NEW YORK - A respected US literary magazine has posed the question: An internal investigation found that the US shares blame for an errant Nato strike that killed 24 Pakistanis, so why won’t President  Obama say we’re sorry?

In a dispatch, The Atlantic, citing US officials, said that the Obama administration is actively considering issuing an apology or at least an expression of contrition to Pakistan over the incident, even though nearly two months have passed since the completion of an official Pentagon investigation that partially blamed mistakes made by US forces for the incident.

Elaborating some issues in taking that step, the magazine wrote, “The State Department has resurrected the idea after repudiating the US ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron Munter, early on when he pressed for an immediate apology following the incident last November. A Pentagon official, asked about the possibility of a statement of apology or contrition last month, at first said he was unaware there was any discussion going on, then a few days later acknowledged that it was. Now the White House is mulling the language and timing of such a statement, a US official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “US officials are waiting, in part, on a Pakistani parliamentary committee report. And they are hoping for some conciliatory language from Islamabad because, as one US official said, it would make issuing a US statement easier ‘if the Pakistanis accepted some responsibility’.

 for the Nato incident, which involved miscommunications and poor coordination on both sides, according to the US military inquiry report.

“The internal disagreement over whether to assuage the Pakistanis with a face-saving expression of apology or contrition is part of a larger debate within the administration as it puzzles its way through the Afghan endgame. With the United States pushing for talks with the Taliban ahead of a planned withdrawal that is to be phased in starting in 2013, Washington knows that without some help from Islamabad, America could end up bequeathing a huge safe haven to the Taliban in Pakistan, which has sought to support the group as a strategic asset.

“Making matters even stickier, the debate comes in an election season when President Obama is being regularly accused of appeasement and, as Mitt Romney regularly puts it, ‘apologizing for America. Until now the farthest the US government has gone is to ‘express our deepest regret’ for ‘the loss of life, and for the lack of proper coordination between US and Pakistani forces that contributed to those losses’.