October 18, 2011

Diplomacy 101

From Free Range International by babatim -
I am in the middle of an interesting few days as we finish up our projects, some of the larger ones with official ceremonies. Those of you who follow Michael Yon on facebook know where I am and what we have been up to. What is interesting to watch is Michael, myself and our friend Chadd Nyerges, who works with me on the reporting side of the house, try to process the thousands of pictures and a dozen hours of video we collectively shot over the past 48 hours. We are all writing reports, posting on the internet, trying to figure out what we have with all these photos and waiting for the plane to come back and get us.

The place for me to start my narrative of the trip is right in the middle. Yesterday morning, we received news that the American VIPs who had thought they could attend one of the ceremonies, in fact, could not attend. This made me the senior American present, a fact which I failed to think through before walking into the reception hall for the morning program of recognition for the US funding, in general, and my company, specifically. As I entered the hall, my provincial manager, Bashir, who is from Afghanistan, greeted me with most unwelcome news. ”You are the senior man, Tim; you have to sit next to the Governor.” I said that would be fine, but I needed to find the men’s room first. Bashir said that was not possible, and I had to go to my seat “right now.”

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