Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fresh hell in Brussels

Excerpt from The War Diary of ISAF's Media Operations Centre NATO Headquarters Blvd Leopold III 1110 Brussels, Belgium Tuesday, Novermber 13, 2012 9:30 AM Au Repos de la Montagne Montagne de Saint-Job 39 Coffee en route to work. Oh, God.  It's four days to the weekend, and now this.  What will we do about Commander's Corner?!  "General Allen paints self into corner" -  the headlines write themselves.  My cell is having a grand mal.  There is a crash emergency meeting in Bar Le 31, Hotel Metropole, to work out our crisis response.  It reminded me of Friday, June 13, 2008, when the Taliban busted open Sarpoza Central Prison in Kandahar without anybody knowing about it, even though they had chartered buses to remove the occupants.  This was worse:  not only a crisis under our noses but probably other anatomy as well.  11:00  Bar Le 31.  The Chief was remarkably coherent for this time of day, although I questioned the location of such a confidential meeting in a hotel lobby.  I was told nobody in their right mind would expect us to have it there.  We heard that there are some 20,000-30,000 possibly incriminating pages shared by the Commander and some woman in Florida who has been described as the "Emily Post of targeted killing."  My curiosity was aroused, and fortunately the Chief shared this information with us as well, by posting it all on the MOC supersecret website that Wikileaks can only dream about.  The question was how to deal with this mass of information to formulate a consistent message that could be condensed into 7 talking points or less.  12:00 We all downloaded the information onto out laptops and adjourned for a working lunch.  15:00 Each breakout group had been tasked to author one talking point.  Unfortunately there was considerable overlap.  The good news was that there were fewer talking points.  These were:
  • Neither American National Security nor NATO security has been compromised.
  • The ISAF Mission is on track to a successful handover in 2014.
  • General Allen apologizes to anybody who was offended by anything but emphasizes he has nothing to apologize for.
16:00 The bar opened.