Those Who Want To Be Seen & Those Who Do Not

16 August 2009

“Drone … plane … sky …” I mumbled my words, closed my eyes and waited for the whoosh of a missile.

The commander and his men laughed. “These are media lies, that Americans can see us,” he said. “Look now, we are a big group of Taliban. There are 200 men here and they can’t see us. We believe in God, so don’t be scared.”

Another fighter spoke up: “If you stand still in the dark and not move they can’t see you. It’s written in the Qu’ran.”

On the way to the camp I had been told of other drone-dodging techniques. If you are on a motorcycle and the drone fires a missile, jump off and the missile will follow the motorcycle. If you are with a large group, stop, like musical statues, and the drone will confuse you with the trees.

More Taliban, in The Guardian.


“These trips have their own lingo, I learned, as part of the traveling press corps assigned to chronicle every speech, handshake and hug. “Bi-lats” are bilateral meetings. “Meet-n-greets” are visits to American embassies. “Camera sprays” are essentially photo opportunities, usually staged and no questions allowed, and “spray” can be used as a noun, as in, “there’s a camera spray at 2 p.m. with President X” or as a verb — “come on guys, time to spray the lunch.” The secret service on her plane refer to their M-4 assault rifles as their “sticks.” The secretary of state is called “the package.””


“In eastern Congo, we needed to use two planes to land at a small airport and Mrs. Clinton’s plane circled in the air for 15 minutes so journalists could land first, set up their cameras and get the arrival shot of her, the first secretary of state to swoop into Congo’s conflict zone, despite the fact this very area has been a killing field since the mid-1990s.”

More Clinton in the Congo, at NYT.