat. To elucidate this point, let me give the example of the first Great War or the second one. Or the Korean war. Or the Vietnam war. Or any such war that did not end with a single defeat, or a single triumph. Wars are always spread over a period of time during which many combats take place and many battles are fought. Victory in no single combat or battle can be considered to mean that the war has been won.
George Bush had declared victory in the Iraq war as early as four years back. He had triumphantly told his people in particular, and the world in general that the Iraq file could be closed as Mission Accomplished.
How do we weigh this pronouncement four years later? America stands battered and bruised. The American President’s popularity has nose-dived and the political fortunes of his party have been sunk in the quagmire of Iraq?
The point I am trying to make here is – and I am sure our President—being a General should not find it hard to understand the rationale behind this point—that one can win a battle and still lose the war. The other option is to lose a battle and go on to win the war.
Was’nt Hitler winning all the battles on all the fronts till about the mid of 1943? Did’nt then begin the chain of reversals that ultimately led to his suicide in Berlin when his Capital fell in the hands of his adversaries.
There are great many lessons to be learnt from history. And the rules of political warfare cannot be very much different from those of the military one.
If President Musharraf continues to pursue ‘a victory’ that will turn out to be ‘not sustainable’ because of its consequences, he will at best be winning a battle, but sowing the seeds of a sad debacle in the war ahead.
It is in his own interest and in the interest of his country that a way out be found which ensures that the present battle does not get transformed into a clash of prides. General Musharraf should have his eyes on history.

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