July 30, 2007

Web Reconnaissance for 07/30/2007

A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

In the News: (Registration may be required to read some stories)
A True Political Partner - Aboard a small chartered jet, Elizabeth Edwards -- lawyer, mother, author, cancer patient, candidate's wife -- was flying recently from New Hampshire to Iowa. She had spent the morning campaigning solo and was meeting her husband, John Edwards, and their younger daughter, Emma Claire, for two days... (READ MORE)

Gonzales's Truthfulness Long Disputed - When Alberto R. Gonzales was asked during his January 2005 confirmation hearing whether the Bush administration would ever allow wiretapping of U.S. citizens without warrants, he initially dismissed the query as a "hypothetical situation." (READ MORE)

For Abducted Guards, Iraq Wasn't Just About Money - ON MAIN SUPPLY ROUTE TAMPA, Iraq -- Surrounded by darkness, an AK-47 at his side, Jonathon Cote considered his future from the driver's seat of a black Chevy Avalanche hurtling through southern Iraq early last November. (READ MORE)

Iraqis Find Unity in Soccer Win - Tens of thousands of Iraqis, from the Shi'ite south to the Kurdish-dominated north, poured into the usually treacherous streets yesterday to celebrate a rare moment of national joy and unity after the country's soccer team won Asia's most prestigious tournament. (READ MORE)

Russia Backs Abbas as Palestinian Leader - Russia considers President Mahmoud Abbas the only leader of the Palestinian people, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said today in Moscow's strongest statement backing Abbas since Hamas militants seized the Gaza Strip last month. (READ MORE)

The Iron Man has His Golden Moment - In this picturesque village on the shores of Lake Otsego, Calvin Edwin Ripken Jr. became a baseball immortal yesterday. (READ MORE)

Virginia's Bid for Help With Illegals Nixed - Federal immigration officials say they lack the resources to fulfill a proposed mandate by Virginia lawmakers to train staff at every state jail to start deportation procedures for illegal aliens. (READ MORE)

From the Front:
Badger 6: A Run for Heroes “Long time readers of Badgers Forward no doubt remember December 6 of last year. Long before this recent success Ar Ramadi was a bad place. And even though a light had appeared, Coalition Forces were suffering casualties almost daily. December 6 saw a roadside bomb attack that killed Major Meagan McClung, Public affairs officer for the 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division, the highest ranking female Marine Corps officer to die in Iraq. That attack also killed Captain Travis Partiquin, a Special Forces officer serving in a Civil Affairs capacity, and author of the "How to win in Anbar" presentation. Additionally the gunner on their vehicle, Spccialist Vincent "VJ" Pomante was also killed in the attack.” (READ MORE)

Acute Politics: Sleeping in Hell “After five days in a row of having the power go out every afternoon around 1 pm, we finally seem to have consistent electricity again. Hopefully the juice stays on- it's hard to stay up on sleep for nighttime missions when the power continually goes out during the hottest part of the day (and during the time we have for sleeping). I talked with the lead KBR electrician who was sent to fix the problems as they arose each day- it seems there are a number of reasons for the difficulties.” (READ MORE)

Brotherhood of Courage: Operation Gratitude “I would like to give special thanks to OPERATION GRATITUDE for their tireless effort to send US troops goody packages. Everyone from my platoon enjoyed everything that you sent us.” (READ MORE)

Eighty Deuce on the Loose: Look at the worlds greatest Army NOW! “Well, the meat and potatoes of this post are going to be on what I call, 82nd Airborne Greatest Bloopers. I couldn't believe what had happened and in the end, it ended up being quite hilarious. We were headed out to this one place early in the morning, before sunrise. We were driving through this one neighborhood and we ended up missing our turn. Well we went to loop around to come back to the road that we needed to take, but it wasn't a route that we normally take. It is now, a road we will probably NEVER take.” (READ MORE)

The Gunner's World: The Future “The old man shook my hand and said follow him, he was dressed in an old green camouflage uniform with the markings of the 2nd Brigade of the 1st Division (2/1) of the Iraqi Army; he seemed old enough to be my father, which given my age is saying something. We walked back outside into the oven that has now become Iraq in late July, the temp at 2:00 this afternoon is 121, we move to another building to the desk of a Marine Corps Sergeant. I tell him who I am and that I am looking for the Marine Corps Military Transition Team (MTT) Commander for 2/1, LtCol Fisher, “Follow me Sir” back to the oven and to another building, I am stuck by how young the Sergeant is compared to the Iraqi soldier who lead me to his desk, I wonder where do I fit in that equation?” (READ MORE)

Half A World Away: Home!!!! “I've been meaning to post this for quite some time, but a variety of things have kept me from the blog. Perhaps the most glaring was the fact that my computer crashed shortly after I got home on June 27th, and I just now got it fixed. Among other reasons/excuses is that blogging has slipped from its perch as my number 3 leisure activity while in Iraq (after gym time and running) to approximately number 46.” (READ MORE)

The Iceblog: Back Home with Family and Friends “As soon as I got home, the first thing I wanted to do was take a bath! In this picture, Milkshake is helping me get the bath water cold enough: Here I am relaxing in my nice, cold bath. Boy, did I ever get dirty in Iraq! Polar bears are very clean animals. It’s important for us to keep clean because if our fur gets dirty, it can’t keep us warm! Unfortunately the showers in Iraq were not big enough for me, so I had to go without for most of the tour.” (READ MORE)

Jason's Iraq Vacation: Football “As the temperature climbs above 120 and the days seem to get longer and more frustrating, I can’t help but find myself looking forward to the start of training camp for the Philadelphia Eagles. There are a hundred other things I worry about on a daily basis, all admittedly more important, yet I can’t help from fantasizing about Brian Westbrook reaching 1,000 yards rushing this season and the Eagles playoff possibilities. I keep telling myself - once football season is here, this deployment will fly by. Since we get a handful of selected programs broadcast here via the Armed Forces Network, I will most surely get to see at least one football game per week, which will be something nice to look forward to.” (READ MORE)

Omar: Mesopotamia: The Champions of Asia “I wouldn't be exaggerating if I said hat today has been as exciting as one of those election days in Baghdad. Our national soccer team is playing for the Asian cup for the first time in its history. By comparison this is as if the American team is playing for the cup of Copa America against the team of Brazil or Argentina! But of course here in Iraq we care way more about soccer than Americans do. No offense meant of course! The government had already announced shorter work hours in all government offices, including the parliament, for today so that people can go home early enough to watch the match.” (READ MORE)

Michael J. Totten: In the Wake of the Surge “BAGHDAD – 82nd Airborne’s Lieutenant William H. Lord from Foxborough, Massachusetts, prepared his company for a dismounted foot patrol in the Graya’at neighborhood of Northern Baghdad’s predominantly Sunni Arab district of Adhamiyah. ‘While we’re out here saying hi to the locals and everyone seems to be getting along great,’ he said, ‘remember to keep up your military bearing. Someone could try to kill you at any moment.’ I donned my helmet and vest, hopped into the backseat of a Humvee, and headed into the streets of the city with two dozen of the first infantry soldiers deployed to Iraq for the surge. The 82nd Airborne Division is famous for being ready to roll within 24 hours of call up, so they were sent first.” (READ MORE)

Matt Sanchez: Silk Route--Not So Smooth “It took forever to get to Salerno. Even the name, Salerno, sounded far, more like a neighborhood in distant Brooklyn than a forward operating base forty kilometers from the Pakistan border. Salerno was just a stop on the way to my ‘final destination’, Gardez home of the first Afghan Provincial Reconstruction or PRT. I had only been in Afghanistan for less than a week and already the acronyms were beginning to give me trouble.” (READ MORE)

Michael Yon: Bird’s Eye View: The Battle for Baqubah “A Tactical Operations Center (TOC) is the headquarters for a unit. Company-level TOCs are the smallest I have seen. A typical infantry company has about a hundred or more soldiers. The commander will normally be a captain. A company-level TOC often consists of a radio and a map, and one person on duty 24/7. It might have a coffee maker, too. In fact, there is a company TOC at the other end of the tent in which I now reside with a company called C-52. C-52 is the smallest company with only 54 men, who all live in this tent with a huge amount of weapons, and great combat experience to back them up [to whit: Superman.]” (READ MORE)

Patrick S Lasswell: If the Iraq Panic Bubble Bursts “I was reflecting on my business partner Michael Totten's words from Baghdad when he wrote about the current media presentation of the war: ‘You’d think explosions and gunfire define Iraq if you look at this country from far away on the news. They do not. The media is a total distortion machine. Certain areas are still extremely violent, but the country as a whole is defined by heat, not war, at least in the summer. It is Iraq’s most singular characteristic. I dread going outside because it’s hot, not because I’m afraid I will get hurt.’ One of the reasons Michael and I went into business was to prove that honest people could make a decent living without distorting facts.” (READ MORE)

My Desert Adventure: Packing My Trash “Today, I’m finally starting to get excited about coming home. Of course, I don’t know if that will be on the 11th or the 15th. The navy still hasn’t made up its mind. I packed my duffel bags today. It was an easy job since 90% of all the stuff I never used while I was over here. ( I never unpacked it) Not much demand for a chemical suit, entrenching tool, or a few of the other items I lugged here from South Carolina.” (READ MORE)

Greyhawk: Wolves Among Us “‘You know, boss,’ I once said to my boss, ‘we have over 200 people in this organization. Any type of person you can imagine, good or bad, any character flaw you've ever heard of, in this unit I can guarantee you there's one of each.’ I've been around a while, I know. And this isn't unique to the military. Cut a random slice of the population, and you'll find the same. Hey, none of us are perfect - we are all of us flawed mortals. Some more so than others; some can't get to work on time two days in a row. Some abuse their children or wives. Some bounce checks, some steal CDs from the Exchange even though it's payday. Some go for all the above and more.” (READ MORE)

Northern Disclosure: Sometime it pays to be good and sometimes it just sucks. “Being on the road is fun, but distance makes the heart grow fonder. I was away with Ranger Sid and Tremblay Force for 18 days. I was so happy to see the guys again, I almost started to feel sappy, ALMOST. Lot's of great things to report though. First and foremost, Ranger Nievera and Mr 300(Thomson) both were promoted, so the 6's were running deep in Voo Doo but I had to go and ruin it by getting my second rocker. So finally the pay matches the positions for the 3 of us. Now all we need is the IRR promotions to get caught up since those guys truly deserve it and are getting boned.” (READ MORE)

LTC Rich Phillips: Week 25--A Typical Day “There is no typical day at a forward surgical hospital. It's like working in a big city emergency room/trauma center 24/7/365. There are slow days where I get to the gym and the bazaar and hang out with the guys. There are other days where it is busy from dawn until late at night with traumas and surgeries and patients on the ward. And there are lots of days in-between. But every day is an adventure. This week was crazy. Lots of days with lots of traumas. A few deaths. And a few quiet days.” (READ MORE)

Michael J. Totten: Baghdad Raid Night “BAGHDAD – ‘We want to use you as bait,’ Sergeant Eduardo Ojeda from Los Angeles, California, told me before I embedded with his unit on what was shaping up to be a night raid. ‘Excellent,’ I said. ‘That’s why I’m here.’ This is what passes for black Army humor in Baghdad. ‘Our TST [time-sensitive target] blew up a vehicle and killed four soldiers and an interpreter in the next AO [area of operations],’ he said. ‘He’s somewhere in our AO now.’” (READ MORE)

On the Web:
Robert D. Novak: A New Escapade “The morass in Iraq and deepening difficulties in Afghanistan have not deterred the Bush administration from taking on a dangerous and questionable new secret operation.” (READ MORE)

Debra J. Saunders: John Doe Versus Flying Imams “Imagine you're waiting to board a plane, and you see fellow travelers acting strangely and muttering words that you don't understand. Maybe they're Muslim, maybe they're not. You're afraid that they are up to no good. What do you do?” (READ MORE)

Michael Barone: Our National Funk “Not all is gloom out there. That's the dominant message from the most recent Pew Global Attitudes Project's poll of 47 nations. Pew found that there is rising or constantly high contentment all over the globe with one's quality of life and family income.” (READ MORE)

Donald Lambro: Big money not a harbinger of victory “The excessive attention being paid to the huge sums of money raised by the Democratic presidential front-runners overlooks an important irony in recent political history: The best-funded candidates often lose in the early caucuses and primaries.” (READ MORE)

Paul Greenberg: Malaise, A Short Story “He no longer looked up when he walked out of the office building into the evening. He felt the sauna heat and went on, gazing straight ahead. He used to dawdle. Now he walked purposefully, as if he knew where he was going.” (READ MORE)

La Shawn Barber: Harry Potter and the Inevitable End “Love it or hate it, Harry Potter is a cultural phenomenon. The series has produced a collection of books, research papers, blogs, podcasts, fan fiction, and fan conferences devoted to analyzing the text, positing theories, dissecting clues, and pouring over minutiae. The long tail of Harry Potter is so vibrant, even fans have fans.” (READ MORE)

Matt Barber: Left Smears War Hero Judicial Nominee “There's absolutely no legitimate reason for anyone to oppose President Bush’s nomination of Judge Leslie Southwick to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.” (READ MORE)

Cassandra: More Revisonism On Clinton-Era Torture of Detainees “The Editorial Staff is verklempt. Via Glenn Reynolds, now The Guardian is blaming Teh BushReich for the Clinton administration's tacit approval of torturing rendered detainees. Not only do our media (Dana Priest, anyone?) routinely turn a blind eye to the fact that the Clinton administration as a matter of policy turned over rendered terrorism suspects to known human rights abusers without any guarantee they would not be tortured, but now they're blaming Bush (whose rendition program, according to the man who ran the program under Clinton is far more careful to respect the rights of detainees) for Clinton-era abuses! Is there anything these people aren't capable of?” (READ MORE)

Paul: This Week, Global Warming = Hurricanes “I hope you have a score card at home. You've been told the science was settled and Global Warming causes hurricanes but that was before the 2006 hurricane season was a dud so the global warming hucksters made a new theory that Global Warming reduced hurricanes. But either this week's folks didn't get the memo or the grant they received was to prove hurricanes where caused by global warming, but whatever the reason, we have another bogus study on our hands...” (READ MORE)

Jay Tea: In Sickness And In Hell, Part I “Well, as the political season moves on, we find that once again the notion of ‘health care reform’ is rearing its ugly head yet again. I'm no expert, but I have a few observations and opinions. The first is that we don't have a health care crisis in this country. We have a health care funding crisis right now, and it's threatening to bring about an actual crisis in health care, but that is a symptom of the real problem.” (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: They've Got To Admit, It's Getting Better “Michael O'Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack of the center-left Brookings Institution take to the pages of the solidly-left New York Times with an unusual mission. The pair have recently returned from Iraq to study the military effort by the US, and they have some bad news for the Gray Lady's readers. We really have turned the corner in Iraq:” (READ MORE)

Don Surber: Impeach the NYT? “Bush Derangement Syndrome finally got to the editorial board of the New York Times. That is the only explanation for today’s lead editorial, ‘Mr. Gonzales’s Never-Ending Story,’ a seething piece of factually challenged illogic that shows not only does power corrupt, but apparently it causes brain damage.” (READ MORE)

Bryan Preston: “A war we just might win” “This NYT article is significant both for what it says, and for who is saying it. Prior to the war, Kenneth Pollack was a Democrat who supported it, gave interviews to blogs like Talking Points Memo supporting it with some caveats, but like many Americans turned against the war as the problems and casualties mounted. Now, at least going by this article, he’s back on board. And importantly, he’s back on board because he has recently visited Iraq and seen tangible progress there.” (READ MORE)

Allahpundit: (Video) Olby wonders if Bush had Pat Tillman whacked for supporting Kerry “Actually, that’s overstating it: He thinks it might have been Bush or our right-wing military acting of its own accord. You’ll find it below at about 3:00 if you’re counting down. Would the president have had one of his own men murdered to prevent a meeting with Noam Chomsky? That’s a given in Olbyworld.” (READ MORE)

Lawhawk: Taliban Continue Holding South Koreans Hostage “Taliban in Afghanistan continue holding 22 South Koreans, who were kidnapped while their bus was driving through central Afghanistan. ‘An Afghan team that was supposed to have held more talks with the Taliban on Saturday could not reach the group because of security concerns in Ghazni province, provincial sources said.’” (READ MORE)

A Soldier's Mind: Unity Of Iraq’s Soccer Team Should Serve As An Example To It’s Political Leaders… “In an inspirational win over the Saudi Arabian soccer team, the Iraqi national team won the 2007 Asian Cup, with a score of 1-0. The team, consisting of Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish players proved to their fellow Iraqi’s and to the world, that by being able to put aside their ethnic differences and work together towards a common goal, that anything, including victory is possible. The team has not been without tragedy, when terrorists attacked scores of innocent people who were celebrating the teams’ victory over South Korea. The team honored those who were killed in the bomb blast by wearing black armbands in the post-match news conference.” (READ MORE)

The Belmont Club: An NYT article on Iraq “Michael E. O’Hanlon and Kenneth M. Pollack, both fellows at the Brookings Institution, argue in a New York Times entitled "A War We Just Might Win" that the war in Iraq is being won. ‘Here is the most important thing Americans need to understand: We are finally getting somewhere in Iraq, at least in military terms. As two analysts who have harshly criticized the Bush administration’s miserable handling of Iraq, we were surprised by the gains we saw and the potential to produce not necessarily “victory” but a sustainable stability that both we and the Iraqis could live with. ...’” (READ MORE)

Bill Roggio: Chairman of Afghanistan's Taliban military council killed “Coalition forces struck another blow to the senior Taliban leadership in Afghanistan. On July 23, Afghan and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops killed Qari Faiz Mohammad, the chairman of the Taliban Military Shura, or council, during a targeted raid in Helmand province. Mohammad was also a close associate of Taliban leader Mullah Omar, and a chief financier for the Taliban.” (READ MORE)

Dadmanly: An Anti-War Pathology “As a First Sergeant, I know that the kinds of behavior confessed by PVT Beauchamp in his ‘diaries’ for TNR, and described as routine for others in his unit, if true, would represent gross dereliction of duty on the part of his NCOs. Such behavior and practices would certainly reflect very poorly on Beauchamp’s Sergeants, first and foremost, his First Sergeant, known as ‘Top.’” (READ MORE)

Neptunus Lex: Who are you going to believe? “Politicians committed to national defeat for narrow partisan purposes? Or your own lying eyes? The worst possible outcome for those who have prematurely declared the war in Iraq lost - even as America’s soldiers surged overseas in support of a new strategy - is that we just might win. A non-trivial possibility, according to Michael E. O’Hanlon of the Brookings Institution and Kenneth M. Pollack of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings:” (READ MORE)

Richard S. Lowry: Cultural Differences “Last week, I had a forty-minute telephone conversation with the Multi-National Force-West commanding general, Major General W. E. Gaskin, USMC. His Area of Operations (AO) encompasses all of al-Anbar Province. We spoke about many things, but the subject that intrigued me the most was our talk of the Tribes of Anbar and how their tribal culture is different from American Society. Here is what I learned about the tribes of Anbar.” (READ MORE)

Patterico: Should Republicans Participate in the YouTube Debate? “Apparently people all over the Internet are debating whether Republicans should participate in a CNN/You Tube debate. Why shouldn’t we discuss it here? I think Republicans should participate — mainly because they will look like wusses if they don’t. I read the transcript of the Democrat version, and I understand the reluctance. The Democrat debate was dominated by questioners asking: ‘Why can’t you be more leftist?’ And the Republican debate will be dominated by questioners asking: ‘Why can’t you be more leftist?’” (READ MORE)

Pros and Cons: Our own John Haskell e-mailed me about Gitmo, so I’ll go off on the GWOT generally - lightly updated “Amazingly, good news, objectively reported for once, at least until the end of the story, flowed from The Grey Lady, a/k/a The Neue Amsterdam Times (it’s a joke, they refer to Al Qaeda in Iraq as Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia to distance themselves from any ties between Al Qaeda and Iraq, Neue Amsterdam can as easily be substituted for New York) was sent my way by our John Haskell. (He also, uncharacteristically, liked the analysis of uber-neocon Max Boot, interviewed by The Wall Street Journalists this weekend, transcript available here. Since I am a bloody-minded neocon, I, characteristically, liked it.)” (READ MORE)

McQ: What Iraq are Democrats talking about? “For four years, Democrats essentially asked that question of the administration when statements such as ‘the insurgency is in it’s last throes’ and the like were made. Now it is fair to ask the Dems which Iraq they’re talking about as they continue to maintain the war is lost in the face of mounting evidence that things have changed for the better in that country.” (READ MORE)

Right Truth: Eradicating poverty and your wealth at the same time “The Progressive politicians like John Edwards and Barack Obama are making poverty a central issue in their campaign for President of the United States. With all the money that is given to end poverty, why is it that ‘little progress is being achieved, in fact, the problem continues to escalate?’ Edwards goal is to eradicate poverty by 2036. Good luck with that. Are Americans buying what Edwards is selling? Edwards plans to eradicate poverty by ‘health care for all, the creation of 1 million one-year transition jobs, housing vouchers, and eliminating tax benefits for the rich.’ Translation? Punishing hard working Americans, entrepreneurs, businesses, ... those who create new jobs, those who run the American economy. You.” (READ MORE)

Right Wing Nut House: Whose Freedom? What is Speech? “If you haven’t heard about it, a free speech controversy is about ready to erupt that is going to make the Mohamed cartoon imbroglio look like a walk around the Ka’aba. A 23 year old and Ukranian immigrant, Stanislav Shmulevich of Brooklyn, has been charged with two felony counts for throwing a Koran into a toilet on two separate occasions. The incidents occurred last year when Shmulevich was a senior at Pace University in New York. He left school a couple of credits short of graduating and now works for an international banking firm in New York city.” (READ MORE)

John Fund: Whose Ox Is Gored “When Republicans win elections, liberals are quick to cry fraud. But when actual fraud is found, they are just as quick to deny it, if Democrats are the ones who benefit. Just before the 2004 election, the influential blog DailyKos.com warned of a ‘nationwide’ wave of voter fraud against John Kerry. After the election, liberal blogger Josh Marshall urged Mr. Kerry not to concede because the election had been ‘too marred with voter suppression, dirty tricks and other unspeakable antics not to press every last possibility’ of changing the outcome.” (READ MORE)

ShrinkWrapped: Know Your Enemies “With all the attention on the Iraqi front in the war against radical Islam, it is all too easy to lose sight of exactly who we are fighting, or more properly, who is currently waging war against us. This suits the needs of the anti-war cohort who have their own complicated motives for seeking to undermine our efforts in Iraq, ranging from those on the far left who actively seek an American defeat (to discredit American "imperialism") to those who cynically see an American failure as being their path to power in the 2008 elections, to those who honestly understand the war in Iraq as an error and an impossibility. By depicting Iraq as a separate and unique war dissociated form the greater war of radical Islam against the West, abandoning the front in Iraq is held to be inconsequential to the overall war (which, in any event, is also denied by those who oppose our efforts.)” (READ MORE)

Smooth Stone: More Muslim mythology “Keep moving folks, nothing to see here but more mendacity and stupidity from the Arab world. What is it this time? Sudan's defense minister, Abdel Rahim Mohamed Hussein, has accused "24 Jewish organizations" of "fueling the conflict in Darfur" last week in an interview with a Saudi newspaper. Hussein was interviewed during an official state-visit to the Saudi kingdom last week. "The Darfur issue is being fuelled by 24 Jewish organizations, who are making the largest amount of noise over the issue, and using the Holocaust in their campaigning," the Sudanese defense minister replied. We already know that lying is not prohibited in Islam and in fact, may be used as a weapon in order to defeat one's enemy.” (READ MORE)

Vox Veterana: Why it matters “Tim`s article about The New Republic and ‘Scott Thomas’ (now known to be PV2 Scott Thomas Beauchamp) has generated some interesting discussion in the comments. A few questions have been raised, however, which I feel are deserving of a more complete response than is really suited to comments. Actually, the more I read, the more I foam at the mouth. This particular issue is pushing a lot of my buttons. I`ll try to be restrained and polite and measured and all of that garbage--we don`t want to discourage commenters when we`re just getting started. You can get invective anywhere, after all.” (READ MORE)

Have an interesting post or know of a "must read?" Then send a trackback here and let us all know about it. Or you can send me an email with a link to the post and I'll update the Recon.

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The latest from Iraq, with some reportage from Afghanistan/Pakistan from Pros and Cons

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