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Attacking Petraeus (update -letter to troops from Petraeus)
Posted by: McQ on Friday, September 07, 2007

Some things are so obvious even I can smell them out.

Back on July 19th I entitled a post, "Petraeus: See you in September, you hack" and followed with a lead sentence which said, "And by that time the usual suspects will have done their level best to try and destroy General Petraeus' credibility."

This was all in reaction to a Petraeus appearance on the Hugh Hewitt show. Not a word from the same suspects when he appeared with Alan Combs a couple of weeks later.

The character assassination of David Petraeus is now, as anticipated, in full swing. And, for the most part, it appears to be having some success. Rasmussen today reports:
However, just 39% believe the report will honestly and accurately reflect the General’s true assessment of the situation in Iraq. Thirty-five percent (35%) say it will not while 26% are not sure.

[...]

By a 58% to 22% margin, Republicans expect the report to honestly reflect the views of Petraeus. Just 25% of Democrats share that assessment while 43% say the report will not accurately reflect what Petraeus thinks. Unaffiliateds are evenly divided.
Of course the Democratic belief in the inherent dishonesty of anything which Petraeus will say was started long before my prediction when Harry Reid announced, in true open-minded liberal fashion, that he wouldn't believe Petraeus's testimony before Petraeus had even begun the Surge. Yes, Reid did vote yes to confirm Petraeus as the commander and did caution the administration to "listen to the generals", but then, we all know what generals he was really talking about don't we?

While it was expected most Democrats would refuse to believe him even before he has spoken, where this attempt to undermine Petraeus's credibility seems to have had the most success is among the "unaffiliateds", where at least half are convinced whatever he says will be untrue and not indicative of the actual conditions in Iraq.

How political has this war become? Well I think this sort of an attempt to destroy the credibility of someone who has taken a very difficult job with the unanimous backing of the Senate and who has apparently done his level best to implement a new strategy and make it succeed is, frankly, despicable, and points to how sick party politics have become in this country.

Those who have preemptively attacked Gen. Petraeus and impugned his character before ever hearing a single word the man has to say aren't statesmen, aren't leaders and aren't worthy of the title of "representative". They're small minded political hacks more interested in the welfare of their party and the power they can gather for it and themselves than the best interests of the nation they claim to serve. They are intending to willfully ignore obvious progress in Iraq for the sake of political gain.

I think what is going on is both shameful and disgusting, and for those engaged in such, yes, I do question their "patriotism" for whatever good that will do. I also question their intelligence, judgment, credibility, ethics and most of all their principles.

And if that bothers any of them, that's just too damn bad.

UPDATE: A letter [pdf] by Gen. Petreaus to the troops in Iraq probably holds a pretty decent outline of his testimony. It seems, at least in my opinion, to be a very honest and straight forward description of what they've faced, what they've done, what they've accomplished, what they haven't accomplished and some of the disappointments concerning the lack of progress by the central government.

 
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obvious progress

no such thing.
 
Written By: Francis
URL: http://
While it was expected most Democrats would refuse to believe him even before he has spoken, where this attempt to undermine Petraeus’s credibility seems to have had the most success is among the "unaffiliateds",
What makes you so sure that questions regarding the credibility of Petraeus within the “unaffiliated” are a result of the undermining from the Left?

Isn’t it possible, that since this administration has so harmed its own credibility through its own actions, that there is already a healthy presence of skepticism and disbelief among the “unaffiliated”?
And even though Petraeus hasn’t said a word, one might already have a natural tendency to question his credibility. One would think that someone describing themselves as libertarian would not only understand that tendency, but might just embrace it.

Cheers.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
no such thing.
Certainly not, at least not to those who are determined not to see it.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://qando.net
Those who have preemptively attacked Gen. Petraeus and impugned his character before ever hearing a single word the man has to say aren’t statesmen, aren’t leaders and aren’t worthy of the title of "representative". They’re small minded political hacks more interested in the welfare of their party and the power they can gather for it and themselves than the best interests of the nation they claim to serve. They are intending to willfully ignore obvious progress in Iraq for the sake of political gain.
Only disagreement I have is that, yes, and as Francis continues to confirm, they are representative of a certain segment of the population.

Politicians who only months ago were saying "listen to the generals," are stating that they are going to ignore what General Petraeus is going to say. Unbelievable. And the apologists who are falling in line behind them to excuse this behavior are no better.

What is puzzling to me is that the Democrats state as a goal of theirs, "ensuring success in Iraq." How their actions and legislation can be painted as "ensuring success in Iraq," is beyond me.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
The report was dictated by the Democratic Congress to be prepared through the Whitehouse. But now Democratic propagandists are invalidating the report because it is coming from the Whitehouse.

Nice little political trick there.

Its also a lesson why a President can’t let wildass accusation go unresponded to and act above it all. Because the Democrats are now able to taint the validity of the Report because trashing Whitehouse credibility and motives is an easy sell.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
Meanwhile:
[House Out Of Iraq] Caucus leaders signaled their renewed determination Wednesday to end the war by announcing their plans to push a measure that would cut off funding for the Iraqi military, which they argue has only helped inflame sectarian violence.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
I guess this isn’t a sign of progress...

http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/09/06/america/military.php
An independent commission created by Congress said Thursday that U.S. forces in Iraq could give a larger role to the Iraqi Army by early next year, if the Iraqi forces continued to improve. But the panel warned that it would be 12 to 18 months before the Iraqis could take full control of the country’s security.

...

"The progress of the Iraqi Army is certainly real," said the report by a panel of retired senior military and police officers. "The strategic implications of such continuing successes are encouraging. Coalition forces could begin to be adjusted, realigned and re-tasked as the Iraqi Army is able to take on more responsibility for daily combat operations," possibly starting "in early 2008." It called this a "possible and prudent" course.

General James Jones, the retired commandant of the Marine Corps and former NATO commander who headed the commission, described "impressive" but "uneven progress" by Iraqi forces, and "dramatic results" for coalition forces in Anbar Province. There, he said, the changing loyalties of tribal leaders effectively meant that 35,000 to 40,000 fighters once supporting Al Qaeda were now backing the coalition.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
A few months ago it was all about body counts and the unstoppable violence of a perpetual civil war.

Funny how we have success in the area of stopping violence and you don’t hear about that anymore.

Democrats should be in good physical shape with moving all those goalposts and all.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
I guess this isn’t a sign of progress...
Was the guy who said it a general? Yes?

Of course it’s not a sign of progress then ...
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I have some respect for Petraeus as an implementor of a relatively smart strategy. But Petraeus has earned my skepticism and mistrust as a man trying to mislead the American public about what’s going on in Iraq.
who reminds us that we now have four separate reports (from CRS, the GAO, the Jones commission, and our embassy in Iraq) all telling us pretty much the same thing: progress on the security front is tiny at best and progress on the political front is either zero or negative.
Do the Congressional Research Service and the GAO, not to mention the Jones Commission, headed by retired military officers, really hate America and love Al-Quieda, Q? Or are they just trying to tell us what they see as the truth?

You do read the news, don’t you?
the intelligence community has its own problems with military calculations. Intelligence analysts computing aggregate levels of violence against civilians for the NIE puzzled over how the military designated attacks as combat, sectarian or criminal, according to one senior intelligence official in Washington. "If a bullet went through the back of the head, it’s sectarian," the official said. "If it went through the front, it’s criminal."
And THAT is how you end up with BULLSHIT quotes like "sectarian violence is down 75% since December 2006"! - by adopting a definition of sectarian that eliminates real deaths based on fantastic criteria, spoonfed to the public to create the illusion of progress.
"Depending on which numbers you pick," he said, "you get a different outcome." Analysts found "trend lines . . . going in different directions" compared with previous years, when numbers in different categories varied widely but trended in the same direction. "It began to look like spaghetti."
You understand the significance of that quote, Q? The significance of that quote is that, starting when the surge arrived, we started getting data fudging.

I don’t hate Petraeus for attempting to mislead the American public. I’m sure he saw that a massive PR effort and turning public opinion around was, in his mind, the only way to turn a no-shot mission into a long-shot mission. He took the job: all his incentives run to trying to complete it, even if it’s a job that shouldn’t be completed, a waste of money and lives down a counterproductive rat hole.

But he has no credibility, and he doesn’t deserve to have any credibility.

Those who have preemptively attacked Gen. Petraeus and impugned his character before ever hearing a single word the man has to say aren’t statesmen, aren’t leaders and aren’t worthy of the title of "representative". They’re small minded political hacks more interested in the welfare of their party and the power they can gather for it and themselves than the best interests of the nation they claim to serve. They are intending to willfully ignore obvious progress in Iraq for the sake of political gain.

Bullsh*t. Half the progress in Iraq is fabricated, and the other half is strategically irrelevant. It’s cheerleaders like the Republicans you serve who are willfully ignoring the best interests of the nation in order to salvage your institutional pride and your worldview. I f*cking hate your ignorant badmouthing, infinite cynicism, and worst of all, tunnel vision towards a universe of serious professionals who think Iraq is a dead dog rotting our country from the inside out, not to mention a birthday gift to Al-Quieda that keeps on giving.

General Petraeus’ mission depends on spinning Iraq to the best of his ability, and he’s ruthlessly executing it.

Iraq Study Group:
"good policy is difficult to make when information is systematically collected in a way that minimizes its discrepancy with policy goals."
.

Since then, we’ve gone backwards in honesty, not forwards. 4GW strategy = propaganda. Petraeus understands that, but there’s still a free press in the country that can figure him out.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://

http://abuaardvark.typepad.com/abuaardvark/2007/09/ams-open-letter.html
AMS open letter to resistance

The Association of Muslim Scholars, one of the most influential Sunni organizations in Iraq, has just released an unprecedented open letter to the "resistance". According to the Al-Haq Agency, this is the first time that the AMS has publicly addressed the resistance as a whole, making it a fairly significant event. Like the essay by Abd al-Rahman al-Rawashdi posted last week, the AMS argues that the time has come for the resistance to reap the fruits of its successful jihad against the occupation, but warns that if it fails to unify and put forward a political program then others will seize the rewards instead.

Amsopenletter

After praising the military valor and steadfastness of the insurgency, the AMS poses this sharp question: jihadist and resistance movements in the Islamic world have had many victories over their enemies, but most of them have failed to achieve their goals after the conflict. The AMS repeatedly invokes the Afghan experience of a successful jihad which then collapsed into factional warfare when the Soviets left. The presence of an occupation force helped unite the resistance, writes the AMS, but now is the time to ask: what comes after the occupiers leave? Those who fail to think about this question now, warns the AMS, will be surprised with a bitter harvest.

First, others will try to reap the fruits of the jihad and resistance than its legitmate owners - the occupiers will leave through the door the resistance opened, but it will try to pick successors to be its agents in running the country. And their first move will be to try and liquidate the supporters of jihad and resistance - a direct warning to those Sunnis currently working with the US to think about their future once they have served their purpose. Second, the occupation will never stop trying to sow discord (fitna) among the factions of the resistance, as a way of weakening it. The US has been defeated and wants to leave Iraq, but is only searching for a way to deny the jihad its victory; factional strife is its exit strategy. The resistance is on the brink of a great victory, argues the AMS, which only increases the danger of complacency.

It concludes by pointing out that it has been calling to unify the factions for months, and is pleased with recent moves in that direction. The occupiers will be forced to deal with it, directly or through intermediaries, because of the simple reality of its power which can’t be ignored. Such a dialogue is acceptable, but only after the US has committed to withdrawal - a consistent theme among the "Islamist nationalist" resistance groups. The AMS warns against beginning dialogue with the US before it has committed to withdrawing, because any dialogue before then is only aimed at exploiting and creating differences among the resistance in order to weaken it.

Finally, one fascinating point: the AMS urges coordination with all voices and movements working against the occupation - explicitly including Shia factions which fit that description. The entire document is notably devoid of anti-Shia rhetoric: all attention focuses on the US. Even Maliki’s government is criticized for being an American agent, not for being sectarian. Read that as you will.

I mention the AMS open letter not only because it’s an important political move within the Sunni community, and yet another signal of what the nationalist insurgency groups are trying to do - come together around a political program and form some kind of leadership which can act effectively in a post-American Iraq. I also mention it because it’s important right now to emphasize that these groups are simply not going to sit back and allow the currently America-friendly tribal shaykhs to dominate Sunni politics. They see what’s happening, and they are actively strategizing about how to frustrate the American plan to consolidate an "acceptable", supposedly pro-US leadership in the Sunni areas. The Sunni turn against al-Qaeda, and the current willingness to work with the US military, depended on a tacit agreement between the major insurgency groups and tribal leaders on the need to defend their turf. But reading recent insurgency literature makes it painfully clear that these groups remain committed to an American withdrawal (no matter what the Anbar Awakening crowd says) but also that they are deeply suspicious of the intentions and aspirations of those tribal leaders sitting down with Bush. It’s pretty clear who they think is trying to "illegitimately steal the fruits of the resistance’s victory".

The open letter offers a window into what should be a perfectly obvious point: Sunni resistance groups who don’t share the Bush administration’s agenda are not passive observers of the emerging American Sunni strategy. These groups have always been the blind spot in the way surge partisans framed Sunni politics - with the juxtaposition of al-Qaeda and the Awakenings crowding out any consideration of the agency of the insurgency groups themselves. They still are - the constant use of the term "former insurgents" tends to occlude the fact that these groups still very much exist and have agendas of their own.

Now Fred Kagan and the administration argue that "moderate" (read "amenable to the Americans") will win out in the intra-Sunni competition, and that the political incentives will now undermine hard-liners. The lavish financial packages mentioned during Bush’s stopover in Anbar are surely meant to sweeten their hand, as are the police and military jobs. But all of this relies on an astonishing number of rosy assumptions - about economic development, about Sunni preferences and expectations, and about the passivity of hard-liners in the face of it all. The AMS letter, sharply warning the resistance against complacency as well as factionalism, is clearly meant to ensure against that last one.

What’s much more likely than a consolidation of moderate politics is that the continuing Shia domination of the security forces and the state, the political deadlock in Baghdad, the predictable failure of economic development promises, the nresolved refugee crisis, and the inexorable logic of civil war will strengthen the hand of hard-liners. They are almost certainly going to do what they can to push events in that direction if they feel their influence seriously threatened, and they’ll have plenty to work with. The Sunnis in the police and military in whom the administration is investing such hope will continue to face a sectarian stainless-steel ceiling, and there is very little reason to believe that their loyalties will shift to a national government perceived as sectarian and hostile. That’s even more the case for the "former insurgents" who are not integrated into any national level institutions like the army, who really can’t be described as anything other than US-sanctioned militias. The insurgency groups command a lot of guns, and the loyalty of their people - 1920 Revolution Brigade members cooperating with the US against al-Qaeda remain 1920 Revolution Brigade members, just like Badr Brigades in the Iraqi military remain Badr Brigades. And then there’s the million-plus refugees and displaced persons, with harsh memories of sectarian atrocities, who will not likely be able to return home to an ethnically cleansed Baghdad and will likely be a powerful constituency for hard-liners. I could go on, but I think that’s enough for now...
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
General Petraeus’ mission depends on spinning Iraq to the best of his ability, and he’s ruthlessly executing it.
Yup ... absolutely no progress in Iraq, none.

I have no idea what Durbin and Ellison and Couric and Baird and well, the list goes on, saw, do you?

It must have been a heat mirage.

Instead you have "experts" like Chuck Schumer declaring that the Anbar Awakening happened despite the surge not because of it while you have Iraqis in Anbar saying:
This assessment differs from the opinion expressed to me by a volunteer for the "Fallujah Protectors," the city’s new neighborhood watch:

"Before [the Iraqi Police] did not have enough cover to hold their city. But right now, they got cover, like what you see: every single IP station has marines with them, to give them support every time the IP want it. Another thing? They didn’t have weapons, but right now they have weapons, so they can do the right thing, kill the terrorists and survive."
And the opinion of a Fallujan interpreter, on the change that empowered the local police to improve the security situation:

"I think, what made (the) change, (is) the American support, the USA support to the IPs (Iraqi Police) and ... support to all the western region, and that’s what’s different from now and then."
But there’s been no progress in Iraq, certainly not because of anything we’ve done, and to prove it we’ll go into the weeds and argue over numbers and completely forgo looking at the broad picture and the undeniable progress.

Well undeniable except to you, Francis and Harry Reid. But that says more about you than David Petraeus and certainly drains any credibility from your opinion of him.

Nope, granting Petraeus any credibility would be disasterous to a party that has a vested political interest in failure there, wouldn’t it? It would mean you’d have to have the integrity to say "wow, we could be wrong and this might actually have a chance of working", wouldn’t it?

And, of course, there’s no chance of that ever happening.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
As I’ve brought up before, how do you determine the cause or status of an Iraqi who is found dead???

If the thugs of one sect are killing off the thugs of another sect, how is that a bad thing (other then for those caught in the cross-fire.)

Anyway you look at it, those thugs have to be dealt with. Either they put down their arms, get arrested, or get killed.

It would seem to be your contention that ALL the reports that could possibly come out can be discounted. Even when the people creating the report have been to Iraq, and independently talked with Iraqis and others that are there.

http://economist.com/world/na/displaystory.cfm?story_id=9764232
In a separate assessment of progress, the authors of America’s National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) said in August that there had been “measurable but uneven” improvements in security.

Two influential Washington think-tankers who visited Iraq in July—Michael O’Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack of the Brookings Institution—returned somewhat upbeat. They concluded that the surge had improved security and economic conditions in areas where General Petraeus had concentrated his forces. The Americans were working alongside Iraqi units that seemed more competent and less sectarian than before.
http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/09/06/america/military.php
An independent commission created by Congress said Thursday that U.S. forces in Iraq could give a larger role to the Iraqi Army by early next year, if the Iraqi forces continued to improve. But the panel warned that it would be 12 to 18 months before the Iraqis could take full control of the country’s security.

...

"The progress of the Iraqi Army is certainly real," said the report by a panel of retired senior military and police officers. "The strategic implications of such continuing successes are encouraging. Coalition forces could begin to be adjusted, realigned and re-tasked as the Iraqi Army is able to take on more responsibility for daily combat operations," possibly starting "in early 2008." It called this a "possible and prudent" course.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
McQ, I think you’re misinterpreting the poll results you quote. "By a 58% to 22% margin, Republicans expect the report to honestly reflect the views of Petraeus. Just 25% of Democrats share that assessment while 43% say the report will not accurately reflect what Petraeus thinks. Unaffiliateds are evenly divided."

That, to me, reads as "Democrats don’t believe that the ’Petraeus report’ will actually reflect Petraeus’ views," not "Petraeus is a dishonest hack." And, if you buy the LA Times’ reporting that the ’Petraeus report’ will actually be written by White House staffers and not by Petraeus, I think that’s a legitimate response to the question that doesn’t attack Petraeus’ honesty.
 
Written By: Chris Lawrence
URL: http://blog.lordsutch.com/
That, to me, reads as "Democrats don’t believe that the ’Petraeus report’ will actually reflect Petraeus’ views," not "Petraeus is a dishonest hack."
Well Chris you have to have been reading the increasing attacks on Petraeus since my July 19 post (see link above), but essentially, that’s been the message.

Two that I cited that day said:
To reach the rank of general you have to be part politician, it has always been that way. A good general is always a general first and a politician second. Those who have been generals first have over the last six years be driven from the service by Donald Rumsfeld and the Bush administration. What we have left are men like General Petraeus. Not only a politician but a political hack.
And:
Petraeus’ credibility suffered a serious blow this week when he appeared on far-right activist Hugh Hewitt’s radio show, and stuck closely to the White House script.
I don’t know how you might interpret those sorts of attacks but, given them, I’ll stick by my characterization.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
How political has this war become? Well I think this sort of an attempt to destroy the credibility of someone who has taken a very difficult job with the unanimous backing of the Senate and who has apparently done his level best to implement a new strategy and make it succeed is, frankly, despicable, and points to how sick party politics have become in this country.

Is that a joke?
 
Written By: Xanthippas
URL: http://threewisemen.blogspot.com
the word "progess" necessarily implies a destination. just for grins, i’ll assume that the DOD and administration flacks are talking about progress towards that oh-so-elusive "victory".

Given that the President has re-affirmed just this week that victory consists of Iraq being democratic, and given that Iraq is majority shia (and growning more rapidly so due to ethnic cleansing), victory means stabilizing a pro-Iranian government.

Let me reiterate — the more we succeed, the better Iran does. We are fighting for our enemy.

Since Petraeus, but not the President, appears to have figured this out, we are now arming the Sunnis and attacking the Shia.

Brilliant. Having armed the Shia and the Kurds over the last several years, we have now turned on our allies and are arming their enemy. This should work out just fine. All camps now have enough weapons to keep us in Iraq for a generation or even two.

If DOD is so sure about the reduction in violence, why is it that every outside review finds that the means of measuring violence are useless?

The statements "We Don’t Do Bodycounts" and "Violence is Down" cannot be reconciled. One of them is false.
 
Written By: Francis
URL: http://
Francis, obviously you can’t comprehend "reward our friends and punish our enemies."

Translation: use the Shia to convince the Sunni they’ve lost and should work with us, then take the Sunnis and deal with Mookie and friends.

See also: "Defeat in detail." Have you ANY clue about tactics? (Rhetorical question)
 
Written By: SDN
URL: http://
The statements "We Don’t Do Bodycounts" and "Violence is Down" cannot be reconciled. One of them is false.
No. The military leadership doesn’t release bodycounts to the media. That doesn’t mean they don’t investigate and catalog the results of military operations for their own use.

Furthermore, "violence is down" doesn’t have to depend on counting bodies.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Nope, granting Petraeus any credibility would be disasterous to a party that has a vested political interest in failure there, wouldn’t it? It would mean you’d have to have the integrity to say "wow, we could be wrong and this might actually have a chance of working", wouldn’t it?

David Petraeus could have had some credibility with me via a simple method: implement a plan that showed genuine, substantive, strategically siginificant improvement in the security metrics without manipulating the data. I’d still have disagreed with him about what is - and is not - accomplished in a counterinsurgency by lowering violence levels by fractions - i.e., not much - but I wouldn’t be drawing swords on it.

He wasn’t capable of that. His Pentagon’s presentations have fundamentally lacked honesty, and you’re not even trying to refute it.

You’re trying to blow past that point based on the opinions of Katie Couric? Are you kidding?

I have no idea what Durbin and Ellison and Couric and Baird and well, the list goes on, saw, do you?

I already answered this.

Half the progress in Iraq is fabricated, and the other half is strategically irrelevant.

You’ve rarely looked as foolish as this, Q, actively refusing to investigate hard metrics and trumpeting the unsourced opinions - the cocktail chatter, essentially - of people who reinforce your viewpoints. Oh, and slandering anyone who dares to disagree with you.

It’s too bad you don’t have any close friends or family members who think the surge hasn’t accomplished a dime’s worth of candy, so you can accuse them of being "political hacks" as well. Once you start letting people out of that ’political hack’ folder and acknowledging that, gee, smart people everywhere aren’t buying this c*ap, that might raise some.. questions..
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Translation: use the Shia to convince the Sunni they’ve lost and should work with us, then take the Sunnis and deal with Mookie and friends.

See also: "Defeat in detail." Have you ANY clue about tactics? (Rhetorical question)


The Sunni baathists who’ve been blowing us up for years are our friends, SDN?

And what do you mean by "deal with"? You mean, take some form of military action that will wipe out the Shia who aren’t in line with us, like how we were uttering incapable of doing against the Baathists, which is why we had to buy them off?

I’m sure the rest of the Shia will greet us as liberators. Right?
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
I wait to have an explanation as to why the Democrats have already stated that they don’t beleive the General, yet they want to have the report. It makes no sense. Plus some one please justifiy to me the over riding need to hand a victory to our enemies, past "we need Bush to fail".
 
Written By: The Law
URL: http://www.rhetoicbuster.net

 
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