US May Not Apologize for Killing Pakistani Soldiers

Obama Fears Looking 'Weak' by Copping to Mistake

Though reportedly the US and Pakistan are “close” to finalizing a deal to reopen the supply lines to occupied Afghanistan, the long-standing Pakistani demand for an apology for the November 26 US attack on Pakistani military bases remains a sticking point, and Pentagon officials are hinting that there may be no apology at all.

Reports have repeatedly emerged since November saying that the matter was being hotly debated in the Obama Administration among advisers, and so far all that has been offered was a vague expression of “regret” for the deaths, and officials insisted that the Pakistani military was at fault for getting bombed in the first place. This was followed by a call by then-Ambassador Cameron Munter for Pakistan to “get beyond” the killings.

The prospect of apologizing for doing something obviously wrong is a hugely political matter, particularly in an election year, and officials say that President Obama is concerned that he will “look weak” in dealing with people the US accidentally bombs if he officially apologizes for the action.

As ridiculous as it sounds, particularly with Pentagon officials emphasizing the importance of the Pakistan border crossings, the issue really does begin and end with the question of whether the US has a responsibility to apologize when it accidentally attacks an ally and kills a large number of soldiers. And in an election year, the incumbent seems to be leaning toward “no.”

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.