February 08, 2008

A Dilemma

This will be somewhat obscure, 'cause I don't want this to be public (this will make sense; just read on).I've been invited to have dinner with a gentleman being inducted to this august University's Alumni Hall of Fame (or whatever they call it). My boss's boss asked me to sit at the table with him, as I have some familiarity with his job. In the last six-seven years (I'm unclear on this, 'cause I can't track down his detailed resume) these are the jobs he has held:

2001/2002/2003? (unclear when he started) to 2004/2005: Chief Military Aid to the Secretary of Defense (and remember who that was at the time).

2004/2005 to 2006?: Head of US Southern Command (guy in charge of all military forces south of the United States in this hemisphere). This made him in charge of a small naval base way out at the eastern end of Cuba.

2006 to Present: Supreme Allied Commander, Europe (SACEUR), NATO. In charge of efforts in Afghanistan (Afghanistan being a NATO operation).

So, I'm being obscure here because (A) I've been invited by my boss's boss to sit at the table with him (presumably since they think I know something about military affairs) but (B) I have some very, very pointed questions I'd like to ask him about all of the things he's done in the last sixish years. However one's politics fall out, I think you can understand how the chance to ask this guy questions would be interesting. I'm being obscure because I can talk about legitimate (and illegitimate) questions here, and it won't show up on anyone's "google" search (if I've been sufficiently obscure).So, my dilemma is: what are the limits to what I can ask him? While still being polite (and not pissing off my boss's boss), what is "on the table" and what of "off"?

Comments? Suggestion?

Posted by baltar at February 8, 2008 11:26 AM | TrackBack | Posted to Free Speech | History | International Affairs | Iraq | Military Affairs | Politics | Random Thoughts | War


Hoo boy.

The limit is probably "not much, but wait and see where the conversation goes and see what you can work in without smacking him too hard". If he's the guest of honor, you really can't ask him anything that will piss him off or turn his face too red. Alas.

Posted by: jacflash at February 8, 2008 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

ps: If you had a Livejournal, you could post this and *lock it* so that only designated friends could see the post and comments. Just sayin'.

Posted by: jacflash at February 8, 2008 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

Since Armand is your date, maybe the two of you should cook up a good cop/bad cop strategy.

Posted by: binky at February 8, 2008 03:09 PM | PERMALINK

But Baltar, you are so subtle. How would he ever guess your true feelings by the way you ask your questions?

Seriously, are you out to zing this guy? What works for me is imagining myself brutalizing whoever it is I end up cornered with because of my job, making him as uncomfortable as possible. By the time I actually see this person, I've worn myself out with it, so I much more go with the flow unless they get in my face. Once I've done it in my mind, I'm less likely to see it going anywhere in reality. That is, why make myself out to be a jackass just to prove myself right? That's what blogging's for, he he he.

Seriously, why let your anger push me around when you can grab it by the tail?

Posted by: Morris at February 8, 2008 09:31 PM | PERMALINK
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