We had demanded an ‘unconditional apology’. President Obama gave us a diddly-squat.We had demanded an ‘unconditional apology’. Defence Secretary Leon Panetta gave us a goose egg.
We had demanded an ‘unconditional apology’. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said “sorry”. They say that Obama cannot dole out too many ‘apologies’ in an election year. Defence Secretary Panetta is a ‘war hawk’ and all he has for Pakistan are goose eggs and hills of beans.
Secretary of State Clinton has already decided not to serve in a potential second-term Obama cabinet – and thus Clinton was made to say “sorry”.Technically, “sorry” is an expression of sympathy, condolence, regret or pity. Sentence examples of ‘sorry’ include: “Looking in the mirror I felt very sorry for myself”; “I can’t say sorry because I don’t feel wrong, do you want me to lie to myself?”; “Sorry ass out of bed at a respectable hour”.
Technically, to apologise is to admit guilt, fault, injury or insult. An apology is a “regretful acknowledgement of an offense or failure.”Here’s what Secretary Clinton offered: “Foreign Minister Khar and I acknowledged the mistakes that resulted in the loss of Pakistani military lives...We are sorry for the losses suffered by the Pakistani military. We are committed to working closely with Pakistan and Afghanistan to prevent this from ever happening again.”
To begin with, the word “apology” is absent in the 44-word statement. Secondly, there is absolutely no admittance of guilt, fault, injury or insult. The essence of the statement actually asserts that “mistakes” were committed by both sides.
The game between the US and Pakistan was all about ‘who blinks first’. Pakistani generals completely forgot that relations between states depend on relative power, both military power and economic power. We had demanded an ‘unconditional apology’. We got zilch. Naturally, the “loser in the staring game is the person who blinks first.”
The writer is a columnist based in Islamabad. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org