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September 30, 2006

H&I Fires* 30 Sep 2006

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...

Charlie over at OPFOR jumps on the hold a seminar band wagon. I’m a Yankee Californian and don’t know how to do formal invitations well, Mr. Grim.

JRobb, I think, gets it right. It’s a propaganda war.

That seems to get lost on people. ‘They’ can say whatever they want, but we have to scrutinize everything we say to death. Let’s just fight with both hands tied behind our backs why don’t we? This is not a call to abandon skepticism, or even cynicism, but to realize some slack must be cut. If you think hearts and minds matter you don’t win them by making yourself a pigmy and letting the enemy look like King Kong. The most fruitful and most important territory to take and hold is between the ears.


Holly Aho, Soldiers' Angel extraordinaire and one of the busiest ladies in the MilBlog world has delivered a beautiful new baby girl--Vivianne Allison. Her four brothers are adjusting to having a sister... - FbL


Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Sep 30, 2006 | General Commentary

Saturday's Sundries

One of the nice breaks from all the auto-replies (okay -- make that the *only* nice thing) I get in my resume-spamming onslaught is the rare response from a live human.

Usually, it's because he or she is either bored to tears or curious as all get-out:

"Geez, I've *never* seen anybody as over-qualified as you; can I have your autograph?"

"Actually, we're looking for somebody who'll boost our bowling league's average..."

"I don't think you'll fit our corporate image. I keep visualizing you in combat boots and a flak vest."

However, on rare occasions, I get tips on upcoming jobs and, on even rarer occasions, I get stuff like this...

I hope these give you a laugh -- some quotes taken from real resumes & cover letters; printed in the 07/21/97 issue of Fortune Magazine...

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"Received a plague for Salesperson of the Year."

"Wholly responsible for two (2) failed financial institutions."

"Failed bar exam with relatively high grades."

"It's best for employer that I not work with people."

"Let's meet, so you can 'ooh' and 'aah' over my experience."

"You will want me to be Head Honcho in no time."

"Am a perfectionist and rarely if if ever forget details."

"I was working for my mom until she decided to move."

"Marital status: Single. Unmarried. Unengaged. Uninvolved. No commitments."

"I have an excellent track record, although I am not a horse."

"I am loyal to my employer at all costs. Please feel free to respond to my resume on my office voicemail."

"I have become completely paranoid, trusting completely no one and absolutely nothing."

"Personal interest: donating blood. Fourteen gallons so far."

"Instrumental in ruining entire operation for a Midwest chain store."

"Note: Please don’t misconstrue my 14 jobs as 'job-hopping'. I have never quit a job."

"Reason for leaving last job: They insisted that all employees get to work by 8:45 am every morning. I couldn’t work under those conditions."

"The company made me a scapegoat, just like my three previous employers."

"References: none. I've left a path of destruction behind me."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Heh. Maybe if I take up bowling...

A tip of the ol' dented SPH-4 to Dawn B.

September 29, 2006

H&I Fires* 29 Sep 2006

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...
Answer to yesterday's easteregg.

Mr. Eugenides on teenagers (worth a visit for his banner alone). Resistance is futile.

CAPT H recommends inventive invective from Iowahawk. I do, too. Wish I had time (leave aside skill, talent) to write like this!

CAPT H also points us to a leftish-fellow who is taking rather a hard line against Islamofacism.

I don't play Golf, but if I did - I guess I would skip Ping products. They have the right to deal as they wish. We have the right to... not deal as we wish. I'm sure Ping won't lose too much business, and I rather doubt, as is imputed in the linked thread, that Ping is making an anti-troop statement vice a "This is our marketing model and if you wanna sell our stuff, you'll do it this way!" statement. Which means we can respond with... "Okay, bugger off then." Of course, if Ping prods are as good as they are reputed to be... well, you can tell I don't play golf, huh? Because most golfers I know will sell their souls to knock off a few strokes. So, admittedly, for me it's an empty gesture. H/t, LarryK, Coast Guard Dad, who I'm sure will be in a theater this weekend, if not tonight!

Heh. *Everybody* thinks I should know about this, for some reason (like I haven't already seen the pics on the Usenet).

Louisville Paper Gets Disc With 232 Photos of Nude National Guard Women

Ry's take?

Makes you wonder what they were thinking, and what should be done to 'anonymous'. Trust is a virtue and value taught by the Army, right? This isn't Abu Ghraib or My Lai or the Pentagon papers level of leak. It's just going to embarrass a bunch of people and ruin some relationships. Very little real value to the world to reveal such. What a great freakin' world we live in?

Combat Zone Hormone Disease is a well-known phenomenon. Add to that popular culture, digital cameras, no need for photo processing, and a lot more women in the zone than in the past... and we're surprised at this? Heh. We should just ignore it - but *that's* too much to hope. H/t Ry, Toluca, Jim, Kevin, David, Bill, William, Joe, Wylie, Linda, and Marty... Popular article... I heard from lurkers! But Ry is correct - someone probably was trusted who shouldn't have been. I don't know if these are the same pics or not - but I've seen some pictures of an M240 machinegun and ammo belts that I admit I paid rather more attention to the, er, rack holding the weapon than the weapon itself.

Oh, and I have one of these - and most of you don't! Neener neener neener!

Special Forces Soldier Receives German Army's Highest Award. Congratulations, SSG Zapien!

And not all heroes are forged in the crucible of combat. But you knew that.

"Heroic and selfless" is how Spc. Kraig Lemme was described when he was awarded the Soldier’s Medal in a ceremony at Black Jack Field, Fort Hood, Texas, for saving the lives of three tankers whose Abrams had turned turtle in a canal in Iraq.

The Soldier’s Medal is one of the highest honors a Soldier can receive, and is reserved for those who distinguish themselves by a heroic act that does not occur in combat.

Lemme, 24, from Tucson, Ariz., and an infantryman with Company A, 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, recalled the events of an early morning in October 2004 when he was serving with the 1st Cavalry Division in Iraq.

Read the rest of that story here.

And now for something completely different. The Armorer is thinking about establishing a new charitable foundation: FREE The Foundation to Rid the Environment of Excreta!

-the Armorer


Representative Mark Foley, Republican of Florida, has resigned his post in Congress as a result of questions about the appropriateness of emails sent to his Congressional Pages.

I'll assume he's done the honorable thing - that said, his resignation should not defer any legal ramifications or stains on his honor as appropriate.

If the Dems win the House by only 1 seat this November, so be it. Republicans should be doing a better job than they are, anyway, so if it's close - that's their fault and no one else's.

There should be no tolerance for behavior such as this appears to be.

We'll leave that to others.

If you'd like a precis on Congressional Buffoonery, we're happy to oblige, courtesy of the Washington Post. Heh. Look at the 1983 Crane/Studds events to see how things tend to play out differently depending on viewpoint.

Bottom line - if you want to play footsie, it's generally better to be a Donkey than a Pachyderm.

Stop the ACLU has more. -the Armorer


Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Sep 29, 2006 | General Commentary

All around the mulberry bush...

Scene: the back yard / garden / jungle of stately Tuttle Manor, post-thunderstorm. Yours Truly is sierra-sawing a 20-foot hemlock limb into kindling.

Enter KtLW.

KtLW: "What are you doing?"

Me: "Turning the branches the storm knocked down into firewood."

KtLW: "That's not important. Do something useful, like rolling up this hose and putting it away."

Me: "Can't. I'll need it when I scrub the mud off the patio."

KtLW: "Well, then, get to work scrubbing the patio!"

Me: "Can't. First I have to use the blower to get all the leaves and stuff off the patio."

KtLW: "Well, then, get to work with the leafblower!"

Me: "Can't. If I blow the leaves off, the patio will still be covered with grass clippings when I mow the lawn."

KtLW: "Well, get to work mowing the lawn!"

Me: "Can't. The grass is still sopping wet from the rain -- it'll take a couple of hours to dry."

KtLW: "Well, then, do something *simple* -- like rolling up this hose and putting it away."


*grin -- takes the first step around the mulberry bush*

Me: "Can't. I'll need it when I scrub the mud off the patio."

KtLW: "Well, then, get to work scrubbing the patio!"

Me: "Can't. First I have to use the blower to get all the leaves and stuff off the patio."

KtLW: "Well, then, get to work with the leafblower!"

Me: "Can't. If I blow the leaves off..."

Heh. Halfway through the third trip up and down the City Road, she gave up.

KtLW: "Hmmmmmpf! I'll never understand how somebody who's supposedly so smart can be so stupid!"

Me: "Gee, my thoughts, exactly..."

KtLW: "Good! It's *about time* you took ownership of the dumb things you do!"


*pop!* goes the weasel...

Girl Scouts to Cav Scouts.

CJ of A Soldier's Perspective sends:

Can you hook a brother up? I'm in the final week of taking orders for Girl Scout cookies to send overseas to 2 Marine units. This is my second year doing this. Last year we shipped over 100 boxes to Army units in Afghanistan and Iraq. Our goal this year is 200. We've already gotten orders for 60 boxes in just over a week. Would you mention this on your site for anyone that would like to help send GS cookies? I would greatly appreciate it.

I will gladly hook a brother up. Click here, people. That's an order!

Update: CJ sends a clarifier...

Thank you mucho. The more the merrier to get involved. If we get enough cookies to go around, I have six Marine units I can send cookies to. Just make sure everyone knows that the cookies only cost $3.50 per box. The extra money is to pay for shipping and boxes (the flat rate doesn't hold much unless we take them out of the box...bad idea). If there is enough money left over, we'll just add purchase more boxes. I don't want to give anyone the idea that I'm selling Girl Scout cookies for $5.

Not just another statistic...

...but an interesting casualty regardless.

Lt Perez's death means no more or no less than any other warrior's - but she filled an interesting demographic niche.

WEST POINT, N.Y. - The first member of West Point's "Class of 9-11" to die in combat was buried at the military academy Tuesday, two weeks after she was killed by a bomb at the head of a convoy in Iraq.

2nd Lt. Emily Perez, 23, was leading a platoon when a roadside bomb exploded Sept. 12 south of Baghdad. She was the first female West Point graduate to die in Iraq and the highest-ranking black and Hispanic woman cadet in the school's history.

"She was like a little superwoman, so full of energy and life," said Meghan Venable-Thomas, a senior who was on the track team and in the gospel choir with Perez.

Read the rest here.

Now is the time at Castle Argghhh! when we dance: In Memoriam.

Brothers in Arms...

We need a gun pic.

Steyr-Hahn M1911 and Webley .25 auto

These two pistols have an unlikely connection. They were both taken from a German officer captured in the early days of the Normandy invasion by a soldier of the 29th Division.

The interest lies in the fact that one is Austrian, the other Brit, and they were taken from a German.

The story as related with the pistols is that the German's father fought in the young Rommel's division on the Italian front during WWI, where he acquired the Steyr. As his son went off to fight in WWII, he sent the pistol off to war again. The German acquired the Webley from a Brit commando officer (reputedly a Major) who carried it as a backup piece. Where? Dieppe.

The German officer then started to carry the Webley as *his* backup piece, though in the end he found it more prudent to surrender than use it. Accordingly, you won't find me using it as a backup piece... aside from being too small a caliber to be useful for much more than rodent-shooting, it has a bad track record... and I don't have a magazine for it, either. They are rather more rare in the wild than I would have expected. I was offered one, once - for $150, less more than I paid for the pistol.

September 28, 2006

H&I Fires* 28 Sep 2006

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...
I got this from someone in my China study group, but it really allows me to pile on yesterdays question of whether ol’ Carl von is on the pyre about to be torched or not. Adds another wrinkle to the argument: can we be and are we ever really sure we understand the enemy’s psychology? We thought we understood the Sovs, who were a whole lot more like us than Islamic terrorists are, but it could be we didn’t understand them at all.

Curiouser and curiouser. I’m not sure there is *one* perfect way to conduct war that you just do variations on. Maybe it’s something you just muggle around with until you find the ad hoc solution to? I dunno, and thank jeebus that I don’t have to make the call on this.

Grim wades in on the topic to counter Noonan over at Milblogs. That’s the kind of rhetorical smack down I wish was happening here instead of people attacking the decision to go to Iraq. Oh well. I got a rootbeer for OD and fdcol. They’re both welcome at my table any time---just not at the same time since that may lead to a runaway matter/anti-matter reaction.

And thanks for this, Hoss. I’ll pet it, and hug it, and name it George.
What do Orochi,The Minotaurand St. George and The Dragonhave to do with the War on Terror?

I’m working on that right now. Be ready to hide when I sling up a never-ender on it sometime in the future.
Answer to yesterday’s Easter egg: Cuchulainn, he died shortly after eating a stew made from dog meat, and he at it because of a geas placed upon him which required that he ate food offered him.


Best Milk Commercial Ever. Bar None. Period. H/t, Mike L, who is currently going through a *lot* of milk at home...

Speaking of the female of the species:

Post Date: Aug 7th, 2006 Expire Date: Sep 6th, 2006

06' Suzuki GSXR 1000
Farmington, UT 84025 - Aug 7, 2006

2006 Suzuki 1000. This bike is perfect! It has 1000 miles and has had its 500 mile dealer service. (Expensive) It's been adult ridden, all wheels have always been on the ground. I use it as a cruiser/commuter.
I'm selling it because it was purchased without proper consent of a loving wife. Apparently "do whatever the f*** you want" doesn't mean what I thought. Call me, Steve. (801)XXX-XXXX

I predict Steve will be buying a lot of milk in the future.

H/t, Jim C - who prolly also buys a lot of milk.

Oh, me? I buy tequila and champagne. -the Armorer


Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Sep 28, 2006 | General Commentary

SFC Paul Smith - still in the news. Navy News.

by Lt. Col. Leela Dawson September 26, 2006 Birgit Smith, widow of Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith, and her son David pose just moments after the 377-foot, 40-knot, Navy ship

Birgit Smith, widow of Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith, and her son David pose just moments after the 377-foot, 40-knot, Navy ship "Freedom" was launched Sept. 24. Smith is the sponsor of the littoral combat ship. by Lt. Col. Leela Dawson September 26, 2006. This photo appeared on

From the Army News Service:

Army widow christens Navy ship, 'Freedom'

Birgit Smith, the widow of Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery and gallantry above and beyond the call of duty in Operation Iraqi Freedom, christens Freedom (LCS 1) with the traditional smashing of a champagne bottle across the ship’s bow. Freedom is the nation’s first Littoral Combat Ship in an entirely new class of U.S. Navy surface warships.

MARINETTE, Wis. (Army News Service, Sept. 26, 2006) – The Navy christened and launched the nation's first Littoral Combat Ship, Freedom (LCS-1), at the Marinette Marine shipyard Sept. 24.

Birgit Smith is the ship’s sponsor. She is the widow of Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery and gallantry above and beyond the call of duty in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Birgit broke a champagne bottle across the ship's bow to formally christen the ship, which then made a dramatic side-launch into the Menominee River.

Adm. Mike Mullen, chief of Naval Operations, put Birgit’s selection as sponsor into perspective for the assembled crowd by referring to a letter her husband wrote home from Iraq.

by Lt. Col. Leela Dawson September 26, 2006 In preparation for the christening and launch of the U.S. Navy's first Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Freedom, Birgit Smith, widow of Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith, and her son, David, place personal items of importance into a cylinder that will be be welded into the ship's mast for good luck.

In preparation for the christening and launch of the U.S. Navy's first Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Freedom, Birgit Smith, widow of Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith, and her son, David, place personal items of importance into a cylinder that will be be welded into the ship's mast for good luck. By Lt. Col. Leela Dawson September 26, 2006.

“When I think of his words ‘I am prepared to give all that I am’ and the way he did exactly that, it reminds me of the true high cost of living in America, the price of freedom,” he said. “Paul paid that debt for us. His valor reminds us that we must be ready to defend freedom whenever and wherever it is challenged.”

Col. Thomas P. Smith (no relation) commanded Smith’s unit – the 11th Engineer Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division – and nominated Smith for the MOH.

“As I learned how special the “sponsor” of a ship is to the Navy and the ongoing relationship Birgit will have with the ship and her crew, I was truly humbled,” he said. “As the Navy leaders and crew got to know Birgit, I think they realized how special she is and how fitting their choice was for this honor.”

Mullen noted that ships “really do take on the spirit of their sponsor. And I for one will take great comfort that when Freedom’s crews sail into harm’s way, your quiet strength will go with them,” Mullen said to Birgit.

The 377-foot Freedom is capable of speeds in excess of 40 knots and can operate in water less than 20 feet deep. The ship will act as a platform for launch and recovery of manned and unmanned vehicles. Its modular design will support interchangeable mission packages, allowing the ship to be reconfigured for antisubmarine warfare, mine warfare or surface warfare missions on an as-needed basis.

“Just a little more than three years ago she was just an idea, now Freedom stands before us. And on this morning, we christen her, send her down the ways and get her ready to join the fleet next year,” said Mullen. “It comes none too soon, because there are tough challenges out there that only she can handle.”

by Lt. Col. Leela Dawson September 26, 2006</p>

<p>Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division and Fort Stewart, presents a gift in honor of Medal of Honor recipient, Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith to the prospective commanding officers of the future-USS Freedom, Commanders Michael Doran and Donald Gabrielson for placement on the new ship.

Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division and Fort Stewart, presents a gift in honor of Medal of Honor recipient, Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith to the prospective commanding officers of the future-USS Freedom, Commanders Michael Doran and Donald Gabrielson for placement on the new ship. By Lt. Col. Leela Dawson September 26, 2006.

Freedom acknowledges the enduring foundation of the nation and honors American communities which bear the name Freedom. States having towns named Freedom include California, Indiana, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

But, as Mullen made clear, Freedom also acknowledges new challenges faced by the Navy in the war on terror, and will complement the vision of a global “1,000-ship navy” built upon ad hoc maritime partnerships.

“Freedom will know how to fight, but she can also be a friend,” said Mullen. “I am convinced that if we pool resources together, as partners and friends, we can best tackle many of the tough maritime problems we face. The Freedom class will fit perfectly into such partnerships. Her shallow draft and agility will allow her to go, when asked – deep into green and brown water – where we, our allies, and emerging partners face some of the most difficult challenges.”

Freedom will be manned by one of two rotational crews, blue and gold, similar to the rotational crews assigned to Trident submarines.

Freedom will continue to undergo outfitting and testing at Marinette Marine until it is commissioned in 2007 and eventually homeported in San Diego, Ca.

(Editor's note: Information compiled from Department of Defense and Department of Navy releases.)

Oh what the heck, let's lighten things up a bit.

What My Mother Taught Me:

1. My mother taught me TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE:
"If you're going to kill each other, do it outside -- I just finished

2. My mother taught me RELIGION:
"You better pray that will come out of the carpet."

3. My mother taught me about TIME TRAVEL:
"If you don't straighten up, I'm going to knock you into the middle of next week!"

4. My mother taught me LOGIC:
"Because I said so, that's why!"

5. My mother taught me FORESIGHT:
"Be sure you wear clean underwear in case you're in an accident."

6. My mother taught me IRONY:
"Keep laughing and I'll give you something to cry about."

7. My mother taught me about OSMOSIS:
"Shut your mouth and eat your supper!"

8. My mother taught me about CONTORTIONISM:
"Will you look at the dirt on the back of your neck!"

9. My mother taught me about STAMINA:
"You'll sit there 'til all that spinach is finished."

10. My mother taught me about WEATHER:
"It looks as if a tornado swept through your room."

11. My mother taught me how to solve PHYSICS PROBLEMS:
"If I yelled because I saw a meteor coming toward you, would you listen then?"

12. My mother taught me about HYPOCRISY:
"If I've told you once, I've told you a million times -- don't exaggerate!!!"

13. My mother taught me THE CIRCLE OF LIFE:
"I brought you into this world, and I can take you out."

14. My mother taught me about BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION:
"Stop acting like your father!"

15. My mother taught me about ENVY:
"There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don't have wonderful parents like you do!"

September 27, 2006

H&I Fires* 27 Sep 2006

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...
That's it. Muir's gone and done it now. A fatwa against Muir. He dares insult people who wear hats? Grrrr. Now you're in trouble, Mr. Muir. Gollum is an equal opportunity ankle biter. (gnaw).
(sarcasm off, though I don't get what he's got against hats.)
John over at OPFOR fleshes out a story I remember from waaaaay back. So that's why Furby became persona non grata.....

Neener neener neener! -the Armorer


Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Sep 27, 2006 | General Commentary

Apropos "Burying Clausewitz"...

Ori Brafman offers a different take on the subject - supportive of throwing over Clausewitz, but with a different analogy: Spiders versus Starfish.

Cut off a spider's leg, and you'll have a seven-legged cripple. Cut off its head, and you'll kill the spider. But cut off the starfish's arm, and not only will it regenerate, but the severed arm will actually grow an entirely new body. Starfish can achieve this remarkable feat because, unlike spiders, they lack central control—their organs are replicated across each arm. Starfish are decentralized.

Just like in nature, there are also starfish on the battlefield. Starfish forces don't have a leader, clear structure, or defined hierarchy. These seemingly chaotic qualities make Starfish unexpectedly resilient.

Read the rest here.

H/t, CSM M.

Burying Clausewitz.

Ry - this post's for you. Clausewitz in Wonderland.

U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 66th Armored Regiment head towards an ancient caravansary in Hana Qadim, Iraq, to conduct a search Sept. 8, 2006. The search is being conducted in order to assure that insurgents do not use the structure as a hiding place for weapons caches. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Eli J. Medellin) (Released)

U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 66th Armored Regiment head towards an ancient caravansary in Hana Qadim, Iraq, to conduct a search Sept. 8, 2006. The search is being conducted in order to assure that insurgents do not use the structure as a hiding place for weapons caches. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Eli J. Medellin) (Released)

First, start off with Ralph Peters in Armed Forces Journal:

The hearts-and-minds myth Sorry, but winning means killing By Ralph Peters Mastering the languages, cultural nuances, beliefs and taboos that prevail in a theater of war, area of operations or tactical environment is vital to military success. It's much easier to kill people you understand.

Beyond that, cultural insights ease routine operations and negotiations, the training of local forces and the development of intelligence. Environmental mastery helps us avoid making unnecessary enemies. But that is where the advantages end in conflicts of blood and faith: No amount of cultural sensitivity inculcated in U.S. troops will persuade fanatic believers to discard their religion, nor can any amount of American empathy change a foreign thug's ethnic identity.

Frustrated with the difficulties facing us in Iraq after being denied both adequate troop strength and the authority to impose the rule of law in the initial days of our occupation, U.S. military commanders responded with a variety of improvisations, from skillful "kinetic ops" to patient dialogue. Nothing achieved enduring results — because we never had the resources or the fortitude to follow any effort through to the end, and our enemies had no incentive to quit, surrender or cooperate. We pacified cities with force but lacked the forces to keep them pacified. We rebuilt schools, but our enemies taught us how easy it was to kill teachers. Accepting that it was politically impossible on the home front, we never conducted the essential first step in fighting terrorists and insurgents: We failed to forge a long-term plan based on a long-term commitment. Instead, we sought to dissuade fanatics and undo ancient rivalries with stopgap measures, intermittent drizzles of money and rules of engagement tailored to suit the media, not military necessity.

It is astonishing that our efforts have gone as well as they have.

Read the rest here.

Then, shift over to Tony Corn, writing in Policy Review:

“Amateurs talk about strategy, professionals talk about logistics.” In the five years since the 9/11 events, the old military adage has undergone a “transformation” of its own: Amateurs, to be sure, continue to talk about strategy, but real professionals increasingly talk about — anthropology.

In Iraq as in Afghanistan, real professionals have learned the hard way that — to put it in a nutshell — the injunction “Know Thy Enemy, Know Thyself” matters more than the bookish “Know Thy Clausewitz” taught in war colleges. Know thy enemy: At the tactical and operational levels at least, it is anthropology, not Clausewitzology, that will shed light on the grammar and logic of tribal warfare and provide the conceptual weapons necessary to return fire. Know thyself: It is only through anthropological “distanciation” that the U.S. military (and its various “tribes”: Army, Navy, etc.) will become aware of its own cultural quirks — including a monomaniacal obsession with Clausewitz — and adapt its military culture to the new enemy.1

The first major flaw of U.S. military culture is of course “technologism” — this uniquely American contribution to the phenomenon known to anthropologists as “animism.” Infatuation with technology has led in the recent past to rhetorical self-intoxication about Network-Centric Warfare and the concomitant neglect of Culture-Centric Warfare. The second structural flaw is a Huntingtonian doctrine of civil-military relations ideally suited for the Cold War but which, given its outdated conception of “professionalism,” has outlived its usefulness and is today a major impediment to the necessary constant dialogue between the military and civilians.2

Last but not least, the third major flaw is “strategism.” At its “best,” strategism is synonymous with “strategy for strategy’s sake,” i.e., a self-referential discourse more interested in theory-building (or is it hair-splitting?) than policy-making. Strategism would be innocuous enough were it not for the fact that, in the media and academia, “realism” today is fast becoming synonymous with “absence of memory, will, and imagination”: in that context, the self-referentiality of the strategic discourse does not exactly improve the quality of the public debate. At its worst, strategism confuses education with indoctrination, and scholarship with scholasticism; in its most extreme form, it comes close to being an “intellectual terrorism” in the name of Clausewitz.

Chewy stuff in here. Clausewitz in Wonderland, by Tony Corn, in Policy Review.

Ry - you say I'm doing God's Work with tongue-in-cheek... but, in that I study the impacts of technologism... in some respects, I do.

Discuss among yourselves. Not what I do - what these guys are saying.

Cleaning up details. Having gone through and finally had a chance to read what retired Generals Batiste and Eaton, retired Colonel Hammes had to say to the Senate Democratic Policy Committee that Ry linked to yesterday in the H&I - I decided to take the transcript and post it below the fold - since it relates, in a couple of ways, to what is above the fold. Too bad I don't trust the Dems to walk the walk on this issue. Their senior leadership just isn't serious - however flawed the Republicans are on this issue, not leaving much of a choice.

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CENTCOM Sends: What Leading Terrorists are saying... to each other.

CENTCOM Press Release

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Letter Exposes New Leader in Al-Qa`ida High Command

25 September 2006

On 7 June 2006, American military forces executed an air strike on an al-Qa`ida safe-house near Baqouba, Iraq, killing Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi, al-Qa`ida‘s commander in Iraq. U.S. and Iraqi forces subsequently acquired numerous documents from that safe-house. On 18 September 2006, the Iraqi National Security Advisor, Muwaffaq al-Rabi`i, released one of those documents to Iraqi media. As part of an ongoing collaboration with the Department of Defense to declassify, collect, and disseminate documents that provide new insights into the internal functioning of salafi-jihadist organizations, the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point has made this letter available at

The captured letter sheds new light on the friction between al-Qa`ida’s senior leadership and al-Qa`ida’s commanders in Iraq over the appropriate use of violence. The identity of the letter’s author, “`Atiyah,” is unknown, but based on the contents of the letter he seems to be a highly placed al-Qa`ida leader who fought in Algeria in the early 1990s. `Atiyah's letter echoes many of the themes found in the October 2005 letter written to Zarqawi by al-Qa`ida’s deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri; indeed, it goes so far as to explicitly confirm the authenticity of that earlier letter. `Atiyah’s admonitions in this letter, like those of Zawahiri in his letter to Zarqawi, also dovetail with other publicly available texts by al-Qa`ida strategists.

Although `Atiyah praises Zarqawi’s military success against coalition forces in Iraq, he is most concerned with Zarqawi’s failure to understand al-Qa`ida’s broader strategic objective: attracting mass support among the wider Sunni Muslim community. `Atiyah reminds Zarqawi that military actions must be subservient to al-Qa`ida’s long-term political goals. Zarqawi’s use of violence against popular Sunni leaders, according to `Atiyah, is undermining al-Qa`ida’s ability to win the “hearts of the people.” 2

According to `Atiyah, Zarqawi’s widening scope of operations, culminating with the November 2005 hotel bombings in Amman, Jordan, has alienated fellow Sunnis and reduced support for the global al-Qa`ida movement. In this vein, `Atiyah instructs Zarqawi to avoid killing popular Iraqi Sunni leaders because such actions alienate the very populations that al-Qa`ida seeks to attract to its cause.3 `Atiyah also encourages Zarqawi to forge strategic relationships with moderate Sunnis, particularly tribal and religious leaders, even if these leaders do not accept Zarqawi’s religious positions.

`Atiyah instructs Zarqawi to follow orders from Usama Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri on major strategic issues, such as initiating a war against Shiites; undertaking large-scale operations; or operating outside of Iraq. `Atiyah goes on to criticize Zarqawi’s board of advisors in Iraq for their lack of adequate political and religious expertise, and he warns Zarqawi against the sin of arrogance. Because al-Qa`ida is in what `Atiyah calls a “stage of weakness,” `Atiyah urges Zarqawi to seek counsel from wiser men in Iraq— implying that there might be someone more qualified than Zarqawi to command al-Qa`ida operations in Iraq.

`Atiyah closes with a request that Zarqawi send a messenger to “Waziristan” (likely, Waziristan, Pakistan) in order to establish a reliable line of communication with Bin Laden and Zawahiri. `Atiyah confirms in the letter that al-Qa`ida’s overall communications network has been severely disrupted and complains specifically that sending communications to Zarqawi from outside of Iraq remains difficult. Interestingly, he explains how Zarqawi might use jihadi discussion forums to communicate with al-Qa`ida leadership in Waziristan.

`Atiyah’s unequivocal confirmation of the Zawahiri letter’s legitimacy, his authoritative tone, and his insider knowledge, indicate that he is among the highest ranking leaders in al-Qa`ida. But unlike most of al-Qa`ida’s known senior leadership, who remain isolated in the tribal areas of Pakistan or under house arrest in Iran, `Atiyah appears to have remarkable freedom of movement and a functional communication network.

Combating Terrorism Center
United States Military Academy
West Point, NY

The full text of the letter is in the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Another never ending post: Immigration this time.

Since John’s said he’s busy doing God’s work and wanted someone to pull in some of the slack around here (wouldn’t hurt if we dusted either) you’re all being subjected to another non-gun pr0n post that never ends. This one is on immigration. You’ve been warned.
(the real stuff is below the fold.)

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Sep 27, 2006 | I'm an idiot...

September 26, 2006

H&I Fires* 26 Sep 2006

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...
Ah, Barnett’s in fine form. Doing anything other than what the terrorists want is likely to make them angry. If the NIE report came back saying anything other than ‘the Injuns are restless’ I’d have wondered what they were drinking, and wondering how I could get myself some of it.

Yes, collateral damage is a problem. But that’s what the SysAdmin/‘Everything Else’ is to deal with and mitigate. That’s what a robust civil affairs and policing arm freed from the ‘gee it sure is fun to blow chit up’ element would do, without confusing the guys who have to do the job up with conflicting ideas about what their job is, much less handing them a job that is at times oxymoronic (“Engage the enemy and kill him with malice, but don’t offend the locals while doing it.”????????????)

We paid for a Swiss Army knife, a big cutting blade with a bunch of less than mediocre implements for a wide range of other jobs, because we, collectively, felt that we had the strategy we could repeat, the Powell Doctrine, that fit the amount we were willing to pay during a time when we saw no smoke signals on the horizon. We are now kicking ourselves that we did not buy a full set of tools with which to build the house that will be Iraq with. Doom on us. (If PG-17 twitches over that I’m coming after who ever fed him a Vietnamese dictionary.)

I don’t care about the source or the words the source uses around this. A worthy read of what three officers (MajGen Batiste, Maj Gen Eaton, and Col. Hammes (author of The Sling and The Stone)) have to say about the passing scene. It is always worth reading what intelligent and informed critics have to say. They may have a point. Kool-aid drinkers on the other hand……
(blatantly snatched off the pages of memeorandum)

Another bit stolen off the presses of Memeorandum, but still ever worth the read:
Care to provide evidence of this MRW and MRWM conspiracy to tar you and your administration Mr. Clinton? That's okay, others are willing to step up and take the Pepsi challenge on that.

LarryK asks this question:

Which military organization is now responsible for air intercept missions over the US Capitol?

No … not the one with the F-16’s

No … not the one with the F-18’s

Third guess is a charm

Give up? These guys. -the Armorer


Bloggers will join Bush in bill-signing ceremony.

Yay us! Bloggers, I mean. Not the Castle in particular. -the Armorer.


Yay the Poms!

British troops in Iraq said on Monday they had killed a senior al Qaeda figure who escaped from a U.S. prison in Afghanistan in 2005.

Omar Faruq was shot dead while resisting arrest during a pre-dawn raid by about 200 British troops in Iraq's second biggest city, Basra, British military spokesman Major Charlie Burbridge said.

More here. -the Armorer


Varifrank went to see Flyboys... and hated it. Which is being, oh, I don't know, charitable in my description of his reaction. Interesting how the baggage you take into the theater affects your perception of what's on the screen. I went to be entertained and see old stuff - he went to see a good flying movie. I wasn't as dismayed by the flying scenes, as I had low expectations... Varifrank got an ulcer, seemingly. Neffi, Bill, Dusty, Gwedd - yer warned. H/t, BCR. -the Armorer


Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Sep 26, 2006 | General Commentary
» MilBlogs links with: How to create terrorists
» MilBlogs links with: How to create terrorists

A Giant Has Passed.

Colonel Jeff Cooper. Rifleman. Pistolero.

A giant in the field of firearms. The Armorer is a pale, pale, pale reflection, a shadow furtively lurking *in* the Colonel's shadow.

As JimB observed - at least now we know there will be a well-run range in Heaven.

Now is the time at Castle Argghhh! when we dance: In Memoriam.

by John on Sep 26, 2006 | Gun Rights

A good war story.

Private Johnson Beharry's investiture took precedence over that of General Sir Mike Jackson, who received the honour of Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath. 'It's an honour to stand alongside him,' said Jackson. Copyright Ian Jones

Pte Johnson Beharry VC is the first person since 1965 to be awarded Britain's highest award for gallantry while still alive. A 27-year-old native of Grenada, who came to Britain in 1999 and joined the British Army in 2001, he was a member of the 1st Battalion Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment when he was posted to Iraq in April 2004. He was awarded the VC on March 18, 2005. This is his story, taken from his soon to be published book, 'Barefoot Soldier'.

The helmet Private Beharry was wearing when an RPG exploded just six inches from his face

Part 1.

Part 2.

Part 3.

Part 4.

Slaying memes, with malice.

So, I find this in my inbox...

Thank you ry :)

I will have to look those up. The Armorer IS a worthless putz, is he not???

From this comment thread.

Ah, the luvverly Cassandra.

Which generated this response, from He Who Should Know Better:

Not so sure about the worthless part, but I'm leaning toward agreement on the putz part. Split the difference? Putz of some worth?;)(flees in terror)

Which generated a response of my own, but that's not important right now.

So. Ya really wanna know what's in the "frequently played" list in the Armorer's Windows Media Player (at work, when trying to not be interrupted, is when I do most of my listening to music)?


Johnny Cash's cover of Nine-Inch-Nail's "Hurt".

And this:

1. The Irish Volunteer
2. Boys That Wore Green
3. Opinions Of Paddy Magee
4. The Boys Of The Irish Brigade
5. Paddy's Lament
6. The Irish Volunteer (Nr. 2)
7. My Fathers Gun
8. Meagher Is Leading The Irish Brigade
9. Free And Green
10. The Harp Of Old Erin & Banner Of Star
11. The List Of Generals
12. Pat Murphy Of Meaghers's Brigade

From this CD.

My favorites are, in no particular order, 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 9. Okay, there *is* an order, but only of convenience, not preference.

If you'd like to see the lyrics, click here.

I'm not that much into music designed for dancing, or, more accurately, spastic gyration. I like songs that tell stories. I disagree with Don McLean - July 16, 1981 is the Day The Music Died.

And Al Stewart needs to produce some new stuff, rather than just live on his stuff from the 80's... what, me selfish?

That is all.

One-Half Thumb Up--

--for "The Black Dahlia." Maggie thought it was a total waste, but there was sufficient gratuitous violence to keep me from dozing off (barely). I appreciate a decent body count -- even if it *was* a tad on the low side -- and it was a hoot spotting the anachronisms (e.g., Cop-walking-around-with-the-flashlight-held-next-to-his-ear. In 1947) and Hollywoodisms (e.g., a .38 is deadly accurate out to one hundred feet, kills instantaneously and produces an effect on an inch-thick steel support plate just slightly less than that of a 20mm shell)...

KtLW: "Shouldn't he be out of bullets?"

Me: "Nope. That's Jimmy Cagney's old pistol from 'Public Enemy' -- it'll fire forever without reloading..."

The deus-ex-machina ending neatly tied up all the loose ends -- the hero, who previously couldn't deduce four as being the product of two times two, evidently received divine revelation six minutes before the closing credits rolled.

Oh, well. At least it wasn't a chique flique.

And nobody we knew saw us there...

On a lighter note, I figure I'll pass along the following, sent to me by someone who *obviously* has sons. Heh. AFSis, this'n is for you:

And you also find out interesting things when you have sons, like…

1. A king size waterbed holds enough water to fill a 2,000 sq. ft. house 4 inches deep.
2. If you spray hair spray on dust bunnies and run over them with roller blades, they can ignite.
3. A 3-year old boy's voice is louder than those of 200 adults in a crowded restaurant.
4. If you hook a dog leash over a ceiling fan, the motor is not strong enough to rotate a 42-pound boy wearing Batman underwear and a Superman cape. It is strong enough, however, if tied to a paint can, to spread paint on all four walls of a 20x20 ft. room.
5. You should not throw baseballs up when the ceiling fan is on. When using a ceiling fan as a bat, you have to throw the ball up a few times before you get a hit. A ceiling fan can hit a baseball a long way.
6. The glass in windows (even double-pane) doesn't stop a baseball hit by a ceiling fan.
7. When you hear the toilet flush and the words "Uh-oh," it's already too late.
8. Brake fluid mixed with Clorox makes smoke. Lots of it.
9. A six-year old boy can start a fire with a flint rock even though a 36-year old adult says they can only do it in the movies.
10. Most Legos will pass entirely through the digestive tract of a 4-year old boy.
11. “Play-Dough” and “microwave” should not be used in the same sentence.
12. Super glue is forever.
13. No matter how much Jell-O you put in a swimming pool you still can't walk on water.
14. Pool filters do not like Jell-O.
15. VCRs do not eject PB & J sandwiches, even though TV commercials show they do.
16. Garbage bags do not make good parachutes.
17. Marbles in gas tanks make lots of noise when driving.
18. You probably DO NOT want to know what that odor is.
19. Always look in the oven before you turn it on; plastic toys do not like ovens.
20. The fire department in Austin, Texas, has a 5-minute response time.
21. The spin cycle on the washing machine does not make earthworms dizzy.
22. It will, however, make cats dizzy.
23. Cats throw up twice their body weight when dizzy.
24. 80% of women who read this will pass it along to 90% of their friends, with or without kids.
25. 80% of men who read this will try mixing Clorox and brake fluid…

by CW4BillT on Sep 26, 2006 | General Commentary
» Quotulatiousness links with: "Flyboys" fails to fly, "Black Dahlia" bleak

September 25, 2006

H&I Fires* 25 Sep 2006

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...


This will be a busy week. Hopefully some slack will get pulled around here...

And Cricket starts us off with this - Guedelon Castle, a very kewl project. I'd like to know how he's funding it.

Jules Crittenden laments the change from the Associated Press to the Amoral Propagandists...

The Associated Press, the reliable just-the-facts news agency you and I once knew, no longer exists. Amoral propagandists have taken over. It is not only in the disturbing matter of Bilal Hussein, AP photograher and al-Qaeda associate, being held without charge in U.S. custody in Iraq that this is evident. But also in the departure from balanced, nonpartisan coverage that has always been the AP’s promise to us, its customers.
-the Armorer


PETA has called Six Flags' promo to get unlimited "front-of-the-line" privileges by eating a live Madagascar hissing cockroach "ungratuitously cruel". Funny. I haven't heard them say a darn thing about the actions of these boys. (That being said, no ride pass is worth eating a 3 inch long hissing cockroach) ~AFSis

This headline made me say "NO $HIT, SHERLOCK".... yeah. I'd say Tiffany Hall is in dire need of some psych assistance. You'd HAVE to be crazy to do what she did. *shudder* ~AFSIS

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Sep 25, 2006 | General Commentary

Flyboys - the Movie.

Worth the price of admission. They must have gathered in about all the flyable (or taxiable) reproduction aircraft in Europe for the movie.

Not too bad from a period accuracy point of view - if you don't mind all those British tanks in the middle of French army battlefields and in German hands.

Lots of computer-generated flying along with the actual in-flight footage, and if you don't know the difference between rotary and radial, you'll be fine.

And all the Vickers and Maxim guns blazing away, what's not to like?

It's a heavily romanticized (and cliché-ridden) tale of the Lafayette Escadrille, the Americans who went to France to fly and fight prior to the US entering the war.

Arguably 15 minutes too long at 2 hours, 15 minutes, but - I'll buy the DVD.

Which is really a pretty strong recommendation, for me!

Movie website is here.

September 24, 2006

H&I Fires* 24 Sep 2006

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...


Just a reminder that terrorism really is a global problem. Maoists arrested in India with substantive arsenal. Too bad they cannot be treated like the Thugee were way back when.


Be interesting to see who blinks...

KOREA: Yankee Threatens to Go Home September 24, 2006: In another example of growing hostility of South Koreans to the presence of American troops in the country, the U.S. Air Force has threatened to move its fighter aircraft out of South Korea if the South Koreans do not, as they agreed to, start construction on a new bombing range (off the coast) within 30 days. The government agreed to this last year, but construction has been delayed by politicians opposed to the deal. As a result, American pilots must leave the country for training. The treaty covering U.S. forces in South Korea, obliges South Korea to provide these training areas. The old one was closed on the condition that a new one would be built. If the Americans go through with their threat, airpower available to defend South Korea will be cut by about twenty percent. In the event of a North Korean attack, the U.S. fighters could return within a week or so.

I sorta hope no one does. This is a relationship that really needs to change in significant ways - on both sides. H/t, Strategy Page. -the Armorer


[fixed links below]

Sgt. Allen of Contact Right shows us his crafty side with Top 10 Deployment Uses for 550 Cord.

And on a more serious note, he also writes about going to the VFW for the first time:

They opened their meeting hall to us. They had invited us into their brotherhood. What had I done to deserve this? To see these men I thought of all they had already endured, all they had given already. And slowly an answer came to me.

Read it all. - FbL


Princess Crabby goes all political on us... and channels Algore?

SWWBO waxes eloquent about... oatmeal?

It's Gold Star Mother's Day (see below) and while this doesn't mesh entirely with the Gold Star theme... it certainly does with the Mother theme.

Fuzzybear Lioness deals with some stress, and discovers what it's like to undergo a thorough background check. No worries, Fuzzy - you'll eventually be able to sit down again.

The Snarkatron snarks the UN. Always a fun topic!

VC CAPTION CONTEST! Not to mention Coffee Snorters, Jihadi Edition. Oh, wait, I *did* mention it.

Alan's Friday Chat - always interesting. -the Armorer

Heh. I'm glad I checked before I hit post- or I woulda stomped Fuzzy's link up there! And close your html tags, Fuzzy - ya forgot a / on yer bold!


From the "Just when you thought they could go no lower" Department comes this.

For you lawyers out there, how's that for "fighting words"?

If someone said that at my dinner table, I'd stick my fork in his effing jugular. Hua. -Instapilot
H/T: Jason

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by Denizens on Sep 24, 2006 | General Commentary

Gold Star Mother's Day.

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Gold Star Mother's Day, 2006 A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America

Since America's founding, every generation has produced patriots willing to sacrifice for our great Nation. Many of these proud sons and daughters have given everything for our freedom, and America has mourned the loss of every life. On Gold Star Mother's Day, we pay special tribute to the mothers of those lost while defending our country and extending the blessings of liberty to others.

Gold Star Mothers have long borne the hardships of war with dignity and devotion. Through heartbreaking loss and unimaginable grief, they continue to support each other through difficult times, stand up for those wearing the uniform of the United States, and serve their communities in the best traditions of the American spirit. Their strength, compassion, and determination are an inspiration to all and a source of great pride for our Nation.

America lives in freedom because of the sacrifices of America's finest citizens and of the mothers who raised them. In the words of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944, "There is nothing adequate which anyone in any place can say to those who are entitled to display the gold star in their windows." Each year, this observance is an opportunity to offer our solemn respect to Gold Star Mothers and renew our ongoing pledge that America will always remember those who died while wearing the uniform of the United States and forever honor their families' sacrifice.

The Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 115 of June 23, 1936 (49 Stat. 1895 as amended), has designated the last Sunday in September as "Gold Star Mother's Day" and has authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in its observance. On this day, we express our deep gratitude to our Nation's Gold Star Mothers, and we ask God's blessings on them and on their families.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Sunday, September 24, 2006, as Gold Star Mother's Day. I call upon all Government officials to display the flag of the United States over Government buildings on this solemn day. I also encourage the American people to display the flag and hold appropriate ceremonies as a public expression of our Nation's sympathy and respect for our Gold Star Mothers.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twentieth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand six, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-first.


American Gold Star Mothers.

The more things change...

...the more some things just stay the same.

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A visual essay on soldiers and soldiering is below the fold, thoughtfully tucked there for you dial up visitors with long graphic load times. Just click on Flash Traffic/Extended Entry

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