President Obama has decided against issuing a formal apology to Pakistan over a NATO airstrike that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, even as the State Department insists he must do so to salvage relations with Pakistan, officials tell the New York Times. The administration is instead backing the Defense Department, which thinks the US has apologized enough, and wants Obama to wait at least until its internal investigation of the incident is complete.
“The US government has offered its deepest condolences for the loss of life, from the White House and from Secretary Clinton and Secretary Panetta,” said an NSA spokesman. Another potentially large factor: Some administration officials fear an apology would be a potent bludgeon for Obama’s 2012 opponent. Pakistan has to “recognize that political dynamics in the United States will lead to a hardening of US positions,” says former Clinton official David Rothkopf, adding, “The prognosis for US-Pakistani relations is bleak.”