THE United States House of Representatives has approved an aid programme worth one billion dollars for Pakistan in its struggle against militancy. The figure that the Senate had approved is a hundred million dollars short of the lower house's aid, meaning the total amount would probably have to be somewhere between. The aid is classified as security and economic aid, both of which Pakistan needs. But it is the former, which it needs in a very immediate sense. The armed forces are waging a war in the troubled Swat valley, which is leading to a large amount of civilian displacement. This displacement, if lingered on for a longer period of time, is going to cause an immense amount of resentment against the state and the armed forces, which is, predictably, going to be cashed in on by the militants later on. Furthermore, the operation itself has many shortcomings. The US counter-insurgency rulebook has been rewritten. They are trading their uses of airpower and artillery for a more extensive use of infantry. Sure, this approach yields more casualties but collateral damage is minimized. The Pakistan Army, unfortunately, is yet to engage in this dangerous yet more effective mode of warfare. The money that the US is giving in terms of military aid should be spent on gearing the infantry with the necessary equipment and training that is required in waging such a war. Another aspect that must be taken care of is the necessity of accountability. There are widespread allegations of graft in the money that the government and the armed forces secured from the US during the Musharraf regime. A full-fledged investigation into where that money went should be launched in earnest. We, as a nation, should not be on the dole. If circumstances dictate that we are to accept aid from other nations, we should at least make sure that money is spent not only honestly, but also wisely.