'Regret' vs. 'Apology': Difference Is Big to Pakistan
US officials have debated for 6 months: Wall Street Journal
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 18, 2012 12:58 PM CDT
Supporters of Pakistan's religious party Jamaat-e-Islami burn a representation of a U.S. flag during a rally in Peshawar.   (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)

(Newser) – The Wall Street Journal offers a peek into the world of diplo-speak and semantics today. Its story examines how US officials have struggled for six months with a vexing question—whether to formally apologize to Islamabad for a November attack that killed 24 Pakistani troops at the Afghan border. The US has expressed "regret" for the incident, which hasn't satisfied Pakistan, and the decision on whether to go further has been "argued in dozens of video conference calls, nearly 20 high-level White House meetings, and hundreds of confidential emails."

A host of factors has complicated the matter, including the fear of looking weak, both to Pakistan and Republicans, along with the belief of US officials that Pakistan errors played a role in the mistaken attack. The story ends with two quotes that sum things up:

  • US official: "This goes to the fact that we don't know how to deal with the Pakistanis."
  • Pakistan source: "If the apology would have occurred in the first or the second day, as it should have, we could have moved on."
Read the full story here.