May 26, 2010

From the Front: 05/26/2010

News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front. (New complete posts come in below)

Army Household6: I survived! - Just taking a quick minute to let you know that we have BOOTS ON THE GROUND! Yes that is right my friends — SGT Daddy will be coming home today!! I’ll post pics (and hopefully video) as soon as I can ! (MORE)

A Little Pink in a World of Camo: My Disgust - I usually don't get into politics. I try to keep my opinions to myself, as I've sad before. But this one, well, I can't let this one lie. First, there was a post on the Voices Washington Post thread, about how the First Lady can relate to Military Spouses. I highly, highly disagree, as I left in a comment on the particular post. Go check out the article, check out my comment, and leave your own. Many of my readers here are milspouses - how do you feel? Do you get to jet set off on vacations? Do you have your own personal wait staff? DOES YOUR HUSBAND GET BODY GUARDS ON DEPLOYMENT?? I'm not saying the First Lady's job is easy - it's a job that I have never walked in and can not imagine, just as SHE can NOT imagine walking in the shoes we walk in every single day. Anyway, the particular reason for bringing this up, is because, once again the president is taking a (much deserved??? ha) vacay! (READ MORE)

Ben Shaw: The First Week Home - If you are just coming out of a combat zone (specifically from combat arms), you are about to encounter a wave of emotions, thoughts and dreams for which we are all unprepared. Some of them will make perfect sense considering the environment you just left, but most will bother you. A few may even scare you. While virtually none of the generalizations listed below help overcome these sensations, perhaps knowing about them in advance will help eliminate confusion or the feeling that you’ve lost control. At the very least, take some comfort knowing that you’re not the only one who has encountered this. Millions before you have, and future generations will as well. The first few days are definitely the most chaotic. When you reach the states and finally reacquaint with your loved ones, your overwhelming emotion will be one of relief. You’ll be thrilled that you survived the combat experience, and equally thrilled that you’ve been reunited with your family. (READ MORE)

Katherine Tiedemann: Daily brief: car bomb hits outside NATO base in Kandahar - A car bomb exploded earlier today in the parking lot of a Canadian civilian-military base used by provincial reconstruction teams in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar, and no casualties were reported. Though there have been no claims of responsibility yet, there has been a string of high-profile Taliban attacks on NATO targets in Kandahar in recent days. Fighting between Afghan forces and Taliban militants from Pakistan is ongoing in eastern Nuristan. The Times and the Journal describe Taliban intimidation campaigns in different parts of Afghanistan, as Alissa Rubin writes that militants in Khost have been demanding money given to local residents by development initiatives and Yaroslav Trofimov reports that villagers in Kandahar have been attacked for "talking to" coalition forces. The Post reports that before the provincial governor became "America's best hope for reforming Kandahar's cutthroat political system," he was fired from his job with a USAID contractor for minor allegations of corruption and mismanagement. (READ MORE)

Jonathan Wallace: Showtime in Kandahar - Kandahar will be the most important test thus far of Gen. Stanley McChrystal's strategy of increased resources and a thorough counterinsurgency campaign in Afghanistan. Though it will be a "process" rather than one pitched battle, success or failure in the southern Afghan province -- a historical Taliban stronghold -- will determine operational momentum well into 2011, when the first of the U.S. troops are scheduled to begin withdrawing. The Taliban are treating it like a major battle, attacking the boardwalk in Kandahar air base during a sophisticated operation over the weekend. If Kandahar is show time, then Marjah has been the dress rehearsal. It is not going well. The Marjah operation has not been successful in rooting out Taliban elements, which continue to terrorize the population and undermine the Afghan government that was supposed to take root in the ineptly named "government in a box" experiment. (READ MORE)

Army Blogger Wife: Deployment Question #23--Inlaws - It's Monday, and I am finally watching Army Wives. Who really calls is maneuvers? Anyway, the part about Jeremy telling his mother that he wants to reenlist, but he won't do it unless his mother says it's okay... Does your MIL have anything to do with your husband reenlisting? Mine doesn't, plain and simple. She would never even offer her advice, but that's a whole other long story... Does yours? Did she when he was single? Does the war make your inlaws want their son home all the time? Every leave or R&R? It also brings up the question of reenlistment ceremonies. I think I was involved in Germany, once, but other than that, I don't think I ever attended. One thing I was surprised of when I was in Germany, was the number of people that sent money home to their family to live. I guess I was too sheltered, but I never even imagined that was a possibility. Did I mention my parents kept me sheltered? (READ MORE)

Army Household6: Deployment Reflections - As the end of this deployment draws very near, I can’t help but reflect over the last year. I remember at this time — I had so my fears for myself, the girls, and SGT Daddy. This very same week last year– Kiersten graduated from elementary school, our awesome dog Jack died from contracting Parvo and SGT Daddy was getting ready to leave for a year in Afghanistan. Talk about a roller coaster of emotions and it pretty much stayed that year for the next 12 months. I remember thinking how in the world was I going to get thru the next year , what would happen, what would I do if the BIG IF happened, what would SGT Daddy go thru, how would each of us deal with the seperation, would we be ok after it was over. You know — all the normal quesition an Army wife has facing a 12 month deployment to Afghanistan. During one of our early conversations, SGT Daddy and I both commented on how the Miley Cyrus’ song “The Climb” reminded us both of the deployement. (READ MORE)

Army Live: I hate strategic communication - Hate is always a strong word, but it sure sends a message, doesn’t it? In an interview with the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement last week I relished in a bit of a self help moment. When asked about the role of strategic communication in social media strategy I admitted the reality I’ve lived with since working for the Army – I kind of hate the term strategic communication. I love communication – it’s my business, after all. And I love strategy – I work for the military, after all. But somehow, when we combine these phrases the fog of war seems to descend and everything gets a bit murky. The term strategic communication has been around for awhile, and gained traction around 2002. And it’s almost always been tied to the military and State Department in our roles of communicating issues related to national defense and public diplomacy. Then National Security Advisor Condelezza Rice even established a Strategic Communication Policy Coordinating Commitee in 2002. (READ MORE)

Ssg B: Memorial Day Means Nothing to Obama - What a slap in the face: President Barack Obama plans to spend a long holiday weekend in Chicago, missing the usual tradition of presidents speaking at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day. The White House says Obama and his family will travel to their hometown on Thursday and stay through the weekend. It will be their first trip back home since a visit for Valentine’s Day weekend in February 2009. (Am I supposed to feel sorry for them?) On Monday, Obama is scheduled to participate in a Memorial Day ceremony at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, Ill. In Obama’s absence, Vice President Joe Biden will participate in the customary wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington. (READ MORE)

Captain Grant Winkles: On the road to Gereskh - I have been on a trip to Gereshk, in Nahr-e Saraj, to conduct a communications recce for 3rd Kandak’s newly-formed headquarters in Camp Gereshk. Stopping off in Main Operating Base (MOB) Price the night before, it was good to catch up with the Danish Battle Group to see how they were getting on. Sergeant McGillvray Jones was his usual upbeat self and was more than happy to brief me on the issues his team were having and how they were getting round them. He agreed to join me, along with Corporal Jukes on the road move to Camp Gereshk the next day. After carrying out the pre-deployment checks we used a Danish callsign’s vehicles to conduct the short patrol and were dropped off in Camp Gereshk. Whilst in the camp the ANA communications section were very pleased to see us and were extremely hospitable, offering us chai and sweets while we had a chat. They were delighted to show us how their ops room worked. (READ MORE)

Captain Stuart Thomas: Afghan Diet Club: free membership for all - Main Troop monitors all communications into Task Force Helmand Headquarters based in Lashkar Gah. We also have Information Systems Engineers (computer geeks) and technicians who look after the repair and maintenance of the numerous computer and radio systems. The Troop has been bolstered significantly, with two operators flying in from Catterick Garrison and a couple returning from their adventures on the ground. We’re trying to raise £10,000 for ABF – The Soldiers’ Charity. To kickstart the charity drive, we have been organising the Lashkar Gah 10km race which will take place this weekend (23 May 2010). A route around the camp has been cleared and competitors will run 12 laps across sand, stone and shale. So far about 80 people have signed up and pledged $10 each to run. Some of the troop have been training harder than others and some not at all! (READ MORE)

Captain Jeremy Hahn: Longing for a good Bordeaux - Sometimes the most innocuous of comments, in the most curious of environments, delivered by the most incongruous people, trigger pangs of longing and bouts of home-sickness or frustration. And so it was one balmy evening this week when I found myself in downtown Kandahar talking to a bearded Scotsman, who had been working in private security here for the last eighteen months. I was picking his brains for some local ‘knowledge’ and a download of insurgent activity. He was regaling me, in front of a map, with the various bombings, kidnaps, murders, fire-fights etcetera, when he used the phrase ‘and there was claret everywhere’, and suddenly I lost concentration and drifted into a Bordeaux-craving reverie. Maybe for five minutes afterwards my thoughts turned to the produce of those clever little men of the Gironde and my excellent and kindly vintner, Simon Wrightson who gifted me a delicious Chateaux Beaulieu for a last drink before I departed a month ago. (READ MORE)

IraqPundit: More Questions, Fewer Answers - Iraqis have a lot of questions to ask these days. The most familiar one is how long are these politicians going to take to set up a government? But another question is popping up in conversations these days. Iraqis are asking who is this gang assassinating officials? Turns out the politician assassinated yesterday was shot in the chest with a gun outfitted with a silencer. The murdered man was from Ayad Allawi's Iraqiya list, and of course there were accusations directed at Maliki's government for failing to protect the country's politicians. These assassins are not the usual car-bomb exploding types. Nor are they the rocket-launching types. These are slick and well-trained killers who go about unnoticed while quietly murdering well-known officials. What the murders have in common is how the targets killed. Some say yesterday's victims was killed by al-Qaeda and that they have two men in custody. (READ MORE)

Sgt Danger: The Returned Warrior - Announcing my next project: The Returned Warrior - Three weeks ago, I left Afghanistan. I signed my DD214, flew home to Utah, walked into my living room, played with my kids, and then slept with my wife. I’m no longer SGT Danger. I’m Drew, Brother Dangerfield, and Daddy. Instead of escorting Afghan truckers or guarding plots of dirt, I’ve been eating at Del Taco, pulling weeds, visiting my shrink, and planning a family road trip. The transition to the ‘real world’ – all 22 days of it, so far – has been just fine. But returning from a combat zone is not like waking up from a dream. In both cases we sit up and say, "Damn, that was weird." But while we pour our bowl of Froot Loops we quickly forget our overnight visions . A year in Iraq or Afghanistan is much more penetrating, since it actually happened. This ‘dream’ lingers in more than our minds; it is also in our bodies, our spirits, and our bank accounts. (READ MORE)

Kit Up!: Big Props for Airmen Battle System-Ground - One of the coolest new uniforms we’ve seen here on our embed to Afghanistan is the recently-deployed Airmen Battle System – Ground combat ensemble. We made good friends with a tactical air control party operator attached to 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry over in Paktika who had some pretty high speed kit that most general purpose force troopers weren’t authorized to wear. He has a sweet plate carrier in MultiCam, complete with MC pouches and rigs. And his rifle is all tricked out. But he raved about the AFSOC-issued ABS-Gs he wore every time he went out on a mission. Basically the ABS-G is patterned in the Air Force’s new digital tiger stripe, but departs from the Airman Battle Uniform in both material and construction. The material is a fire-resistant weave that is deceptively thin and airy, our TAC-P buddy (we’ll call ‘Square’) remarked. (READ MORE)

Knottie's Niche: Enjoy Your Vacation Mr. President - Memorial Day is next Monday. It is a day to remember and honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice in service of this nation. It is tradition that a wreath is laid at the memorial in Arlington each year. I started quite the rant earlier this evening about how Pres. Obama is not going to be laying the wreath at Arlington on Memorial Day so he can go to Chicago and have a vacation. I was infuriated when I read Pres. Obama was going to a family get together rather than Honor our Fallen as Commander and Chief. My first thought was “unforgivable”. Now I know he will not be the first President to not attend the wreath laying. But others had reasons that were not “vacations”. Then I thought about Pres. Obama’s treatment of our troops and it occurred to me that if he does lay the wreath it will be play acting as he has no gratitude for those who it is laid in Honor of. (READ MORE)

Bill Roggio: Yemeni airstrike kills deputy governor, al Qaeda operatives - The deputy governor of Marib province, five of his bodyguards, and two al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula operatives, including a local leader, were killed in an airstrike today, sparking retaliation from local tribes. Jabir al Shabwani, the deputy governor of Marib, was killed while conferring with an al Qaeda leader in an attempt to negotiate a settlement with the government. Shabwani was killed while meeting with al Qaeda leader Mohammed Saeed bin Jameel at his farm, the Yemen Observer reported. Jameel, who is also known as Mohammed Saeed bin Jardane, and another al Qaeda operative were reported killed in the strike. Shabwani is the brother of Ayed al Shabwani, the leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Marib province. Ayed was targeted in airstrikes twice in January 2010; once in a strike on Jan. 15 in the Al Ajasher region, a mountainous region between Saada and Jawf; and again on Jan. 20 on his farm in Marib. (READ MORE)

One Marine's View: Cyber Warrior Afghanistan - Cyber warrior of Facebook and Twitter in Afghanistan & Iraq - As of late, the military has restricted the access to deployed servicemembers to typical websites like YouTube, Blogger, Facebook and Twitter due to a combination of operational security, bandwidth use/access and time management. If you attended the Milblogger conference you learned how the different branches have not only allowed but encouraged servicemembers to utilize the above mentioned sites as a force multiplier. Although bandwidth still prevents a challenge to members at remote outposts, they are offered SPAWAR access that gives units of significant size a chance to piggyback off of larger unit’s bandwidth shots and access the internet. Now with slightly regulated time blocks, members can access these pages and as demonstrated at the Milblog conference, members are allowed and encouraged by their commands to blog compared to some restrictions in the past. (READ MORE)

Red Bull Rising: The Counts Down - Summertime has slipped into Iowa early this year--one need only to look at the sultry morning mists over the duck pond to see evidence of it, or to feel the sweaty breath of humidity in the Midwestern wind. Thank God for the wind. Without it, one could easily suffocate in the middle of an open field. The Tactical Operation Center's air-conditioner, the one we had to break in order to save earlier this spring, now does little to fend off the sun oozing into our little brick medical shanty. The building was probably built before World War I, and was no doubt site of some influenza pandemic. As such, it was originally designed to invite in fresh air and breezes, but there's no more of that now. Now, the TOC seems more like a powder keg. Moods are more shortly fuzed. "So am I deployed already or WHAT?!" The staff sergeant is pretty steamed. He's just added up the nights he has left at home. Here's how the math works: Number of days before Mobilization-Day ("M-day")... (READ MORE)

Sic Semper Tyrannis: End Game in Afghanistan - F. B. Ali - The players involved in the conflict in Afghanistan have all concluded that neither side can achieve a military victory and that it will end in some other way, probably through a negotiated solution. Since each of them has different goals, this end game is likely to be both confusing and complicated. What is likely to make it even more so is that within each of the parties involved there are factions and interests that have differing ideas on the desired end state and, therefore, the appropriate tactic to achieve it. With so many players and sub-players, and so many competing agendas, it would be foolhardy to try and predict how this end game will play out (although it is possible to foresee the near-term moves and their probable fate, as well as some of the major forks likely to appear in the road ahead). The best approach is to look at the parties involved, their goals, and how they are likely to try and achieve them. (READ MORE)

The Torch: Walking the secrecy vs. transparency tightrope - Further to Mark's post a month ago referencing two Torstar articles about JTF 2, and his recent post comparing the release of information regarding Australian SOF, I thought this piece by Dave O'Brien of the Winnipeg Free Press was worth a read. It's easy to read too much into what Day's saying. After all, O'Brien is free to pick whichever points from the interview he wants, and ignore the rest of the discussion. Perhaps Day has a far more nuanced view of information sharing than the article lets on. But on the face of it, I think O'Brien wins the exchange. Why? First of all, it's important to recognize nobody's arguing an entirely black and white case here. Day's not saying the public should know nothing about his units, and O'Brien's not saying the public should have unfettered access to their most intimate workings. The argument is about where important secrecy and important transparency should meet. It's about the proper compromise point. (READ MORE)

War, the military, COIN and stuff: Moves at the DoD - Earlier this afternoon, the Department of Defense announced that the Commander US Forces-Iraq, Army Gen. Ray Odierno has been nominated to be commander of US Joint Forces Command (JFCOM), and would take over from current JFCOM chief USMC Gen. James Mattis later this year. It has been rumored for some time that Odierno had been slotted to take over JFCOM, but the nomination brings up an entirely different issue that has been keeping the chattering classes in D.C. busy for the last couple of weeks: what is Mattis going to do next? There have been rumors that Mattis is heading over to Barracks Row to take over as Commandant of the Marine Corps when Gen. James Conway steps down, but since we don’t have any word on when Odierno is actually leaving Iraq, we don’t know what Mattis’ next move will be, either. Would Mattis heading up the Corps be a good fit? No one knows that but Gen. Mattis. (READ MORE)

Battle Rattle: Kilo Company Squads Engage Insurgents After Ambush - Last night, I went on my last foot patrol of this embed assignment. It was eventful, to say the least. Military Times photographer Tom Brown and I pushed north from this outpost east of Marjah with Marines from Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines. Two groups – 3rd Platoon’s 2nd and 3rd Squads – left on routine security patrols within a half-hour of each other. Tom and I joined 3/3, the second group – 13 Marines, a Navy corpsman and four Afghan National Army soldiers – as they stepped off at about 4:30. It was a strenuous walk. The first squad had swept ahead of us to establish security so we could safely cross open terrain, but the land was crisscrossed with canals that needed to be hurdled and boot-sucking fields that had been flooded by farmers earlier in the day. The air temperature had cooled off considerably from its 100-degree peak earlier in the day, but it was still hot enough that our shirts clung to our backs. (READ MORE)

Jules Crittenden: Vote Now Ask Later - Weird move by Obama admin to placate gay advocacy groups says vote to ditch DADT now, ahead of the Pentagon report on whether it is a good idea national security wise, but make it ineffective until the report comes out. Washington Post. Given that much of the political leadership and the top military leadership* has come out for ditching DADT, I’m guessing the report is not going to be a problem. Career-conscious officers aren’t stupid. Glad to see that news reports have advanced to calling it a “Clinton-era policy,” as opposed to a “Pentagon policy,” BTW. Eventually, they might get around to remembering that it is a law that started as a Clinton administration directive and was enacted by a Democratic Congress, basically establishing the Clinton admin as the Plessy vs. Ferguson punt of gay politics. The Bush admin kicked the issue down the road, saying it was wartime, they had other pressing business. (READ MORE)

Afghani Dan, Pat II: A day in the life: Transient - A word on transit within the Area of Operations...a primer, if you will, for those that have never had the pleasure. Let's say for purely hypothetical sake that you needed to fly from a notional desert airfield in the Gulf, serving as a major air transit hub, to another major transit hub located in a notional war-torn central Asian nation's capital region. Your initial feeling is a hopeful one...the reception cell has picked you up at the international airport, found you some temporary billeting, and signed you up at the 'terminal' for Space-R (reserved) travel on the next manifest. Imagine then that a couple of days creep by...each one filled with checking and re-checking your place on the list, and hoping to hear your name called at each roll call only to learn that either the flight has been canceled or that it is too full to take a single passenger. (READ MORE)

Greyhawk: Rules of Engagement in the Age of Obama - "You're not a dog. Firing your weapon isn't like licking your balls. It's not one of those things you want to do just because you can." - A guy in a TOC explaining why he denied frontline troops permission to fire a warning shot. Rules of engagement: Are the lives of American soldiers being sacrificed on the altar of political correctness in the age of Obama? Stories implying (or outright stating) as much are certainly appearing with increasing frequency these days. You're about to read two examples that I think will answer the question - if not settle the debate. I've redacted some identifying information, but can assure you these people are who they claim to be, and both can be considered expert witnesses on the topic. I expect a lot of people will be pissed at what they're about to read, or ignore the truth, or eagerly dismiss them as 'isolated incidents.' They are not - they are typical, and these aren't the only examples I can provide. (READ MORE)

Kings of War: Does Dr Fox Get It? - Dr Liam Fox has according to his civil servants mastered his brief as Defence Secretary with great competence in a matter of days, and yet after so much time on his hands during his years in opposition he fails palpably to understand the nature of the global movement which threatens the UK and the central position it has on the plans for our immediate security. Prior to leaving for Kabul with William Hague and Andrew Mitchell , he made some bafflingly contradictory remarks to the Times. According to a 22 May report Afghanistan remains top priority, it must not become a failed state – a base to launch terror campaigns anywhere in the world. However in the same interview Dr Fox is reported as saying that UK must distinguish between its military objectives in Afghanistan and long-term development plans for Afghanistan’s future social needs. UK forces are not there to export democracy, or to act as global policemen... (READ MORE)

News from the Home Front:
DOD Announces Units for Upcoming Rotation in Iraq - The Department of Defense announced today the alert of replacement forces scheduled to deploy in support of Operation New Dawn. (READ MORE)

Gates gives tepid support to 'don't ask, don't tell' compromise plan - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates gave lukewarm support Tuesday to a new White House-backed plan for a vote in Congress to repeal the law that bans gays from serving openly in the military. (READ MORE)

Gates Can Accept ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Amendment - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates can accept a proposed congressional amendment overturning the ban on gay men and lesbians serving openly in the military, but would prefer that lawmakers wait until a Defense Department review to assess its full impact is completed. (READ MORE)

Delay urged on military gay ban - Conservative activists and retired military officers called on Democratic leaders to pull back from efforts to make it easier for gays to serve openly in the military, and a tepid response from some Democratic lawmakers cast doubt on its prospects for passage in a volatile midterm election year. (READ MORE)

Bill Puts Scrutiny on Detainees’ Lawyers - A provision tucked into a defense bill before Congress would direct the Pentagon’s inspector general to investigate any suspected misconduct by lawyers for Guantánamo Bay detainees, opening a new chapter in a recurrent political controversy over legal ethics and the representation of terrorism suspects. (READ MORE)

News from the Front:
Gunmen Rob Baghdad Jewelry Stores in Sight of Checkpoints, Killing at Least 14 - A large group of gunmen, armed with rifles, grenades and bombs, staged an audacious midday robbery of a strip of jewelry stores within sight of police and army checkpoints in Baghdad on Tuesday, killing at least 14 people, according to officials and a witness. (READ MORE)

Iraqi PM Condemns Killing Of Rival Politician - Iraqi politicians buried a slain Sunni colleague on Tuesday and accused Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's government of failing to protect the cross-sectarian Iraqiya alliance that won a March election. (READ MORE)

Iraqi Election Results Closer to Being Certified - Iraq's election commission says it's sending the final results of the March 7 elections to the Supreme Court for certification. (READ MORE)

Iraqi Election Appeals Rejected - Election authorities in Iraq rejected final appeals on Tuesday against the results of a March parliamentary election, which will now move to the Supreme Court for certification. (READ MORE)

US Prison in Afghanistan to Hold First Trial - The main U.S. prison in Afghanistan is less than a week away from an event many thought would never occur at the long-secretive holding tank for captured militants: a trial. (READ MORE)

New Afghan Prison Marks Change In Obama Strategy - With his wrists and ankles handcuffed, Lahur Gul sits before a panel of U.S. military officers who will decide whether he is a threat to Afghanistan's security or can go free. (READ MORE)

Car Bomb Hits Outside NATO Base in Kandahar City - A car bomb exploded Wednesday outside a small NATO military base in southern Afghanistan's largest city, wounding two Afghans and destroying several cars, police said. (READ MORE)

Red Cross Defends First Aid Courses for Taliban - The international Red Cross has defended its first aid training for Taliban fighters in Afghanistan after media reports sparked criticism from Afghan officials. (READ MORE)

Taliban Slay Elders Over Aid Money - In many of the hamlets of eastern Afghanistan, the elders have become used to late-night knocks at the door and masked Taliban gunmen demanding money, but this year was different. (READ MORE)

Afghan central to U.S. push in Kandahar faced allegations in job with contractor - Before he became America's best hope for reforming Kandahar's cutthroat political system, provincial governor Tooryalai Wesa was fired from his job with a U.S. government contractor over allegations of mismanagement and corruption. (READ MORE)

Cross posted at Castle Argghhh!

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