Of Regrets and Apologies

Of Regrets and Apologies

 “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”, said Hillary Rodham Clinton to Hina Rabbani Khar on a telephone call, and Pakistan reopens its border to NATO supply convoys into Afghanistan after a seven-month blockade, shut since November, when an American aircraft killed 24 Pakistan soldiers.


The nation went into shock and twitter was bombarded with questions like ‘Was this really an apology’, ‘they said sorry which they say even when they sneeze and did not apologize’ and ‘Is Clinton Camera-shy for a formal apology?’


I sat down and thought for a moment, ‘Would we be happy and satisfied if the word regret and sorry is replaced by an apology, a formal one, with a US official appearing on media?  The civilian and military leadership was so inclined to open the land routes that even a slightest blink of the eye was enough for them?  How was  it different from Cameron Munter’s condolences given immediately after the incident and those too in Urdu for which he must have done an extra effort to sound more convincing to the sheeple he was addressing to. And, hand over heart, would you be satisfied if your wishes or demands of a ‘formal apology’ are met and believe these statements coming from a super power that has a history of war crimes and lies very well acknowledged by internationally accredited activists and impartial commentators. Let us go through just a few of these.


-Just a few months ago, US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta apologised to the Afghan people for an incident in which copies of the Quran were burned and said that it wasn’t intentional.


‘These actions do not represent the views of the United States military. We honour and respect the religious practices of the Afghan people, without exception.”


NATO commander John Allen also addressed to the ‘noble Afghans’ and that too with an extra effort of learning to say ‘Assalam Alaikum’ and ‘Manan, Tashakkur’ to ‘calamin-ise’ the blistered sentiments with his amazing Pushto and Persian.


-Shortly after that international media breaks the news, that a course for US military officers has been teaching that America’s enemy is Islam in general and suggesting that the country might ultimately have to obliterate theIslamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina without regard for civilian deaths, following second world war precedents of the nuclear attack on Hiroshima.


“This would leave open the option once again of taking war to a civilian population wherever necessary (the historical precedents of Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima, Nagasaki being applicable to the Mecca and Medina destruction decision point).”


The Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman General Martic Dempsey responded to it as “the material in the course was counter to American appreciation for religious freedom and cultural awareness. It was just totally objectionable, against our values, and it wasn’t academically sound,”


-A few weeks after burning of the Holy Quran incident, comes the horrible news of a US sergeant killing 16 innocent civilians, out of whom 9 were children and later all the bodies were set alight.  As always, the authorities tried to explain, they do not represent anybody. They were just mad (disagrees Robert Fisk).


Remember, US senator John Kerry was “deeply sorry” over the killing of two Pakistanis by a US official, and promised justice if he was handed over the US and absolutely nothing happened? Similarly, there are numerous incidents which have torn apart United States claims of freedom and equality, belief in humanity and justice for all. Illegitimate drone attacks on Pakistani soil and civilian casualties are very frequent. Detainees in the Guantanamo held without charge, Abu Ghuraib’s disturbing pictures where the soldier refuses to apologize for her ‘prisoner on the leash’ and other disturbing treatment, US military officials using Quran as target practice and urinating on corpses,  Aafia Siddiqui’s physical and sexual abuses in the world’s most horrifying jail,  sentenced for allegedly shooting (missing the target) a US soldier while a Marine gets three months in jail for massacring two dozen civilians in Iraq, are just a few. With a war that began with a lie of ‘Weapons of mass destruction’ in Iraq, US remains the first and the only country to have used Nuclear weapons and has the biggest manufacturer and supplier of chemical weapons. Let’s also recall heavy usage of white phosphorus on the cities of Fallujah.


A former American soldier who fought at Fallujah says:


“I heard the order to pay attention because they were going to use white phosphorus on Fallujah. In military jargon it’s known as Willy Pete. Phosphorus burns bodies, in fact it melts the flesh all the way down to the bone, I saw the burned bodies of women and children. Phosphorus explodes and forms a cloud. Anyone within a radius of 150 metres is done for.”


What has the US or the NATO apologised for in the past? And if they have apologised, have the injustices and war crimes stopped? Have they ever apologised for Hiroshima ‘formally’ or for the usage of napalm, bombs and chemical weapons on Vietnam civilians? I must mention, they felt ‘sorry’ for deliberate syphilis infections in Guatemala as a part of medical tests without prior consent.


So my dear countrymen, what is it that we really want? With this history of regrets and condolences of the masters, even a formal apology means nothing. I remember from my childhood what my mum used to say every now and then to my little brother, ‘My son, you say sorry and then repeat the same thing? What kind of an apology is this? Saying ‘sorry’, means you admit your mistake and you would never do that again’. Unfortunately this does not mean anything in the real world and our mums had kept us in a world of fantasy and text bookish philosophy which we only come to find out as almost non-existent as we grow up to the ugliness of the mighty in this world.


A dog is no doubt man’s best friend. But, either we should demand our spineless leadership to come out of this ‘ideal friendship’ and live like a sovereign nation, who is capable enough to deal with its own issues (including terrorism that started after US invasion) or else they’ll keep wagging the tail and make us all a mere joke . The precious 24 soldiers would never come back and nor would the thousands of other military and civilian losses which didn’t get a name. The solution is:  this war MUST end!


I leave with you the words of an American activist, a daughter of a Jewish mother and an Iraqi father demanding the same as I do today. No justice, No peace!


Aisha Aijaz

A Doctor,specializing in Acute Medicine. She writes about Pakistan politics & read urdu poetry

  • Justice_is_peace

    Excellent blog and an eye-opener for those who are still sleeping.

  • furrkhshah

    We will be fools and out right stupid if we blame Americans for this laps, first of all we must have calibre and wisdom to ask and grill own so called democratic government (which was brought by us selling our votes) on the subject. Can US enter Pakistan without consent of our government! never, so why waste our breath abusing US. we must have the wisdom to know who to abuse.


    Ms Aisha says — “But, either we should demand our spineless leadership to come out of this ‘ideal friendship’ and
    live like a sovereign nation, who is capable enough to deal with its
    own issues (including terrorism that started after US invasion) or else
    they’ll keep wagging the tail and make us all a mere joke.”

    The day your leadership — and I mean your entire leadership — the army the ISI, the judiciary and the civilian — develops the SPINE to stand in front of the Talibans eye ball to eye ball — shoeing you the picture of 15 decapitated Pakistani soldiers’ heads — and not wag its strategic depth tail in submission — from that day on you can ask the Americans to wag their apology tails before you and they will wag their tails.

    Until then quit inciting the people with your long sentences rabble rousing — against your only true friend – the United States of America.

    • Raheel

      Come out the false influences/inspiration you have in your mind about ‘
      the United States of America’. You look ‘foe’ as ‘friend’.

  • fslcanuck

    Its all about perspective. If you see things from one perspective this article looks great. Another perspective would be that Taliban has killed over 10,000 security personnel so why so concerned about 24 killed by NATO. Taliban also took war to civilian areas by carrying out bombing in public. Same way, you need to ask why FATA gets drone attacks and not rest of the Pakistan? How about you go there and establish authority in FATA. I would like to know how many of you will comeback alive. There is no such thing as justice or peace. Its a Jungle. You people were use to be king here and everybody else was use to be your workers. Now another King has come over and he wants you to decide if you want to be King or Worker. One choice has a future, another one doesn’t.

    • Shahzad

      no matter how much you twist the facts or in what ever way or perspective you view, all of these problems boil down to one thing its all due to lack of socio-economic equality, this is something which is being realized by the 99% population of america but they are being en-prisoned within their own country by the 1% elite with no way out, they have tried to protest but have been beatened up and tortured over protesting, so ordinary american public is also a victum of capitalism system, what would we the people in third world country would expect from the 1% ellite controlled super power

  • Dr Dean

    Excellent Blog.
    But who will open the eyes of people like the one who posted the comment regarding US’s friendship towards us? Take the case of Aafia.
    Even if shes a terrorist then does she deserve those punishments that she has been suffering from?? What has US done so far for massacre in Myanmar?
    Our nation is deep asleep. People please wake up.

  • Shahzad

    most doctors are not humans any more just dip in lust for earning more and more without regards to any other values in life a sad thing

  • Mirza

    First of all a very excellent blog and an eye-opener for all the peoples, who have heart for the humanity and for the misery of Pakistani people. When i see the situations around me in Pakistan, i always think that when we people will get educated in a real manner. The educated people of our country do not try to change the system, and that’s why these heartless people are ruling our country. They have no self respect for themselves and for this country. Moreover, we are just following the instructions given by America, its okay that we should cooperate american army and the world for the sake of peace in Afghanistan. However, its shameful for us and for the whole country that we are arguing and blocking the NATO supply just for the money. We are dealing with the blood of those pakistanies those were martyred intentionally. Now we are just increasing our demands and that’s why we opened the NATO supply. I am sorry for the word ‘we’, i used this word only because of pakistani, when other country people will listen to us they will say the same thing and i feel guilty most of the time for this reason. I don’t want this and same like me many pakistanies never want this situations.

  • Bhai_Mian

    What Bull Crap. But since probably it is coming from an expat living in the USA so i can understand.