This is heavily friends-locked for reasons which will become obvious.
I was really shocked yesterday when the official spokesperson for the NATO peacekeepers in Kosovo said this about my employers:
…there are a lot of people who are in their offices in Brussels and Washington DC, everywhere in the world. They should come and see us in Kosovo. They speak a lot, I don’t know why, and they spread rumours and misinformation. I don’t know what their goal is, but once again they should come and see us. I can tell you that we are well prepared to face any event. This is my answer…. I guess they want to create a crisis. So they can say what they want.
Quite apart from the fact that we have frequently come and seen them, and we have three full-time staff on the ground in Kosovo, it’s outrageous (not to mention offensive) to accuse us of trying to create a crisis and to mutter darkly about what our real goals may be.
I was tempted to reply with a long public self-justificatory tirade, and lay awake a bit last night drafting it in my head. But in the meantime I had sent a brief but hurt note about all this to a senior NATO contact. He immediately saw my point of view, and I understand a full public retraction is imminent. Sometimes going behind people’s backs is more efficient than a head-on assault; especially when dealing with the military.