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Military Commandersí Decisions in Fallujah Overridden by Politicians (CONFIRMED)
Fox Live Broadcast / USA Today Interview ^ | 5/3/04 | Jim Michaels

Posted on 05/03/2004 4:53:43 PM PDT by elfman2

Freepers have been hotly debating whether politicians or military commanders made the decision to cancel the Fallujahn offensive.

Today Fox News Live’s Jon Scott (I believe) interviewed Jim Michaels (USA Today Reporter) just back from Fallujah. I transcribed the relevant portion of the interview. In summary he said that the Marines were told to stop the attack by Administrator Bremer under pressure from the Iraqi Governing Council.

MICHAELS – “No one [in the Marines] was happy with the cease fire. The American contractors were killed.

“They got the order to go in, as we know, on a big offensive. They were in the offensive for whatever, seven or eight days and boom the politicians said no, hold back, there’s too many casualties.

The governing council, the Iraqi governing council, was really upset. They went to Mr. Bremer. Mr. Bremer in turn sort ‘a put in the order to hold back.

“While they were in this cease fire meanwhile the insurgents were in there, the insurgents were in there rearming re-supplying you know, taking advantage of of the lull in activities, so they were in a real bind here, and they really had no choice, they say, except to come up with the idea for a Fallujah Brigade.

“Otherwise these guys would still be in there and the ceasefire would still be going on, and these talks that they were having were going nowhere. The sheiks (sp?) were just kind ‘a sipping tea with coalition officials and were nowhere, It was just getting nowhere at all. “

SCOTT –“So very quickly Jim, Do the bad folks in Fallujah think that they’ve won?”

MICHAELS – “They do indeed! They’re running around the past couple of days, celebrating and saying you know that they’ve fought things to a stand still. They’re really taking a propaganda victory out of this. “

“They’re really running around saying, you know, they fought the American forces to a standstill. You know they’re pushing it for all it’s worth.”

SCOTT –“So how does that effect their overall strategy to win the hearts and minds of the the Iraqis - the fact that they’re claiming a victory in Fallujah?

MICHAELS – Well pol… It doesn’t help. And it’s one of the biggest fears that the Marines have is that a week, 10 days down the road, this things going to continue to snowball, and and these guys are going to claim victory, and it presents a BIG propaganda problem for the American forces there. It its a big risk.

"The Marines said that they had no choice, that they were in a stand off and the ceasefire whas going nowhere."


(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: fallujah; fallujahbrigade; iraq
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No statements by General Abizaid, Kimmitt or Conway contradict this. Their statements need to be read carefully and are either very vague or irrelevant to “who” decided to stop the attack.

The military is of course always subservient to political objectives, but halting the attack on Fallujah like this is indicative of the crippling restrictions behind tragedies in Vietnam, Lebanon and Somalia.

Bush is of course principled, but one of his principles is to compromise to whatever degree necessary to claim some positive results when the outcome is not certain.

I think Americans did not struggle and suffer and die in Iraq for the president to compromise.

Some claim that a greater objective is served by this, and others call that a convenient explanation for our political weakness in kicking the knees out from under our Marines in full charge.

Some claim that we can restart the Fallujahn offensive if the Fallujahn Brigade fails. Others say it’s much more difficult now, unlikely, and the damage has been done.

Either way, we now have un-contradicted information on who made the decision to halt the attack on Fallujah.

1 posted on 05/03/2004 4:53:43 PM PDT by elfman2
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To: jpsb; tbeatty; Beenliedto; JasonC; CatOwner; mikegi; Lijahsbubbe; Rummyfan; WOSG; section9; ...
“As Falluja goes, so goes central Iraq, as central Iraq goes, so goes the nation," - Colonel John Coleman, chief of staff of 1st Marine Expeditionary Force

2 posted on 05/03/2004 4:55:24 PM PDT by elfman2
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To: elfman2
Politics is what killed over 50,000 soldiers in VN.
3 posted on 05/03/2004 4:56:23 PM PDT by The Bandit
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To: elfman2
Between Falluja and the burgeoning prison scandal, we have a problem, Houston.
4 posted on 05/03/2004 4:59:42 PM PDT by swarthyguy
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To: elfman2
Oh sh*t. :(
5 posted on 05/03/2004 5:01:10 PM PDT by adam_az (Call your State Republican Party office and VOLUNTEER!!!!)
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To: elfman2
There were too many conflicting reports about Fallujah the last few days for it NOT to be political. Too many, who should have, seemed to not know what was going on.

History teaches....but politicans never seem to learn.
6 posted on 05/03/2004 5:02:59 PM PDT by TomGuy (Clintonites have such good hind-sight because they had their heads up their hind-ends 8 years.)
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To: The Bandit
Nothing to see here. It is just Bush, Kerry, and the rest of the gang playing politics with the lives of our men.
7 posted on 05/03/2004 5:03:02 PM PDT by ARCADIA (Abuse of power comes as no surprise)
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To: elfman2
"A reporter said so!"

Well, gee. Can't argue with a sacred reporter, especially a USA Today one- they're as unimpeachable as NYTimes reporters!


But, seriously.

Bremer makes the calls. That's his job.
I doubt he overrode any high Marine. They know what the mission is, to turn Iraq over to the Iraqis.

8 posted on 05/03/2004 5:07:15 PM PDT by mrsmith ("Oyez, oyez! All rise for the Honorable Chief Justice... Hillary Rodham Clinton ")
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To: elfman2
yup

screwed the pooch, bigtime, it appears.
9 posted on 05/03/2004 5:07:21 PM PDT by Robert_Paulson2 (the madridification of our election is now officially underway.)
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To: elfman2
Seems simple: We were prepared to go in, guns blazing. The Iraqi Governing Council had reservations about that. In deference to the Council, we backed off a major offensive. Why is there a fuss about the reality that any option in Iraq is difficult, complex, and has many ramifications? It's easy to sit in front of a computer on FreeRepublic and argue that we should flatten the miserable place. We have to trust to our leaders to figure out how to balance our military advantage with the diplomatic considerations.
10 posted on 05/03/2004 5:07:43 PM PDT by My2Cents ("Well...there you go again.")
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To: elfman2
I thought Bush was going to let the military take care of things. So much for that. Politics and the conduct of war are an unfortunate by-product of our way of life.

The military might not have given the real decision makers the right info on what would happen, given certain choices. We may eventually find out.
11 posted on 05/03/2004 5:08:35 PM PDT by TheLion
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To: swarthyguy
Between Falluja and the burgeoning prison scandal, we have a problem, Houston.

The latter is CBS News and Sy Hersh slipping in the knife. I wonder if Sy got off when the knife went in. It's so Vietnam-era. He hasn't got any Communist Empire to pledge allegiance to anymore, but he can still work for Communism in America.

What a bunch of comrades.

12 posted on 05/03/2004 5:08:52 PM PDT by lentulusgracchus (Et praeterea caeterum censeo, delenda est Carthago. -- M. Porcius Cato)
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To: elfman2
Meanwhile in Najaf, we are still negotiating the terms of our surrender.
13 posted on 05/03/2004 5:09:30 PM PDT by Last Dakotan
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To: elfman2
This should help drive the final nail into that silly, silly argument I saw repeated here ad infinitum that the naysayers couldn't possibly know as much as the "commanders on the ground" and had no business criticizing them.
14 posted on 05/03/2004 5:09:38 PM PDT by LibWhacker
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To: swarthyguy; elfman2
Reading some of the recent articles out of Fallujah it seems like the US Marine snipers were absolutely wrecking havoc there.

15 posted on 05/03/2004 5:10:21 PM PDT by Eurotwit
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To: LibWhacker
I still make that statement:

The people on here have no clue to what is going on compared to the commanders on the ground.

So there.
16 posted on 05/03/2004 5:12:15 PM PDT by Eurotwit
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To: elfman2
How does Bremer "in turn sort a put in the order to hold back."? As a civilian, how is Bremer even in the chain of command?
17 posted on 05/03/2004 5:12:43 PM PDT by vbmoneyspender
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To: lentulusgracchus
Regardless, both happened. The consequences have to be dealt with.
18 posted on 05/03/2004 5:13:12 PM PDT by swarthyguy
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To: elfman2; All
I have posted in numerous threads on this same thing.

The war is over. We lost.

We need to bring our boys home IMMEDIATELY!!!

19 posted on 05/03/2004 5:13:21 PM PDT by expatguy (Fallujah Delenda Est!!)
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To: mrsmith
Can't argue with a sacred reporter, especially a USA Today one

Hey, if the story fits the facts.

20 posted on 05/03/2004 5:14:32 PM PDT by Last Dakotan
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To: elfman2
Hmmm,

May be right, or may be wrong. Not sure why you say this is confirmed just because a USA reporter says it is.

Even if it is, why would the Iraqi Governing Council and Paul Bremmer not have a say on a strategic decision (as opposed to a tactical one)? A strategic decision (in Phase IV operations) is whether or not to attack Fallujah. A tactical one would be how the Marines conduct that operation if told to go in.
21 posted on 05/03/2004 5:14:37 PM PDT by Proud Legions
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To: expatguy
The war is over. We lost.

LOL. Remind me never to get between you and an emergency exit if someone yells 'Fire!'

22 posted on 05/03/2004 5:14:49 PM PDT by vbmoneyspender
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To: elfman2
From the second I saw your post--which I agree entirely with, BTW--I wondered how long it'd take "everything's going great in Falujah!" crowd to show up and begin ridiculing it's premises.
It didn't take long, as witnessed above.
And it's the same old tired bit about "sitting in front of keyboards" and all that cheap-shot claptrap, at that.
Excellent post, thanks for posting it.
23 posted on 05/03/2004 5:14:57 PM PDT by A Jovial Cad ("I had no shoes and I complained, until I saw a man who had no feet.")
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To: Eurotwit
Well look at the posters. Personally I think the sky is falling. I just know there is money to be made.
24 posted on 05/03/2004 5:15:27 PM PDT by WHBates
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To: elfman2
I would rather see Iraqi troops killed by their own then American troops. The argument for leveling the place goes against everything we stand for and the reasons why we went in to "Liberate" them in the first place.
25 posted on 05/03/2004 5:15:42 PM PDT by Normal4me
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To: Dark Wing
No one can say yes, but anyone can say no.
26 posted on 05/03/2004 5:15:58 PM PDT by Thud
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To: Eurotwit
I'm sure they did.

But US Marines are not patrolling Falluja, Iraki brigades are strutting with the old flag, Our general Saleh is now replaced by Gen Latif, because we might have installed the wrong gen Saleh in the first place!

The Fallujans are claiming victory. I agree. We can it back I'm sure. Just not today.

We started the Battle for Falluja after those 4 guys got bbq'ed. And then we stopped.
27 posted on 05/03/2004 5:16:07 PM PDT by swarthyguy
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To: The Bandit
The insurgents have learned the sessons of George Washington and Ho Chi Minh. If you make a democracy bleed long enough for the passions of the moment to subside you will probably win. Too bad the American leadership hasn't remembered.
28 posted on 05/03/2004 5:16:27 PM PDT by Natural Law
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To: LibWhacker
My sentiments *exactly*! Well-said, and absolutely correct.
29 posted on 05/03/2004 5:16:43 PM PDT by A Jovial Cad ("I had no shoes and I complained, until I saw a man who had no feet.")
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To: elfman2
The sheiks (sp?) were just kind ‘a sipping tea with coalition officials and were nowhere, It was just getting nowhere at all.

Rope-a-dope. "Talk talk, fight fight", v. 2.0. The sheikhs carried proxies for the bad guys, and they put a squeeze play on the Iraqi Governing Council to get Bremer to call off his dogs.

They sat around drinking coffee, to freeze the counteroffensive and give their pals, the bad guys, the win.

Now Bush is screwed, because the bad guys will be able to outlast him, with elections on us. The bad guys will either make their hay while he dithers, trying not to give the Media Left campaign ammunition...........or they get to deal with Kerry, who will give them the whole thing and just bug out.

30 posted on 05/03/2004 5:16:53 PM PDT by lentulusgracchus (Et praeterea caeterum censeo, delenda est Carthago. -- M. Porcius Cato)
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To: vbmoneyspender
Very well.

And perhaps you can remind me as to what we are doing with over a 130,000 troops in Iraq?

31 posted on 05/03/2004 5:16:56 PM PDT by expatguy (Fallujah Delenda Est!!)
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To: Eurotwit
Fine, but it's completely irrelevant. For my part, my criticism was NEVER of the commanders on the ground, but of the political correctness emanating from State and elsewhere. As we suspected, the commanders on the ground were effectively out of the loop. So there. :)
32 posted on 05/03/2004 5:17:04 PM PDT by LibWhacker
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To: mrsmith
"Well, gee. Can't argue with a sacred reporter, especially a USA Today one- they're as unimpeachable as NYTimes reporters! But, seriously. Bremer makes the calls. That's his job. I doubt he overrode any high Marine. They know what the mission is, to turn Iraq over to the Iraqis. "

Please, this is the lead foreign reporter for the paper that Fox’s Jon Scott introduced as the “Paper of Record for the Iraq war”. If he has it wrong, he’ll pay.

You have ZERO evidence to the contrary.

33 posted on 05/03/2004 5:17:31 PM PDT by elfman2
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To: elfman2
I don't know what's going on here, but I do know that if you let people push you around, they'll take it as license to continue pushing.

Granted, that didn't happen here, but it sounds like there's a perception that it did.
34 posted on 05/03/2004 5:18:21 PM PDT by Sam Cree (Democrats are herd animals)
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To: lentulusgracchus
I'm listening to Seymour right now on Oreilly saying that these torture pictures are just the tip of the iceberg. He seems to be taking glee in that there is much more to come.
35 posted on 05/03/2004 5:19:03 PM PDT by cwb (Liberals: Always looking for social justice in all the wrong places.)
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To: vbmoneyspender
"How does Bremer "in turn sort a put in the order to hold back."? As a civilian, how is Bremer even in the chain of command? "

Apparently the Marines were ordered to cooperate with him. And then Bush’s big conference call a few days ago that “agreed” against invading Fallujah settled the matter.

36 posted on 05/03/2004 5:19:31 PM PDT by elfman2
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To: vbmoneyspender
As a civilian, how is Bremer even in the chain of command?

He's got connections to another guy who goes by the title Commander in Chief.

37 posted on 05/03/2004 5:20:18 PM PDT by Last Dakotan
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To: elfman2
The governing council, the Iraqi governing council, was really upset.

Al Jazeera feeds.

38 posted on 05/03/2004 5:20:38 PM PDT by lentulusgracchus (Et praeterea caeterum censeo, delenda est Carthago. -- M. Porcius Cato)
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To: expatguy
Nonsense, This area is less than 2 sq miles. How is that "losing the war." And you people bitch about the liberals having no guts. It is shameful to hear all of this "the sky is calling" horsesh!t on FR. This article confirms nothing other than the media is out to use this campaign for their own ends. Why help them? Wars ar not movies, things like this happens.

Why believe some reporter over military spokesmen? This is what liberals do.

39 posted on 05/03/2004 5:20:43 PM PDT by CasearianDaoist
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To: expatguy
Trying to establish a democracy in a country that prior to the start of the war was routinely firing missiles at our pilots
40 posted on 05/03/2004 5:21:40 PM PDT by vbmoneyspender
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To: A Jovial Cad
Yeah, except for the fact that at the time Bremer called off the attack, we were facing a revolt in our rear. Al-Sadr's people, remember?

Nothing's "going great" in Fallujah. But the place was wired up for explosives to a far greater degree than Jenin ever was, and, given the fact that the Iraqi "army" is almost certain to be a grand failure, we'll have to go in and finish the job. One other thing; at the time we were going to go in, jihadist strength was at its height. Now, not so strong.

I don't get this information from a reporter, btw, but from people in the military.

Fallujah is not over.

Be Seeing You,

Chris

41 posted on 05/03/2004 5:22:34 PM PDT by section9 (Major Motoko Kusanagi says, "John Kerry: all John F., no Kennedy..." Click on my pic!)
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To: Last Dakotan; vbmoneyspender
Yeah. Bremer is Bush's mandarin, his wide-and-deep Wise Man who's got his Harvard creds and his mandarin background that guarantees that we'll get it right.

But, wait. Guys like that ran the Vietnam War, didn't they? And Korea.

Hmmmm.

42 posted on 05/03/2004 5:22:36 PM PDT by lentulusgracchus (Et praeterea caeterum censeo, delenda est Carthago. -- M. Porcius Cato)
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To: swarthyguy
Our general Saleh is now replaced by Gen Latif, because we might have installed the wrong gen Saleh in the first place!

Saleh was never placed in command - execpted by the media. Get a grip. What is wrong woth you people? This thread reads like DU.

43 posted on 05/03/2004 5:22:49 PM PDT by CasearianDaoist
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To: My2Cents
Why is there a fuss about the reality that any option in Iraq is difficult, complex, and has many ramifications?

It is not difficult and it is not complex.

War is simple. Beat your opponent into submission and the war is over.

It's a dirty business. People get killed. If you don't have the stomach for it then it's best not to get involved.

44 posted on 05/03/2004 5:22:52 PM PDT by expatguy (Fallujah Delenda Est!!)
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To: Proud Legions
"Even if it is, why would the Iraqi Governing Council and Paul Bremmer not have a say on a strategic decision "

They should have a say, but such a dramatic say in this case is troubling considering our record of allowing the say of wobbly politicians to cripple our military.

45 posted on 05/03/2004 5:23:55 PM PDT by elfman2
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To: Last Dakotan
So then the story is incorrect in that Bush would have had to have been the one to call off the Marines. I think I'll reserve judgment on what happened until more information comes out.
46 posted on 05/03/2004 5:24:09 PM PDT by vbmoneyspender
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To: elfman2
but halting the attack on Fallujah like this is indicative of the crippling restrictions behind tragedies in Vietnam, Lebanon and Somalia.

Well, no. Not really. This was a decision to engage politics, not one to describe in detail how the Marines were to fight.

47 posted on 05/03/2004 5:24:48 PM PDT by lepton ("It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into"--Jonathan Swift)
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To: elfman2
Some time ago, I pointed out that the cease fire had the same ring as LBJ saying, "The US Air Force can't bomb a $hithouse in N.Vietnam without my knowing about it."

Some laughed. I didn't.
48 posted on 05/03/2004 5:25:27 PM PDT by PokeyJoe (French fried franks for free)
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To: Last Dakotan
It's a hoot to see such worshipful acceptance of the media on Free Republic.
49 posted on 05/03/2004 5:25:38 PM PDT by mrsmith ("Oyez, oyez! All rise for the Honorable Chief Justice... Hillary Rodham Clinton ")
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To: elfman2
I'm not sure at all that the President has much to do personally with what is going on in Fallujah now. It is more likely these decisions are comming from the area commanders. There is no doubt that Bush will pay a political price for what happens there as it affects the larger picture in Iraq.

What concerns me is how they have backed away from their original objectives. First they back off demands for the turn over of the contractor killers. I doubt if they would get them anyway because they could have left before they cordoned of the area. But it is different with the foreign fighters. They are going to be able to blend in with the Iraqis and fade away into the larger population or other areas.

I doubt if we see either a big turn over of heavy weapons or a Marine assault as long as the new forces don't start shooting at us.

The problem with this is that it gives the insugents something to point to as a victory. This is in a country where most people are sitting on the fence looking to join the side of the winner. They will be paying careful attention because their decision is a matter of life or death.

The insurgents, if left alive and a presence in Fallujah, can say that they were not dislodged by a superior Marine and US force. It does not matter how many casualties they took. If they hold the ground, they win.

In the first Gulf War, when the Iraqis stood, they were distroyed. You will recall there was much less resistance by the Iraqi Regular Army or Republican Guard in this war because they learned they can't win. They learned because they were shown. We are offering no such lesson in Fallujah.

50 posted on 05/03/2004 5:25:39 PM PDT by Anti-Bubba182
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