Obama Moves Toward War With Iran
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  • I am an Iranian and I have no problem in principle with bombing the Iranian regime to smithereens. However I don’t want bombing to be limited to nuke facilities. I want the regime gone and I want the bombs to be dropped on the regime’s leadership centers. If starting a war, please go all the way and don’t re-do Desert Storm please. Go and eradicate this regime and I can assure you that the Iranian people will be pleased. A surgical strike on bunch of nuclear plants is useless and will make the Mullahs more lethal. Topple them and liberate Iran plz.

  • Anthony

    Haven’t we been here before…. Has Westphalian norm as well as the open and rule-based international order (concerning unilateral intervention) given way to the duty to prevent? I recall reading somewhere: “war is the health of the state” – I guess we must strive to stay healthy.

  • So the choices will be three, only ONE of which makes ANY sense at all:

    1. Drop a few – or several – conventional bombs, pretend that we have sufficiently harmed (for how long?) their mechanical nuke-building infrastructure – and put-up with the economic and terror consequences (more attacks, Hormuz closed, etc.), while they re-start their nuke program within months.

    2. Drop more conventional bombs, invade, losing yet MORE Information-Age warriors fighting Stone-Age religious fanatics who behead POWs, stone their women and whip their girls, spend a few trillion dollars and several thousand lives – and put-up with the economic and terror consequences (more attacks, Hormuz closed, etc.) for some indeterminate, but extended, amount of time to be measured in years – at least.

    3. Recognize that Great Powers ALWAYS have used great force – with finality – to keep the world peaceful and the bad guys from irritating & killing the good guys, nuke their mechanical nuke-building infrastructure, utterly DESTROYING their ability to make nukes in the foreseeable future at almost ZERO cost in dollars and ZERO cost in Information Age lives – and put-up with fewer economic and terror consequences (more attacks, Hormuz closed, etc.) due to the overwhelming nature of a true ‘shock and awe’ and the fact that the West will – FINALLY – have said, ‘enough is enough and we’ll do it again if we need to.’

    Either the West accepts its responsibility to keep nukes out of the hands of 12th-Imam nutbags believing in a Dark Ages non-religion (“religion” is a Western word meaning foundationally ‘not state’, for which there is no analog in the Islamic world, but Islam is NOT what we in the West describe and define with the word “religion”) that preaches chaos as the way to redemption, and who are at-war with every non-Islamic culture they touch – and always have been and always will be – or we don’t accept our responsibility and they WILL acquire and use nukes.

    Either we believe in Western liberal democracy, freedom, self-government, the Enlightenment and liberty… or we do not. And no amount of projection of Western values into the Islamic world will make those projections accurate, no matter WHAT the Left thinks. Simply, Western liberal democracy, human rights, freedom and self-government require literacy, plain and simple, and Islam is the most illiterate culture on the planet. No matter how many times we try to export Western Liberalism & democracy to Islam, we WILL fail until they are literate.. and as long as their governments buy gold faucets for their 747s while their people can’t read… it ain’t gonna change.

    So, naturally, Obama & his Prog ilk will choose Option 1, minimizing the damage to Iran and maximizing the economic and terror disruption to the West. And why will they do it? To pretend they are not soft on defense, eg they will do it for political purposes and an election advantage, not because they think it’s the right thing to do. We already KNOW they Left hates Western liberal democracy, freedom and liberty.

    Of course a 4th alternative exists: Give a couple of nukes to Saudi Arabia and recognize that Sunnis hate Shias more than all the infidels in the world – they have not stopped killing each other for a thousand years. When Saudis OK Israeli overflights to reach Iran, you know where the Saudis would target their nukes.. and it would NOT be Jerusalem.

  • Kenny

    “Iran will either stop its nuclear program (offering convincing proof of its actions) or the bombs are going to fall.”

    A bold prediction, Mr. Mead. Very bold.

    If the oil market thought that, the price of the futures contracts would be sky high.

    I’m going to mark your claim and judge your credibility accordingly. If you’re right, my hat will be off to you.

  • Corlyss

    I suppose it could happen. But I just don’t see this guy going to war over Iran. He’s done so much, both domestically and in foreign affairs, to avoid confrontations with anyone except Republicans. He’s done a lot to devastate Republican areas of the country economically, but he makes sure that China gets our energy, and he makes nice with Islamic fundamentalists, and he pampers the silly Palestinians at the expense of Israel. He’s a lickspittle to any nation or group that could really hurt us.

  • I discount it. This is also the President who warned Republicans not to “call my bluff”. The President folds too much for any credibility.

  • higgins1990

    Can’t help but think that the WH is banging the war drums for strictly political purposes.

  • Carl Berard

    This war will be the precurser to WWIII.

    WWIII will start when China First Strikes The USA with Nukes.

  • There has to be consideration of the electoral impact of a war with Iran in an election year with the president having to win back independent voters in a bad economy. I think there is fourth option and that is to attack the regime by supporting the internal opposition which is apparently blowing things up in Iran with some regularity. I agree that just bombing and leaving the regime intact won’t do it, but I’m concerned that is exactly what Obama might do. On the other hand there are indications that the covert war has already begun. Special Forces may be working with the Iranian opposition right now and there may be more to that drone incident than meets the eye. I think WRM is onto something here.

  • Fred

    Three words: Ain’t. Gonna. Happen. Liberals tend to be wimps and proud of it. They consider their wimpiness a sign of their moral and intellectual superiority to those redneck neanderthals on the right. And Obama is an uberliberal. He also has pragmatic reasons for inaction. He can’t afford to alienate his anti-war base or have the price of gasoline spike in an election year, and if (God forbid) he wins in ’12, retains the Senate, and wins back the house, he still has the congressional elections of ’14 to worry about. The mullahs have good reason to laugh at the administration’s threats.

  • MichaelM

    The warfare state is an aspect of the blue social model that needs to be pared back just as badly as the welfare state in order for us to create a sustainable future for ourselves and for future generations. Simply resigning ourselves to a war in Iran is functionally equivalent to simply resigning ourselves to rule by public labor unions and government contractors at home.

    I know I’ll be one of the people at the brigades if the President dares, no matter how unsavory the company. My life is just now getting on track, I don’t need it disrupted by higher taxes and higher inflation to pay for yet another war of choice.

  • Ann

    It is a mistake to think that Iran’s nuke facilities are reachable by conventional bombing. They are built so deep under mountains, that this was never going to be ended by surgical strikes like what the Israelis did to Iraq in the 80s. Iran learned from that.

    One of the reasons that the Iraq war made sense was that it was supposed to take the long view on the situation, but politics didn’t let that happen and Bush lost his nerve. Pulling out of Iraq shows that Obama isn’t serious about not letting Iran get nukes, or if he is, he has about the dumbest group of advisors since Chamberlain.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if an extremely covert operation involving the Mossad and some surprising “allies” are doing what needs to be done. If I were Israel and Saudi Arabia, I certainly wouldn’t wait for the likes of Clinton (whose husband turned down an offer of bin Ladin in the 90s), Panetta, or any of the dithering idiots in Europe to step up to the plate.

  • Mrs. Davis

    September is a good time to drop bombs. And Iran’s nukes may almost be done by then.

  • LarryD

    It’s hart to believe President “Lead From Behind” is serious on any threat. In any case, the Iranian mullahs subscribe to the belief that they can summon the twelfth Imam by creating chaos, if only it’s dire enough. How the blazes can you deter such people?

    Force is the only way to prevent them from getting the bomb, whether it’s by sabotage or regime decapitation. If the US goes with military force it needs to go for killing the regime (“he who strikes at a king must kill him”), and that means taking out the forces the mullahs depend on to keep their own populace suppressed.

  • Yahzooman

    So that’s why the surveillance drone was over Iranian air space? Mapping out targets?

    I’m skeptical.

    We’ve been through the weapons of mass destruction debate before. While I think Iran is close to a bomb (unlike Iraq) I doubt the public would stomach another Mideast foray based on that reason.

  • FPF

    LarryD has it right. Decapitate the regieme, target the IRGC and message the regular Iranian military that “this is their time”.

  • Jeff H

    “…in situations like this, preparing for war and threatening to use force may be the only tools left to preserve the peace.”

    In many cases, ACTUALLY USING FORCE (meaning, “war”) is the only means of either creating, or maintaining, peace.

  • Obama won’t do anything about Iran until someone tells him there are Republicans there (and I don’t mean Republican Guards, I mean Tea Party Republicans). Then he’ll start bombing.

  • DamnWalker

    Havne’t we heard this before? Wasn’t preventing WMD the purpose for all of congress and Pres Bush to go to war with Iraq? Wasn’t it this current president and many of those in the current congress who railed endlessly against it? Why is it ok now, but not then? Basically same danger, basically same rationale.

    That said, While I agree that a nuclear armed Iran is not acceptable, I seriously doubt the will of this administration to carry out what it will take to prevent it. I hope I am wrong, and I also hope that they will be able to impress on the Iranians our resolve in a peaceful way.

  • Jim

    I guess a major war and a couple of million dead is worth it if some hack politician can win an election. And hey, the columns will practically write themselves, Wally. Bombs away!

  • Fred

    Great article Mr Mead,
    but fat chance. This is Panetta covering the Presidents [rear] so he can say he did something, later, and blame Congress, or the Jews, or an earthquake or something.

    Iraq’s leaders will pay no more attention to him than they listened to Carter. Obama is the community organizer who bowed to the Saudis, insulted the Brits, blamed Israel for Hezbollas rocket attacks, pulled out of Iraq early, and went after a nut in Libya, while watching women and children killed by another in Syria, and is now “negotiating” with the Taliban. He had to get Valerie Jareds permission to go after OBL, fer Chrissakes, and dithered for two weeks even then…

    Not gonnna happen. The Israelis, Saudi’s, Chinese, Russians, Paki’s have all figured it out, and arent wasting their time on the Hope and Change Soros Sock-puppet.

  • Chuck Pelto

    TO: All
    RE: What!?!??!??

    Obama is ‘aiming at war with Iran’???!?!?!


    More accurately, Iran is aiming at war with US.

    Have been since 1980. NOW they almost have the tools to take US down in the next few months. A combination of the nuclear program and their space program, to the effect of a nuke being popped at 300 miles over Omaha.

    If that happens, figure on 50-80% of the US population is gone within 12 months. The survivors have more interest in staying alive than impacting on international affairs.

    And don’t expect our muslim president to do much of anything to prevent this.


    [Chance favors the prepared mind.]

  • Maxwell Jump

    The bombs will only drop with the polls.

  • BWP

    Apparently this administration has already begun the war based on the number of ‘unexpected’ explosions and scientists killed. And that’s on top of the Stuxnet worm planted either through allies (think Israel) or our own covert ops program. Why drop bombs when a silent war accomplishes the same thing?

    So the ‘Peace’ President is nothing of the sort….how long until Democrats discover they support another Bush-league war presidency? Oh, that’s right, he’s their Messiah so his wars are fine and dandy….with the added bonus that the neo-con RINOs will support his actions. SCORE!

  • vinny vidivici

    Remember when some observers thought Iran had caught the Bush administration’s eye and war was imminent? Miraculously, a report turned up claiming Iran was years away from getting a nuke and the media gave it wall-to-wall coverage. ‘Don’t you dare, George’ was the message of mainstream commentariat.

    That report may or may not have been correct. But this time around, watch for the absence of hysteria accompanying any military action against Iran.

    As we’ve seen with the Defense Authorization Act vs. the Patriot Act, or the need for Bush, but not Obama, to get Congressional approval for warmaking, or Obama’s expansion of drone warfare and extra-judicial executions (I could go on) vs Bush’s ‘war criminality’ there’ll be nary a peep from the fraudulent civil liberties and anti-war crowds.

    Because it’s only imperialism, war criminality or fascism when their domestic political opponents do it.

  • Blacque Jacques Shellacque

    The administration, Secretary Panetta makes clear will not allow Iran to get a nuclear bomb. Period. If Washington must bomb Iranian facilities in order to stop them, Obama will bomb.

    Not necessarily advocating immediate action, but it’s worth keeping in mind that knowledge, once gained, is unlikely to be eradicated by solely bombing facilities. All that does is buy time.

    It is people, and the proper ones, whose removal will have a lasting effect.

  • David R. Graham

    This is a hunch from afar: Panetta speaks in this manner for a section of the US national security infrastructure that is fed up with the demonizer-in-chief and team’s dithering, cravenness, selfishness and subversion; the same section that launched on its own against UBL earlier this year; a section that can operate with some independence from ideology and politics deforming the executive branch and weakening national security.

  • fitzrite

    My God, are you all are a bunch of right-wing jingoist fanatics?

  • Mike

    The analysts will believe what the want to until the evidence in incontrovertible. Iran will simply test one. Then the game is changed, since it is no longer a question of “stopping them”; that opportunity will be gone. The new game will be containment.

    Drawing lines in the sand is counterproductive. “Speak softly and carry a big stick” is the proper policy. I hope that the current series of explosions in Iran is US-sponsored without a word being said.

  • Ted G

    Obama aids and abets the enemies of America.
    His policies are anti-American and completely ideological running against the US Constitution and the BOR.
    The man is a traitor!
    Impeach and prosecute this POS!

  • Stephen P

    People have been claiming Iran is imminently about to get nukes for decades now. They also said Saddam was on the verge of getting nukes. How did that work out? When are we going to wake up and start treating these reports with the skepticism they deserve? We’re either being deliberately misled, or our intelligence sources are deeply flawed.

  • RAS743

    Gosh, I guess it’s time for another of those exquisitely timed “national intelligence estimates,” prepared by our “professional analysts” — the mandarins in Langley, in their apolitical rabbit warren. They’ll prevent this rogue administration from unilaterally declaring war on those peace-loving Persians. … Oh, wait. This administration can’t be rogue, can it? It’s run by Democrats. I forgot. I’m sorry. My bad.

  • Faramarz Fathi

    Winston Poster #1:

    There is absolutely no Persian quality on display here.
    No Iranians with the least sense of identity, either inside Iran or outside, would ever take refuge in front of the monitor and promote and propagate war with Iran. An Iranian is a whole lot more brave, clever and smart too than taking this cowardly positions some take nowadays to evade their personal, professional and civil responsibilities by doing exactly what you did here.

    No Iranian inside or outside Iran, would ever advocate or support any foreign interferences, of any kind, in Iran.

    I suggest if you are unhappy with anything you see in Iran you should go to your beloved Motherland and pay your dues first and foremost and then start fulfilling your personal, professional and civic obligations as well as taking a forefront lead in the path towards the changes you would like to see to take place there no matter how lethal of a fate might await you.

    Until then no one would give any credibility to your ethnicity claim here other than being a pretender.

    Faramarz Fathi
    [email protected]

  • tom beebe st louis

    The Iranian nuke program threatens israel more than any other state. It would seem justified that we back Weneed not send our military out to do Israel’s job, but there should be no hesitancy in backing their effortsisrael with covert and overt resources and let them strike when and how they see best.

  • Queequeq

    There is a low grade war of sabotage going on now; native but supported by the US and Israel. If the regime falls from it, Obama will take credit. (Meanwhile war is deceit//don’t expect anyone is in the business of confessing their intentions. If its in the papers, its dis-info.}
    But come next summer its save the workd from REAL nuclear madmen–not like Bush/ no one would vote against a commander in chief in wartime. (Was the drone a deliberate chip raise into the ante of provocation?}
    And Sunnis would thank him for putting the Shia in their place.
    If he’s still underwater in the polls, I suggest someone in the family come down with cancer.

  • The 0bama Admin will not make war on Iran. 0bama is sympathetic to the muslim world and sees Israel and the West as the age old offenders in that part of the world. 0bama has systematically treated our enemies like friends, and vice versa. Iran is safe.

  • Pettifogger

    Obama is nothing if not calculating. Attacking Iran, or anyone else, is contrary to his instincts. But getting re-elected may require a new war, and why not Iran? It’s a rare coincidence of what the country needs and what Obama needs to get re-elected. I do not believe Obama has a moral principle higher than re-election.

  • Some Sock Puppet

    The comments here are either insightful, or ludicrous. You can guess the politics of the commenter by the tenor of the comments.

    Iran was and is a serious threat. They’ve declared war on the US decades ago and have never ceased their efforts.

    To think otherwise is to show yourself as fundamentally unserious geopolitically.

    I do agree with the lengthy comment above. If we’re going to fight them, use overwhelming force and enough of this nation building crap. You want to pick a fight with the crazy medicated nation that builds monster trucks, spaceships, and rockets for fun, you take the consequences when he doesn’t decide to stop at taking out one or two of your people.

    It’s gotten so pointless. Poeple can’t even identify obvious threats anymore. The US government, the Iranians, the Chinese, etc.

    We need to colonize space NOW because earth’s about to go boom IMO.

  • Castor

    Israel will take the final decision in this matter. They have tactical nukes and can use them to take out most of the important nuclear and guided missle sites. Their dolphin class submarines can launch cruise missles after they disrupt Iran´s military communication network.The main IRGC bases can be taken out and the naval base at Bandar Abbas. Sure, the Iranians will be able to plant mines to block the straits of Hormuz, but the Naval forces of the USA and our allies will clean that up in a couple of months. Then what´s left of the Iranian armed forces will not dare to stop a popular revolt with the IRGC a mortally wounded animal.Go, Israel! Nuke Iran now!

  • Dodgers86

    I have a hard time taking any article seriously when the author uses poor grammar. The period goes INSIDE of the quotation marks!

    • Walter Russell Mead

      @Dodgers86: And another intern begins a grim journey through the House of Pain.

  • ErisGuy

    I’ve seen this claim before, from “Spengler” about Bush invading Iran. And he had experience in leading a country to war. I suppose inexperience wouldn’t stop Obama.

  • at poster #33…
    I am an Iranian and I am proud of my position to ask for an external liberator. Check your blind nationalism at the door please. Europeans during the Nazi occupation asked for the same thing: Invasion/Liberation.

    من ایرانی هستم و تمام عمرم در ایران زندگی کردم

    I just wrote the above in Persian language to prove I am an Iranian. It says: I am an Iranian and I have lived my entire life inside of the country.

    Thanks for posting this.

  • hass

    There’s ZERO evidence of any “nuke drive” or “bomb program” in Iran so stop justifying the propaganda. Iran has repeatedly offered compromise solutions and even suspended enrichment for 3 years and go zilch in return. The nuclear issue is PRETEXTUAL.

  • I honestly have no clue if Obama will use force or not. My best guess is that the powers in Iran don’t think he will, therefore there is no way they stop there pursuit of the bomb. I suppose it’s possible Iran isn’t trying to get the bomb or is nowhere close to the achievement. But I do not believe it is wise to take that chance. The same calculation played a role in my support for the Iraq war.

    If we don’t act I think Israel pretty much is going to have too. To do the job right I think as an earlier commenter said, they would have to use nukes However, I’m not sure they would cross that threshold because it is risky for several reasons.

    Personally, I think nothing short of aggressively targeting their military and regime with the full might of the US military is called for and necessary. It would shock me if Obama did that.

  • wes george

    I’ve often speculated that Obama wouldn’t let the Iranian crisis go to waste. As his chances of re-election continue to fade, he’ll be looking at plan B, which is to become a war president just in time to swamp the media narrative with shock-n-awe Iran-style in the run up to the Nov election.

    A real fighting war in Iran might not be containable, it’s likely to go at least regional and perhaps even multi-regional as other players like China, Russia, Turkey, Syria & Venezuela exploit the chaos to expand their interests and liquidate foes. We seem to be in a historical moment analogous to just before WW1, everyone might just calculate a war would benefit their side the most…A senile world order might seem ripe for the picking, especially considering the US could easily get its old mojo back under new leadership come Jan 2013. Thus, the window of opportunity is about to close for totalitarians with powerful ambitions.

    Combine this with collapse of the EU, another fiscal crisis, perhaps even the rationing of oil as the Straits of Hormuz close, throw in civil unrest in the Summer of ’12 as US cities burn in protest riots against ‘racist’ America which has turned on Obama and you got a recipe for the suspension of habeas corpus and perhaps even the election.

  • ttaerum

    There’s little doubt this is theater. But the problem with theater is it moves the players ever closer and closer to conflict. Eventually the play becomes reality.

    And we’ve seen this theater before. We saw it prior to the Yom Kippur war, the Iraq war, the attacks on the Twin Towers. Rhetoric is a presage to action in the political world. Eventually the player has to walk the talk.

    But this is also different. There’s little doubt Obama enjoys being CIC, and enjoying that kind of job is not always a commendation. The problem is the rhetoric doesn’t fit the facts on the ground in so many areas.

    Take, for instance, the notion that we have a refined oil embargo on Iran. Did you know that about 1 billion barrels of oil is illegally smuggled into Turkey every year? Now do you suppose that a government sponsored smuggling network with contacts in Hamas and Hezbollah would have any trouble smuggling into Iran 10 times that amount? Why in all the discussions about Iran do we never hear anything about interjacence in that context? The fact we don’t tells you this Administration is missing a lot of the facts.

    And it goes on and on and on – one half true fable followed by another. And now, with our forces out of Iraq, and Iraq looking to create its own future, you can be sure there is already a new understanding between Iran and Iraq.

    And now Iran has one of our drones. Undoubtedly transmitters are already being refined to over-ride controls and render it harmless. Undoubtedly there’s lots of countries willing to sell.

    So might Obama go to war? Not alone. Not without a way to say, “I didn’t break it”. There is, after all, an election coming up in November.

  • ttaerum

    And that should be 1 billion gallons is smuggled (approximately 20 percent of Turkey’s national market) (ref. Middle East Report, Winter 2011).

  • Faramarz Fathi


    “Europeans during the Nazi occupation asked for the same thing: Invasion/Liberation.”
    End of quote.

    There are so many variables here that the status quo in Iran can not be compared to the accounts of events taking place in Europe in mid-Forties.

    The events unfolding in Europe at the time were entirely different than the status quo. Much of Europe was under occupation or under threat of external invasion. And your sense of history has a huge void but not uncommon. The US went to defense of Europe in self defense. Not merely to liberate Europe because of defense of democracy or good will as it is widely spread. Just imagine if England had fallen then Europe was done and consequently America was isolated and doomed as well. The Japanese from the West and Germany from the East.
    Further, the history as the final attestations and testimonial tells us the US has never wasted a bullet if it did not serve its national interests. The US defines hypocrisy and double standard.

    Accordingly, I can not disagree anymore with your history lesson here and the rest of your posts, needless to mention, projects correctly an image of a fake and coward.
    All said with no offense in mind.

    Faramarz Fathi

  • Soul

    This came out the other day, but saw the news tonight, the government is linking a top Al Qeada agent to working within Iran.

    “U.S. Offers $10M for Iran-Based Al Qeada Financier”


  • Mr. Lynch

    Right now, Bill Clinton is telling Mr. Obama to wait until the Iranian nukes are a fait accompli, then toss off a few Tomahawks and claim “mission accomplished.”

    Whether Obama is politically astute enough to take this advice is another matter.

  • Freddy Terranean

    The details matter a great deal.

    The North Korean effort to make a nuke stopped after a test fizzled. Since they haven’t re-tested, I have to guess that US technology interfered with their test. If we can do that to Iran, it may be enough. Certainly Stuxnet and Duqu indicate the game is afoot. That sort of sabotage along with just a few small, deniable, bombing runs might be enough to keep the genie in his bottle, indefinitely.

    Iran’s ability to threaten comes from it’s huge supply of oil money. No oil money, no nukes. There are plenty of hostiles in the world, Muslim and otherwise, who would like to become regional imperialists. We don’t hear much from them though, not enough money.

    So if more drastic steps are needed, the thing to do is to is seize the oil fields and deprive Iran of the oil money, but keep the wells pumping. The oil fields are not in densely populated areas, mostly near the coast of the Gulf. The opening blows, of course, would knock down air defenses, major military assets, and nuclear facilities countrywide. After that, seizing the oil fields removes the financing for Iran’s rebuilding effort. Leave the Ayatollahs in Tehran, don’t try to manage the population, liberate the country, or install democracy. Most of all, don’t start an insurgency. Just cut off the oil revenue.

    To keep the world from tilting out of kilter, our European and Chinese friends will need access to some of Iran’s oil fields.

    Oh, and a device is not a weapon. The ability to blow up a desert testing facility is not the same as the ability to deliver a nuclear warhead. So a successful test out in the Iranian desert is not the end of the contest, by any means. It most likely marks the start of one.

  • USAGeorge

    War drums have been in great demand lately.With football season winding down and crappy TV series a war would make for some Neilson ratings..Its really a win win situation,jingoist can run around beating their chest,pull out the flags and the leftist can pontificate about mans inhumanities..Not a bad deal for the religion business either.

  • John smith

    Guess I should prepare to to move to Canada In case the nukes come our way.

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