- Peace Garden: 10/01/2008 - 11/01/2008

At war with Syria

Monday, October 27, 2008

Syria Condemns US Attack as “Serious Aggression”

An unnamed US military official has confirmed the attack on the Syrian border town of al-Sukkariya earlier this evening, which killed at least eight and wounded 14 others. He said the attack targeted “elements of a robust foreign fighter logistics network” and that the US had decided to take matters “into our own hands.” US Marines Major General John Kelly had recently expressed discontent with Syria’s slow progress on constructing a physical barrier at the border, though as recently as Thursday he described security incidents in the border province as so uncommon as to be “almost meaningless,” making the timing of the attack puzzling.
Syria summoned the Charges d’Affaires of both the United States and Iraq to protest the attack, which it condemned as “serious aggression.” In a statement released through their state media they called on the Iraqi government to “assume its responsibilities and make an immediate investigation into the dangerous violation and prevent using the Iraqi lands from launching aggression on Syria.”
Rather than begin winding down because of the touted "surge success", our regime is expanding the war beyond the borders of Iraq.

In the past I have written about whether Syria or Iran were our next targets. I have not written that question in quite a while - I thought Syria was off the radar. Oops, wrong!

Now the question is, how soon into Iran? Before election day? Have to either keep W in office because of an international catastrophe (martial law here we come) or have a war so another war-monger (hint - "Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran John") will unexpectedly win.

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Obama, Please listen to him...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Imran Khan Warns Against US 'Surge' in Afghanistan
Pakistan ex-cricket star turned politician Imran Khan warned against any Iraq-style surge to tackle violent militancy in Afghanistan, telling AFP the two situations were "completely different".
While stressing his support for US Democratic White House hopefuls Barack Obama and Joe Biden, he said in an interview Thursday that any move to increase the US military presence would be a bad move.
"Most American politicians haven't a clue," the chair of the Pakistan Movement for Justice said during a visit to London.
"So it's very easy, they say, you know a surge, but do they understand a surge in Afghanistan and Pakistan is completely different to urban centres in Iraq?
Let us not follow up the mistakes of W with more mistakes. You have talked about diplomacy as a better weapon. Please follow through.

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Expanding the success of Iraq?

US Helicopters, Commandos Attack Syrian Border Town Killing Eight

In a report from local witnesses later confirmed by a Syrian government spokesman, Two US helicopters landed in the Syrian border town of Al-Sukkariya while others remained in the air and eight American soldiers exited. The soldiers killed at least eight people in the attack, and wounded 14 others before reboarding the helicopters and returning to Iraqi territory.
The US military has yet to officially confirm the strike, the first US strike on Syrian soil, but an unnamed US official confirmed the strike, saying that due to Syrian inaction they were now “taking matters into our own hands” with regards to foreign fighters.
As the last days of the current regime are in sight, and the chances of continuing the regime with McCain being slim, last ditch efforts to expand the conflict arise.
Next plan - Iran?

Bring them all home NOW!

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The New Red Menace?

Comrade Obama?

Wait, I like mustard sandwiches! What's so wrong with them?

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Surge Success?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Iraq: Did the Surge Work?
"My thesis," wrote (Juan) Cole, "would be that the U.S. inadvertently allowed the chasing of hundreds of thousands of Sunni Arabs out of Baghdad (and many of them had to go all the way to Syria for refuge). Rates of violence declined once the ethnic cleansing was far advanced, just because there were fewer mixed neighborhoods."
Cole's thesis has received important confirmation. According to Bob Woodward, in his new book The War Within (Simon & Schuster, 2008), the biggest factor behind the reduced violence in Iraq was "very possibly" not the Surge, but a resort to Death Squads. A "Top Secret" memo viewed by Woodward indicates that the Sunnis were systematically targeted and assassinated. What took place was reminiscent of the infamous Phoenix Program instituted by the U.S. in Vietnam. It was a strategy of summary executions.
Yet another confirmation appeared in a recent study conducted by scientists at the University of California. Based on an examination of satellite photos across Baghdad, the study observed that Sunni neighborhoods, which showed a dramatic decrease of nighttime light in Sunni neighborhoods, had been abandoned by their inhabitants. The surge, the study concluded, "has had no observable effect." The study attributed the tremendous decline in Baghdad's Sunni population to relocations and ethnic cleansing.
Tom Hayden raises some disturbing questions. "Why were the targets killed instead of being detained? How many targeted individuals were killed or made to disappear? . . . How are the operations consistent with US constitutional law and international human rights standards?" Why has thee been no congressional investigation?
And so many praise the Surge and hope to take the same to Afghanistan. Death Squads - our nation has know and supported them in the past (think Central America). Let's hope the next President won't.

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Remember Morton Downey, Jr.?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Police Declare 'Mutilation' of McCain Worker in Pittsburgh a Hoax -- After Media Raise Doubts
It started yesterday afternoon with Matt Drudge screaming at the top of his site in red type -- but no siren -- that a Pittsburgh campaign worker for McCain, age 20, had been viciously attacked and the letter "B" carved into her face, presumably by a Barack Obama fan. Her name, it soon emerged, was Ashley Todd and she had come to Pittsburgh from College Station, Texas, to help out. It started to appear overblown (Drudge downgraded it to smaller, black type) as the police noted that it seemed to be a robbery ($60) and she did not seek medical attention. But later press reports said she would visit a hospital, Sarah Palin and maybe John McCain had called her and Obama camp had condemned, although McCain/Obama angle to story not yet confirmed. Still later, conservative columnist Michelle Malkin, and some others, grew skeptical. For one thing, the "B" was carved a little too lightly and perfectly -- and backward, as if done using a mirror. Smoking Gun probed a too-pat "Twitter" angle and Gawker looked at her MySpace page.
Malkin didn't bite on this one and go to town with the story? The world may be coming to an end when Michelle displays some sanity.

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To my Friend...

... who spouted about the "success" in Iraq. Some more exmaples of how wrong the use of the word "success" is:
What the Good News from Iraq Really Means
Today, however, success in Iraq seems as elusive as ever for the President. The Iraqi cabinet is now refusing, without further amendment, to pass on to Parliament the status of forces agreement for stationing US troops in the country that it's taken so many months for American and Iraqi negotiators to sort out. Key objections, as Juan Cole points out at his Informed Comment blog, have come from the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, which is [Prime Minister Nouri] al-Maliki's chief political partner, the support of which he would need to get the draft through parliament." That party, Cole adds tellingly, "is close to Tehran, which objects to the agreement." The Iranian veto? Hmmm? Among Iraqis, according to the Dreyfuss Report, only the Kurds, whose territories house no significant US forces, remain unequivocally in favor of the agreement as written. Frustrated American officials, including Ambassador Ryan Crocker ("Without legal authority to operate, we do not operate? That means no security operations, no logistics, no training, no support for Iraqis on the borders, no nothing?"), Secretary of Defense Robert Gates ("Without a new legal agreement,'we basically stop doing anything' in the country?"), and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mike Mullen ("We are clearly running out of time?") are huffing and puffing, and threatening – if the agreement is not passed as is – to blow the house down.
Even if Washington prefers to ignore Iraqi realities, military officials working close to the ground know that the country's state of disrepair, and an inability to deal with it in any reasonably prompt way, leaves a population in steaming discontent. At any moment, this could explode in further sectarian violence or yet another violent effort to expel the US forces from the country.
We went in, destroyed, pitted one against another, failed to rebuild... and we wonder why people don't like our policies.

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He lied...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Powell’s Endorsement Puts Spotlight on His Legacy
Former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell’s endorsement of Senator Barack Obama on Sunday represented his own transformative moment in a lifelong journey through war and politics.
It was not only an embrace of a presidential candidate from the other party, but also an effort to reshape a legacy that he himself considers tainted by his service under President Bush.
Cannot forget or forgive his lies that led us to war. The photos, charts and props...all lies.

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All the news fit to ignore....

2,000 Days Since "Mission Accomplished"

Now the war barely merits an above the fold headline. It sits smothered by election silliness. When we should be having a great national debate, we're bogged down in lip-sticked pigs, one group crying terrorist at every corner and a shadowy group of election 'officials' poised to steal yet another election.
Keep it out of our view - keep it going below our radar. Or at least the radar many hope we have - you know the Madonna Divorce is Huge News radar!

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Ban them all

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Georgia Used Cluster Bombs in August War, Too (
Separating fact from fiction isn't easy, in wartime. Take Human Rights Watch's recent "discovery" that Russia used cluster bombs during its Georgia campaign. Much was made of this by some media types who took it as evidence for a black-and-white situation of evil Russians versus righteous Georgians. But it turns out the Russians were not the only ones using cluster bombs. Human Rights Watch is still sticking by its identification of Russian PTAB submunitions (pictured). But now, the group has issued a clarification on a second type of munition used in Georgia:
...The Georgian government said it used cluster munitions during the August 2008 armed conflict with Russia, Human Rights Watch said today. In a letter to Human Rights Watch, the Georgian Defense Ministry stated that cluster rockets were “used against Russian military equipment and armament marching from Roki tunnel to Dzara road [sic],” but that they “were never used against civilians, civilian targets and civilian populated or nearby areas.”
Sure - no civilians were killed or injured in making this movie...

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Today's enemy is tomorrow's...

Moving Towards a 'Grand Bargain' in Afghanistan
Increasingly frustrated by the "downward spiral" that the U.S. intelligence community sees in Afghanistan, the Pentagon appears to be moving in support of engaging leaders of the resurgent Taliban who are prepared to disassociate themselves from al Qaeda. While the seeds for that strategy are being planted now, the next U.S. president – be it the current front-runner, Democratic Sen. Barack Obama, or his Republican rival, Sen. John McCain – will likely be advised by Pentagon chief Robert Gates and the new chief of the U.S. Central Command (Centcom), Gen. David Petraeus, to support such an effort as the most effective way to stabilize Afghanistan where the "global war on terror" first began seven years ago.
And then in three years we'll be back fighting these guys. It never ends - the insanity that is.

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Our Next President - God NO!!!!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

For some, a dream come true. For others, a living nightmare. Explore this twisted vision of a Palinesque Presidency!
Mouse click around and see what Sarah is up to. Open the door three times - poor Bambi. Just don't pick up that ringing red phone!

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Perpetual War or Search for Peace?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Is US fighting force big enough?

American's armed forces are growing bigger to reduce the strains from seven years of war, but if the US is confronting an era of "persistent conflict," as some experts believe, it will need an even bigger military.
A larger military could more easily conduct military and nation-building operations around the world. But whether the American public has the appetite to pursue and pay for such a foreign-policy agenda, especially after more than five years of an unpopular war in Iraq, is far from clear.
Last week, the Army released a new manual on "stability operations" that outlines for the Army a prominent global role as a nation-builder. The service will maintain its ability to fight conventional land wars, but the manual's release signals that it expects future conflicts to look more like Iraq or Afghanistan than World War II. While Defense Secretary Robert Gates has not publicly supported expanding the force beyond what is already planned, he has said the United States must prepare for more counterinsurgency wars like the ones it is fighting now – a hint that a larger military may be necessary.
As stated before - time to shift our thinking. Why must it be perpetual war? Why must our "face" in foreign nations be behind a gun? Isn't it time for diplomacy? Isn't it a time to shift our focus? Haven't we learned from our mistakes in Iraq and Afghanistan and every other conflict we have been involved in?

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IDentify with peace

Monday, October 13, 2008

 
Came across these three designs at Spark Ink.

I particularly love the idea behind the black t-shirt:

Think peace challenges the status quo with its innovative graphic.
Definitely is time to change the culture - think peace, think green...

(No - this is not my company, I am not a salesperson for it, I do not receive a commission. Just a great shirt I found.)

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And I was just going to move to Mexico!

Tina Fey ‘leaving Earth’ if Palin wins

“We're gonna take it week by week. If she wins, I'm done,” Fey tells TV Guide in the Oct. 20 issue. “I can't do that for four years. And by ‘I'm done,’ I mean I'm leaving Earth.”

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Grow your own!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

An Open Letter to the Next Farmer in Chief - Michael Pollan - NYTimes.com
It may surprise you to learn that among the issues that will occupy much of your time in the coming years is one you barely mentioned during the campaign: food. Food policy is not something American presidents have had to give much thought to, at least since the Nixon administration — the last time high food prices presented a serious political peril. Since then, federal policies to promote maximum production of the commodity crops (corn, soybeans, wheat and rice) from which most of our supermarket foods are derived have succeeded impressively in keeping prices low and food more or less off the national political agenda. But with a suddenness that has taken us all by surprise, the era of cheap and abundant food appears to be drawing to a close. What this means is that you, like so many other leaders through history, will find yourself confronting the fact — so easy to overlook these past few years — that the health of a nation’s food system is a critical issue of national security. Food is about to demand your attention.
Not only quality but its impact on global warming.
After cars, the food system uses more fossil fuel than any other sector of the economy — 19 percent. And while the experts disagree about the exact amount, the way we feed ourselves contributes more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere than anything else we do — as much as 37 percent, according to one study. Whenever farmers clear land for crops and till the soil, large quantities of carbon are released into the air. But the 20th-century industrialization of agriculture has increased the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by the food system by an order of magnitude; chemical fertilizers (made from natural gas), pesticides (made from petroleum), farm machinery, modern food processing and packaging and transportation have together transformed a system that in 1940 produced 2.3 calories of food energy for every calorie of fossil-fuel energy it used into one that now takes 10 calories of fossil-fuel energy to produce a single calorie of modern supermarket food. Put another way, when we eat from the industrial-food system, we are eating oil and spewing greenhouse gases.
Pollan, in a lengthy piece (but worth the read) offers many ideas - from change in policy to change in culture. My favorite idea...
The president should throw his support behind a new Victory Garden movement, this one seeking “victory” over three critical challenges we face today: high food prices, poor diets and a sedentary population. Eating from this, the shortest food chain of all, offers anyone with a patch of land a way to reduce their fossil-fuel consumption and help fight climate change. (We should offer grants to cities to build allotment gardens for people without access to land.) Just as important, Victory Gardens offer a way to enlist Americans, in body as well as mind, in the work of feeding themselves and changing the food system — something more ennobling, surely, than merely asking them to shop a little differently.
A fight worthy of enlistment - a war (a "green" war for real food) I can finally support.

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One way to boost the economy?

Evidence grows that Israel, with U.S. aid, is preparing to attack Iran
Month after month, the nation's attention seems to ping-pong back and forth between the world's two egregious nuclear malefactors, North Korea and Iran.
In fact several recent developments leave the strong suggestion that Israel is preparing to attack Iran - with significant help from the United States. You may remember that Israel carried out a major military exercise involving more than 100 F-16 and F-15 fighter jets over the Eastern Mediterranean last June. At the time, American officials said the exercise appeared to be a rehearsal for a bombing attack on Iran's nuclear facilities. And Shaul Mofaz, an Iranian-born former army chief of staff and defense minister, warned that "if Iran continues with its program for developing nuclear weapons, we will attack" - just as Israel bombed a suspected nuclear site in Syria last year. The likelihood of an American attack has diminished. American commanders "think it would complicate the situation in Iraq and the region," John Bolton, the former U.N. ambassador, told me. He favors an attack but says "the Bush administration was much more inclined to do it a few years ago." Secretaries Condoleezza Rice and Robert Gates, at State and Defense - relative moderates within the Bush administration - now dominate discussion of issues like this.
And there's more: Just last week came the news that the United States has deployed an advanced early-warning radar system in Israel for detecting incoming missiles. It is so sophisticated that, for now, U.S. Army crews will be stationed there to operate it.
We always have heard that the best boost for an economy is a war - defense production up - eyes off the real problems... But there is also an added benefit to an Israeli attack - a chance for either W to step up and declare martial law or a chance for McCain to win. The only downside? Nuclear war! That's a price the neo-cons may be willing to pay.

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Whose fault is it?

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

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Getting ready...

Is Posse Comitatus Dead? US Troops on US Streets

In a barely noticed development, a US Army unit is now training for domestic operations under the control of US Army North, the Army service component of Northern Command. An initial news report in the Army Times newspaper last month noted that in addition to emergency response the force “may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control.” The military has since claimed the force will not be used for civil unrest, but questions remain.
The timing of this before the elections, as the financial market dies, as people realize that the governments is not there to help us...scary thought.

Tanks on Wall Street? Tanks on Main Street? I am sure the "terror threat" will be used. Let's hope we all see through the lies.

We may be very close to taking it to the streets. The regime seems ready to strike the first blow.

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Three year old terrorists?

Monday, October 06, 2008

US Raid Kills 11 Members of Mosul Family
US forces conducted a dawn raid on a house in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul in which they believed a “suspected insurgent” was hiding. When the clash was over, 11 members of a single Iraqi family were dead. The US wasn’t specific about the nature of the deaths, citing only someone with a suicide vest. However, an Iraqi security source said the US troops killed all 11. An Iraqi medic said the dead were five men, three women, and three children. The US report said five “terrorists,” three women, and three children. Surviving the raid were a three year old child and a three month old infant. The child is in Iraqi army custody, while Iraqi police are tending to the infant.
Incredible?
Likewise, it is unclear how the coalition forces determined that every single adult man killed in the building was a “terrorist” when the raid was completed.
Wait until they determine that the children were also involved. Gitmo, get the cribs ready.

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Prince Charlie - humanitarian?

Charles Targets GM Crop Giants in Fiercest Attack Yet

"The reason I keep sticking my 60-year-old head above an increasingly dangerous parapet is not because it is good for my health," he said " but precisely because I believe fundamentally that unless we work with nature, we will fail to restore the equilibrium we need in order to survive on this planet."
True to his word, he plunged straight into the most controversial and emotive of all the debates over GM crops and foods by highlighting the suicides of small farmers. Tens of thousands killed themselves in India after getting into debt. The suicides were occurring long before GM crops were introduced, but campaigners say that the technology has made things worse because the seeds are more expensive and have not increased yields to match.
Broadening his offensive, he said that "any GM crop will inevitably contaminate neighbouring fields", making it impossible to maintain the integrity of organic and conventional crops. For the first time in history this would lead to "one man's system of farming effectively destroying the choice of another man's" and "turn the whole issue into a global moral question." He quoted Mahatma Gandhi who condemned "commerce without morality" and "science without humanity".
Commerce without morality? Capitalism leading to a sustainable environment? An economy for the benefit of all?

Shouldn't that be the goal? Shouldn't that have been the litmus test for the "bailout?"

And so many have made fun of Charles. Seems pretty sane and sensible to me.

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Bailout - Robbery?

Dennis Kucinich on the Democrats’ Bailout Betrayal
"This was the largest single act of class warfare in the modern history of this country," Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, who led the fight in the House against the bailout, told me by phone from Cleveland. "It is a direct attack on the American people's ability to be able to stabilize their homes and their neighborhoods. This single vote will define the careers of everyone. We are back to taxation without representation, to markets that are openly rigged."
"We buried the New Deal," he said of the vote. "Instead of Democrats going back to classic New Deal economics where we prime the pump of the economy and start money circulating among the population through saving homes, creating jobs and building a new infrastructure, our leaders chose to accelerate the wealth of the nation upwards. They did so in a way that was destructive of free-market principles. They ripped away all the familiar moorings. We are in an uncharted sea where the traditional roles of the political parties are being switched. The Democrats have unfortunately become so enamored and beholden to Wall Street that we are not functioning to defend the economic interest of the broad base of the American people. It was up to the Republicans to protect not just a so-called free market but the American taxpayer and attempt to block this. This is an outrage. This was democracy's Black Friday."
"We face a perfect financial storm," Kucinich warned. "The elements are the deficit spending for the war of 3 to 4 trillion dollars, the trillion and more tax cuts, the war itself and the lack of serious investment in the country. We are being hollowed out. We are going to see more unemployment and more people losing their homes. With $700 billion we could have made a real investment in the country, in jobs, in infrastructure and in homes. Instead, we got robbed."
Both parties sold us down the river all to line the pockets of a few. After today's market, it looks like the bailout plan is being seen for the robbery it is.

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You Betcha!

Friday, October 03, 2008

 

After watching the debate last night two questions come up:
(1) How in the world can anyone think she won the debate?
(2)Margie and Sarah - twins?

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He's ba-ack!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Wolfowitz Up to More Mischief?
Just 15 months after being forced to resign as president of the World Bank over a conflict of interest regarding his professional and personal relationships with his girlfriend, former Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz may be involved in another, far more geo-strategic conflict of interest involving his dual roles as chairman of the State Department's International Security Advisory Board (ISAB) and chairman of the U.S.-Taiwan Business Council, among whose U.S. members are military contractors who have been dying to get the Bush administration's approval to sell about 11 billion dollars worth of arms to the island to protect it against the threat of an attack by the mainland.
...Wolfowitz's ISAB may be trying to gin up tensions with China, acting as a new "Team B" in persuading policymakers and the public at large that Beijing's military modernization, especially its missile program, is more threatening to the U.S. than, in Gertz's words, "many current government and private-sector analyses" have depicted it.
...the report, the product of a task force headed by Joseph, recommends that the U.S. "should undertake the development of new weapons, sensors, communications, and other programs and tactics to convince China that it will not be able to overcome the U.S. militarily" and specifically that it obtain, in Gertz's words, "new offensive space and cyber warfare capabilities and missile defenses as well as ‘more robust sea- and space-based capabilities' to deter any crisis over Taiwan."
He's back and ready to fill his pals' wallets again.

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End them all and start anew

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

British Envoy says Mission in Afghanistan Is Doomed, According to Leaked Memo
The official version of the US-led campaign in Afghanistan received a blow today with a leaked report that the British Ambassador in Kabul believes that US strategy is wrong and the war is as good as lost.
"The current situation is bad. The security situation is getting worse. So is corruption and the Government has lost all trust. Our public statements should not delude us over the fact that the insurrection, while incapable of winning a military victory, nevertheless has the capacity to make life increasingly difficult, including in the capital. "The presence - especially the military presence - of the coalition is part of the problem, not the solution. The foreign forces are ensuring the survival of a regime which would collapse without them. In doing so, they are slowing down and complicating an eventual exit from the crisis (which, moreover, will probably be dramatic)."
Who really wins a war besides the arms makers and coffin builders?

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