By Joe Conason

Veterans Denounce Neoconservative ‘Swiftboating’ Of Chuck Hagel

December 22, 2012 1:18 am Category: Memo Pad, Politics 50 Comments A+ / A-
Veterans Denounce Neoconservative ‘Swiftboating’ Of Chuck Hagel

If Chuck Hagel is nominated by President Obama to serve as Secretary of Defense, there will be at least three compelling arguments in his favor. He served with distinction in the military and would  – like Secretary of State nominee John Kerry – bring a veteran’s perspective to his post. He has adopted and articulated a sane perspective on the grave foreign policy blunders whose consequences still haunt the nation, including the Iraq and Vietnam wars. And as we have learned ever since his nomination was first floated, he has made all the right (and right-wing) enemies.

Hagel is a former Republican senator from Nebraska, which means that his voting record was mostly conservative and that he has probably said many things that might offend liberal Democrats. (Already he has felt obliged to apologize for a nasty remark he once made in reaction to President Clinton’s nomination of James Hormel as the first openly gay US ambassador.) He is a devout Catholic and an opponent of abortion rights, and has received poor ratings in the past from the NAACP, the ACLU and other liberal organizations.

But as a potential nominee for Secretary of Defense, Hagel is coming under far heavier fire so far from the right – where he is being widely smeared as anti-Israel and anti-Semitic – than from the left. The neoconservatives and their allies on the religious right cannot forgive Hagel for turning against the Iraq war and the Bush administration – a stance that reflected his opposition to reckless warfare and his adoption of a realistic internationalism. They dislike Hagel as well for his refusal to endorse Israel’s expansion of West Bank settlements and other actions that undermine the Mideast peace process; for his reluctance to promote war with Iran; and for his critical eye on Pentagon misspending and waste.

In reality, those are all valid reasons to support him. It is hard to believe that the opinions of the same people who assured us that Iraq would be a free and easy “cakewalk” are today accorded any attention whatsoever, thousands of lives and trillions of dollars later.

Yet it is equally  important to emphasize that the charge of anti-Semitism against Hagel is groundless and shames those who have uttered this canard. Among those who have forthrightly denounced it are Jon Soltz, a Jewish army veteran who served two tours in Iraq and now heads Vote Vets;  and Jeffrey Goldberg, the Atlantic magazine blogger on Mideast affairs who once served in the Israel Defense Forces. (They are unlike many of Hagel’s critics, who might fairly be characterized as “chickenhawks.”)

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Veterans Denounce Neoconservative ‘Swiftboating’ Of Chuck Hagel Reviewed by on . If Chuck Hagel is nominated by President Obama to serve as Secretary of Defense, there will be at least three compelling arguments in his favor. He served with If Chuck Hagel is nominated by President Obama to serve as Secretary of Defense, there will be at least three compelling arguments in his favor. He served with Rating:

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  • nobsartist

    I guess the people that nominated an AWOL coke head for president, backed the liar who lied us into 2 wars, de-regulated the financial industry plunging us into a depression, blew our deficit up into the trillions, allowed millionaires to get away without paying taxes because they are the ” job creators”, created our failed health industry, passed failed gun laws, and are basically all crooks and traitors should have a voice but by the same token, they should be the target of massive criticism and ridicule to the point where they resign their seats and are afraid to return to DC.

    • bcass1947

      Pretty judgemental there nobsartist. At least we have a history of these people from which we may or may not choose. And with that we know of Mr Hagel. What is your claim to fame. We all know you are a citizen. Freedom of speech is your right. You have an opinion. But are you a veteran? Did you serve in the Military? Also if you wish to make change why aren’t you running for office. Believe me I’m no friend of the right. I will critic the left when need be. I do know one thing the Democrats are more apt to help We The People than the Republicans.I would honestly say in my opinion if the Pubs continued to gain power we’d live a life similar to those movies they made with selective breeding and termination. One race, one creed , one color and the Neoclowns pretty much represent the Anglo’s light hair blue eyed Europeans. Think about it.

      • larryincamden

        How do you know he is a citizen? because he lives here? Many live here and are not a citizen.
        NO the Democrats are not more likely to help “We the people” they only help We the Democrats and if they had their way there would be only one creed and there would be no other creed allowed no matter what color, nationality or race.

        • old_blu

          You’re wrong.

          The ones that give more to the federal government in taxes than they get in return. From 1 to 10, they are:
          New Jersey, Nevada, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Illinois, Delaware, California, New York, Colorado.
          Anything strange about that list? Yes, they are all blue states (or the deepest of purple).

      • nobsartist

        I would have to say that republiCONs display traits that are closer to those of hitler and the nazis than what those that vote Dem believe in.

        As for me, I have been working towards change for over 40 years. I keep score on how DC works and so far, it has not been working for almost 50 years.

        Our wars have not worked. Our philosophy since the felon nixon was in office has not worked. NO plan that our government has come up with in the past 50 years works except the one where wall street is allowed to take whatever they want, has worked.

        We have wasted 5 years on President Obama’s failed health care bill when in reality, all he had to do was sign an executive order rescinding rayguns failed health care bill of 1982.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/VQOMKOFFMXMT6UBANY44GZCYE4 yahoo-VQOMKOFFMXMT6UBANY44GZCYE4

          We didn’t waste five years with Health care, the Republicans made damn sure everything POTUS tried to pass failed. Now they are holding their dicks in their hands and thumbs in their mouths! Having served in a war, I have the right to speak my mind. All he had to do was sign an executive order? You are kidding, if he could of done that he would of signed a lot of executive orders!
          Nixon wanted Healthcare for the masses! even though he broke some rules. But was told by his “people” we have to fight a break in! I was in DC when this went down. If Republicans get their way, they want a Hitler type regime! White, Rich and of course the poor to do their dirty work.

    • ONALIMB

      You forgot his love of Jack Daniel, and his third from the bottom of his graduating class.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dominick.vila.1 Dominick Vila

    The opposition to Chuck Hagel’s nomination by the one dimensional far right is not surprising. The color gray does not exist when it comes to Tea Party orthodoxy, everything is black and white. Period. Chuck Hagel’s comments have never been anti-semitic. Proposing a just settlement for the Israeli-Palestinian impasse, endorsing a two-state solution, and remind everyone that Palestinians are also human being and have a right to exist is not being anti-Israeli, it is being pro-human rights, which is what any person with a minimal amount of humanity and human values should support.
    Chuck Hagel will make an excellent DoD Secretary, not only because of his military background, but because he had the courage to articulate what most politicians know but are afraid to say.

    • amazonfan

      No, he’s not anti-semitic or anti-Israel at all. They are.

      “Proposing a just settlement for the Israeli-Palestinian impasse, endorsing a two-state solution, and remind everyone that Palestinians are also human being and have a right to exist is not being anti-Israeli, it is being pro-human rights”

      Exactly. Except, Dominick, here’s the thing. These people are not pro-Israel or pro-human rights, they are pro-Likkud, which is a massive difference to being pro-Israel. They are also Islamophobic and are often anti-Semitiic as well (nobody should mistake any pro-likkud right winger for being pro-Jewish, as most pro-Likkud rightwingers are not only disgustingly Islamophobic, but horribly anti-Semitic as well. Murdoch being a perfect example.)

      I don’t know Hagel all that well. I do know that these (mostly non-Jewish) Islamophobic/anti-semitic/pro-Likkud/hypocriticial/anti-Israel right wingers have no right to call anybody anti-Israel or anti-semitic, especially those who care more about Israel’s best interests than these extremists ever could!

    • larryincamden

      The color gray does exist but it is not the entire world. It seems that to most on the left and many on the right there is a thin line of good and evil and everything else is just kinda.
      Yes the Muslims that are living in the area refered to as Palistine are human and deserve to be treated as such BUT that does not mean that they can allow some of their members to launch weapons at others from hospitals, holy places and schools with impunity. Doing so is cowardly and evil and should be seen so by everyone. To allow the creation of a country that is swearing to destroy a neighbor is irresponsible. Black and white.

      • http://www.facebook.com/dominick.vila.1 Dominick Vila

        The same is true for some Israelis. Most are honest, caring and hard working people who, obviously, have a right to exist like every other human being. But not all behave the same way. Sabra, Shatila, and many other overreactions attest to that. The same goes for the restrictions in movement imposed on people living in the Gaza Strip and building new settlements in “Palestinian territories”.
        Palestine has been referred as such = with some modificatsions such as Philistine -as far back as the days of the Greek empire and the time of the Egyptian Pharaohs. In fact, they were called Palestine at the end of the British Mandate when the USA put pressure on the League of Nations/UN to create the Jewish State of Israel after the end of WWII to create a home for the Jewish people and minimize the probability of another Holocaust.
        The exodus followed and large numbers of European Ashkenazi Jews migrated to Israel creating a demographic problem that required territorial expansion.
        Again, every human being has the right to exist and, hopefully, coexist in peace.

        • larryincamden

          Yes the area has been known as Palestine for centuries, but there was never a country known as Palestine until a few weeks ago and I am not sure that the UN declared it a nation or not, but that is beside the point. Should any country be created that has as a basic tenet the destruction of a neighbor?
          Saying that the Israelis have been excessive in their response to rocket and missle attacks against civillian targets suggests that there is a less exvessive response available. What do you suggest? Please only suggest things not previously tried and that there is a chance of working.

  • ORAXX

    If the neo-cons hate Hagel, then his appointment is probably a very good thing. Chuch Hagel has two purple hearts from Viet Nam, unlike most of the chicken hawk neo-cons who never even wore the uniform.

    • amazonfan

      Isn’t in interesting how the people who most loudly cheer for war are the same people who went out of their way not to fight in one?

    • larryincamden

      Managing to get hurt is somehow a good thing???
      Personally I do not know if Hagels PHs are the result of combat or clumsiness in a war zone, but PHs have been given for both.

      • dadhoover

        Who cares what you Personally know about Hagels service PHs, His record stands on its own and has never been questioned as illegitimate and he’s already passed the Gov. vetting process, so what you personally know or don’t know is of no concern nor of little value to the conversation. What are you a NEO CON or a Christian Zionist hoping to push Armagedon on the world so you can be ‘spirited’ up to your heaven ? or are you one who’s upset because you think we should never criticize gods chosen?

        • larryincamden

          I cant believe how numb you sound, do the world a favor and jump into your car and crash into a bridge abutment and put yourself out of your misery.

          • dadhoover

            HMMMM, Something I wrote must have hit home. LOL !!! Be brave and tell us what it was.

            Now Back to more important matters like Chuck Hagel, Judging by the people and the groups who have shown such desperation to pick at anything they can find to try taking him down, we should all use that as a signal that he is the right man to put a halt to their Israel centric war dreams over Iran.

          • larryincamden

            To be honest, whatever toady Obama chuses to make Secretary of what ever is of little importance.

  • porscheman

    Chuck Hagel is one of the finest.
    For any of you doubters,read his autobiography.
    A very good American heart warming piece.

  • Eleanore Whitaker

    This is the same thing the GOP pulled in January 2009 when President Obama tried to install 2 Republicans in his cabinet in an effort at bi-partisanship. The GOP is no longer a party. It’s a relic frat boi dominion whose chief agenda is total domination. They do not want any Republican to serve with President Obama no matter how best suited that Republican may be for the position.

    It’s my opinion that the real Fiscal Cliff is coming to roost not for financial reasons but for the Republican Party that so prized dividing Americans, it’s own party is now in tatters.

  • clarence swinney

    TAX MYTHS II
    HIGHEST TAXED CORPORATIONS
    HIGHEST TAX ON INCOME
    A.Corporate top rate is 35%
    paid 12.1% in 2011—avg 10%-15% in recent years

    B.Tax Foundation summary of 2009 tax returns.
    Top10% got 43% individual income paid 18% tax rate
    25% got 66% and paid 15%
    50% got 87% and paid 12.5%
    137 Million returns paid 11.01%

    OECD RANKING
    #1—largest percent (44%) of workers paid lowest wages–
    #2—Least taxes on corporations
    #3—Least taxes overall (30% of gdp in fed-state-local)
    #4—Inequality

  • larryincamden

    Your headline sggests that ALL veterans are unhappy with Hagel’s nomination and that is blaitantly false, To label it as swiftboating is as stupid as calling it Borking or McCarthying the only difference in any of these things is that one was done by Democrats and one was done by people that were there..

  • amazonfan

    Kristol is the epitome of anti-semitism. He is no friend of Israel. Rather he is an enemy of Israel.

    I repeat; Kristol and co are anti-semitic and anti-Israel. They use their so-called support of Israel (they don’t support Israel, they actually support Likkud), to justify a disastrous future war against Iran, they use their s0-called support of Israel as an excuse to perpetruate their hatred of Muslims and the Palestinians, they oppose peace when if they were actually actually pro-Israel they would do whatever they can to ensure it (including criticizing Likkud), they don’t give a damn about Israel’s best interest as they only care about Likkud’s best interests, they compare Obama to Hitler which is as anti-semitic as you can get, and they attempt to intimidate and bully anybody who does not toe the likkud line by calling them anti-semitic and anti-Israel. Oh, and they deny that there is a powerful pro-Israel lobby, all the while intimidating opponents, when hypocritically they often speak of a pro-Palestinian or pro-Islamic lobby. Not to mention the religious nut jobs wants all Jews to return to Israel so we die, thus allowing Jesus to be reborn. Additionally, they still think that the Iraq war was good for Israel.

    The far right; Kristol and co, are not only consistently Islamophobic (another thing; being anti-Islamic does not make one pro-Jewish, but rather the reverse) but they are also disgustingly anti-semitic and anti-Israel!!!!!!!

  • donbronkema1

    If, by 2050, Muslims comprise a plurality w/in Israel itself, then its govt will have three choices
    –deport them
    –gulag them
    –embrace them
    Might be wise to reconcile [e.g., removing wall], while there is time to obviate civil war.

    • TZToronto

      There are plenty of brainwashed wannabe terrorists in Gaza and elsewhere who would just love to be introduced to 72 willing virgins. Notice how, since the walls were built, suicide bombings in Israel have all but stopped? It’s not the Muslims who live in Israel who are the problem. It’s the fanatics who live outside Israel who con impressionable, horny young men into killing themselves for entry into paradise and that huge harem.

      • donbronkema1

        Well said…however, my point is that absent reconciliation [or at least tolerance], Israel is swirling down into a demographic maelstrom…in year X, how can it block Arab-majority rule [or deny participation in govt to a plurality]?…Israel will become a secular state by force majeure, w/a constitution & bill of rights, ensuring itself a place in the firmament of nations.

        Some scholars believe it wasn’t virgins, but grapes or raisins, that were promised, w/cool zephyrs & pellucid waters–a fateful transmogrification from compromised sources in the 8th Century… illiterate/enumerate teens might die for virgins but not for grapes…why 72 as opposed to a more manageable integer?…beats me–not that it makes a difference, considering there’s no ontological mechanism permitting interaction of the physical w/a realm of ‘spirit’.

        Volition & consciousness are also illusions, but respondent digresses.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/LIOWPV3RG2BI6EUJVVKTE6KSQU Charles

    When you look at it the wat it is. . Really fought for those countries inpendence not ours. You do not see CHINA or Russia . Going around the middle east starting wars that was base on a lie.CHINA and Russia have money. They keep there money use it for there people in there country. We the USA have no money.Barrow all the money. To go to war in the middle east.OUr goverment just gave ISREAL 900 million dollars. That we do not have . To cover there missile defense. But when it come to there on people in the USA. Congress .Make sure they cover there rich friends. Do not tax them.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WE!ll the cliff is comming. They way it looks now. One good thing . That will come out of it.WE!LL not have anything to give to ISREAL and all the others Forgien countries anymore. Try to be the police all over the world .!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Now with the cliff comming. OUR GOVERMENT WILL TAKE CARE OF THE PROPLE IN THE usa INSTEAD OF WORRING ABOUT ALL THOSE OTHERS COUNTRIES. AFTER ALL THE MONEY they ARE GIVING TO ALL THE OTHERS COUNTRIES LIKE ISREAL AND OTHER COUNTRIES. THE PEOPLE OF THE USA MONEY. NOT CONGRESS MONEY TO GIVE TO ALL THOSE COUNTRIES. GO TO WAR WITH ALL THOSE OTHERS COUNTRIES. with our money…….It is funny and sad how CONGRESS. Sit there and think it is okay to give THE PEOPLE OF THE USA money give to forgien countries. But when it is time to TAX the rich . CONGRESS stands strong to make sure that will not happen. Because the people of the usa who no money. CONGRESS WANTS TO MAKE SURE THEY DO NOT GET ANY. …………………………..So maybe if all americans of the USA move to forgien countries.THEN CONGRESS WOULD GIVE USE OUR ON MONEY. TO US IN FORGIEN AID,. iT SEEM THAT IS THE OLNY WAY CONGRESS WILL HELP THE PEOPLE OF THE USA. WITH OUR ON MONEY. …………………THEY PEOPLE WHO RUN OUR ARE REALLY SAD.

  • ChristoD

    On EVERY single issue, save for some fiscal moderation, the Republicans have it WRONG or are so extreme as to turn off logical thinking Americans because of their intractable positions. Every issue ! Here they go again with their extremist and revisionist nonsense once again smearing not only a solid citizen who gets’ it but ONE OF THEIR OWN ! WTF happened to ANY moderation from these ass—– ?

  • elw

    My stance is that if the Right dislikes him, he is OK. I would give anything not to be able to say that, but the truth is the Right does so much twisting of the truth I can only believe that whatever they say must mean the truth is exactly the opposite. It would be nice if one day we could pick the best person for the job based on their record rather than made-up reasons based on political wishes. How much better would we be as a Nation if the President could pick his cabinet not based on party of the person or the hate of his/her enemies?

    I for one will support the President in his choice and will take my chances with what he believes is best for the Country. In part because I trust him more than most politicians and because I believe that a Palestinian state is the only path to eventual peace in the Middle-East. All people deserve dignity and you cannot punish a whole group of people for the behaviors driven by their politicians. The truth is that Palestinians should be allowed to rule themselves in their own land where they make the rules. It is time to take their destiny out of the hands of their enemy and put in their own hands and that of the world at large.

  • docb

    The repubs are having a slew of VERY BAD weeks….They lost the elections except for gerryamndered districts, the can’t get their newbies to be for the will of the people, their NRA crazies embarrassed them and NO ONE IS BUYING their lies and distortion!

    Just as it should be!

  • quasm

    Mr. Conason;

    Wouldn’t it be more proper to call it the borking of Sen. Hagel? That’s a recognized term to describe the use of political means to block an appointment.

    Dik Thurston
    Colorado Springs

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7DKWSXHQIDBW5PUAPZ2HZAYYUY Baron Cormac

    Frankly, I think his standing up to AIPAC, in addition to his being a decorated vet, are the principal reasons he should become SECDEF. It’ll be nice having someone else in the administration who doesn’t rush to wipe Bebe’s behind everytime he farts.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/DPY5ADXTDUGABOL7TPUJQEP5YE JOAQUIM

    USA=ISRAEL

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/DPY5ADXTDUGABOL7TPUJQEP5YE JOAQUIM

    Tell your representative to quit giving money to Pakistan and Israel. We cannot afford it!

    • http://www.facebook.com/dominick.vila.1 Dominick Vila

      Don’t forget the $1B we give to Egypt….

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/WAYM6CPMQ3M6RRKE6TA2MN2QYQ Rex H

    I read Chuck Hagel’s bio and it is impressive. I believe he has deep convictions and is a man of his word.
    Unfortunately, I think he and the Obama Administration will have quite a battle getting him approved as Sec. of Defense even though he is qualified for the appointment..

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/DPY5ADXTDUGABOL7TPUJQEP5YE JOAQUIM

    …But, if you insist on sending the money, send it to someone who really needs it: Me!

  • aquinus

    take the politics out of reality. Chuck Hagel is the person for the job.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_B2W2UGW74AJ3MMHAMU5EU4NXAQ AlexF

    He would be a great SecDef, he has always been an honest and Honorable man. Those are the facts
    Mame. He also would take good care of the men who serve under him and the retired Military.
    It would be great to finally see history made by having a veteran enlisted man in that position.

  • FredAppell

    The very thing the far right is proving to all of America is that if it isn’t suggested by them than it is a bad idea. This is a good thing for America because the right-wing are playing right into their own trap and they are too ignorant to notice. They reject a person who shares their values simply because he was nominated by President Obama. They really do eat their own don’t they. Maybe i’m wrong! Maybe this was actually a trap set by President Obama and if it was than bravo Mr. President. CHECKMATE!

  • http://twitter.com/SAJP Sa Janes

    Neocons are not Americans–they hold their alien, vacuous ideals above the country and our constitution. The neocon founders are ‘Israel-firsters’ Leo Strauss and Irving Kristol–narrow-minded ideologues whose anti-democratic, war-hawk policies are today zealously carried forth by the likes of Bill Kristol, Wolfowitz, Kagan, the Rubins, Samuelson, Abramoff, many of the Wall Street corporate leaders like Blankfein and Goldsmith, much of the GOP and the resident ‘elite’ of the so-called “American Enterprise Institute” and the American-Israeli Political Action Committee (AIPAC) fear-mongering propagandists.

    For those who’ve studied history, Strauss and Kristol remind us of yet another pair of dangerous idealists–Marx and Engels, and the human destruction these so-called “intellectuals” are responsible for during the last century. While Marx and Engels were the founders of modern communism, Strauss and Kristol are the harbingers of autocratic fascism–both shallow, idealized, naive, perverse and unworkable forms of government that are anathema to any true democracy.

    It’s time to put real Americans back in charge of our country and wrest control of our government from these dangerous ideologues. On top of stopping their propaganda and untoward influence on those faithful and trusting conservative American citizens that unwittingly support them–believing they have our best interests at heart–we need to energetically expose the neocon agenda and it’s dangerously opaque ultimate intent, and that the average citizen is only kept ‘informed’ of it on a need-to-know basis–that ‘basis’ exclusively controlled by them.

  • Budjob

    If the republicans wanted to offer a deserving candidate to run for the Presidency,it should have been Chuck Hagel.Then again,maybe he would have refused the offer.

  • rl

    Usually the ones who gave the biggest backing to Vietnam were the cowards who didn’t go and worked the hardest not to go.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003088858074 Jack Hughes

    Hopefully, Hegel’s appointment signals a reform of our long-standing policy of UNCONDITIONAL support of Israel which has, in effect, reduced the US government to a Likud policy apparatus. This has led to a reversal of the patron-client dynamic. Instead of the US exerting influence over Israel, the US — for all practical purposes — is forced to place Israel’s interests over our own.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/FMUBMRNDEXOIF55F47MWM4U6ZY Right view

    Chuck Hagel new position is working in the interests of America and he should get
    support from many american. Any politician working on behalfs of the supper PACs
    ( big corps, big banks, big oil ) is not for the working man, because they are in for
    PROFITS !

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/William-Bramblett/1400370274 William Bramblett

    I support Hagel because of the same facts that the neo-conservatives reject him for. He was against the war in Iraq, never believing the BS about WMDs, has had it with Isreal extorting us for billions a year for decades now, and because he casts a critical eye towards Defense department waste. I mean, what’s not to like about thinking like this? He’s exactly the kind of man we need heading all cabinet level positions… a realist who shuns war as a first option and keeps a keen eye on the budget. It just shows what a bunch of greedy, corrupt jerks we have in congress, and Mr. Hagel scares them to death. He deserves support from us all.

  • foot814

    i’m a vet too but we all know and feel the Vietnam war was a sham. good soldiers lead by politicians can’t win. because he spoke out against the war proves he’s a thinker and not a stooge. if you think that war was a good reason to fight and die you must be glad we’re in Iraq fighting for ….er…trying to……er….you know what i mean.

  • http://twitter.com/drsam800 Dr. Sam Sam

    DELAY IN THIS APPOINTMENT IS THE PROBLEM–and has allowed the opponents of Hagel to marshall a concerted opposition. Have you seen this scenario recently? Yes! The Susan Rice case.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3WBTMJTJTKZB7YBPNMMPWMV5TI Minell

    That is what they did to Kerry?

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