Excerpt from The War Diary of SHAPE Public Affairs Rue Grande, 7020 Maisières April 20, 2015 9:30 AM
Coffee en route to work. Urgent phone call from Chief. Our new worst fears have been realized. Our old worst fears were that Afghanistan would come to us, just like Lord Robertson of Crossharbour said. Or was that Conrad Black? Anyway, whoever it was and now that it has, we can turn our full attention to developments in Libya. There are of course still details to attend to in shuttering the ISAF Public Affairs office: moving furniture, shredding documents, and choosing paint. Libya will not wait however. An urgent meeting was convened in the Bar of the Hotel Amigo, at lunch. 12:00 PM, Hotel Amigo bar. It's really very nice. The task before us is to portray the Victory of NATO in Libya as the Great Victory it actually was. Something triumphed over something else, and we won. Now, after all that successful bombing and strafing and budget expenditure, ungrateful wretches are washing up on shores all over the Mediterranean. How to craft these images into strategic communication? 1:00 PM Adjourned for working lunch. 4:00 PM Reconvened. Brainstorming session. Suggestions were: spruce up wretches for a few weeks, give them new clothes, and take them back to Libya at night; the same, but put them all in Malta; shoot them. The last was seen as unsporting, at least without giving them a head start. Hellfire missiles are much tidier (no survivors) and more cost effective (no food, clothing, or painful interviews to corrupt the Strategic Message). 6:00 PM Voila, Declaration of the Hotel Amigo: everything is going according to plan, even though there was never a plan. Libyans who choose to swim the Mediterranean in hopes of a better life are unfortunately ill-advised. Public Affairs will develop an Education Action Plan for unrealistic Med swimmers. It will be in Arabic, even. 11:00 PM Informal discussion.