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Breaking: AP reports that Obama has relieved General McChrystal of his command and named General Petraeus as his replacement

Fox News's Megyn Kelly just announced that the AP is reporting that the president has relieved General McChrystal of his command and will replace him with General Petraeus.

1:27pm update: Major Garrett has just confirmed the AP's report that McChrystal is out and Petraeus is in charge of the war effort in Afghanistan.

1:44pm update: Obama is now speaking. He just announced that he accepted General McChrystal's resignation. Biden is standing to his right and General Petraeus is to his left.

Now that General Petraeus is in charge of Afghanistan under Barack Obama's command, I wonder if we'll see any more nastiness like this from MoveOn.Org:

General PetraeusMO_1.jpg

Update: Victor Davis Hanson on McChrystal's ouster and Petraeus's return:

Obama had no choice but to do what he did, and the wise Petraeus move was obviously a mitigating factor. Obama's speech, despite the customarily excessive use of "I," "me," and "my," was workmanlike and wise in its emphasis on continuity of strategy...

It is one of ironies of our present warped climate that Petraeus will face far less criticism from the media and politicians than during 2007-8 (there will be no more "General Betray Us" ads or "suspension of disbelief" ridicule), because his success this time will reflect well on Obama rather than George Bush. It is a further irony that Obama is surging with Petraeus despite not long ago declaring that such a strategy and such a commander were failures in Iraq. And it is an even further irony that he is now rightly calling for "common purpose" when -- again not long ago, at a critical juncture in Iraq -- Obama himself, for partisan purposes on the campaign trail, had no interest in the common purpose of military success in Iraq.

Update II: John McCain, Joe Lieberman, and Lindsay Graham all spoke at a press conference about McChrystal's resignation and Petraeus's installation. All three of them expressed regret at how McChrystal's resignation came about but were very supportive of Obama's selection of General Petraeus to replace him. McCain said that Petraeus's confirmation may be the fastest in Senate history. Graham was clearly disappointed in McChrystal's approval and participation in the Rolling Stone article and said that, having been an army officer for most of his adult life, he understood why the president had to relieve McChrystal of his command. He crossed a line that cannot be crossed in the military. Graham also said that if an officer has a negative personal opinion of his Commander in Chief he needs to keep that opinions to himself because, regardless of how people may disagree with the president's policies, he is still the Commander in Chief and must be respected.

I understand Graham's sentiments about respecting the Commander in Chief, but, honestly, the president's dismissive attitude toward the war in Afghanistan and his three months of dithering on sending more troops into the field when they were requested has not commanded much respect from our military.

Maybe that will change a little today after our military men and women watched the president handle this situation in the professional and decisive manner they have always expected from the Commander in Chief. I hope it continues.

Update III: Michael Barone on Obama's performance:

Barack Obama, as I wrote in my Examiner column today, faced a tough decision on what to do about General Stanley McChrystal and must take command. I think he just did that in his brief and graceful statement announcing that he had accepted McChrystal's resignation and appointed General David Petraeus to take his place. Obama was on firm ground when he said that the statements of McChrystal and his staffers were improper and unacceptable conduct by military officers; the principle of civilian control of the military is hugely important, and Obama asserted it forcefully. Obama also sent a message to other appointees: no more public disagreements and leaked misgivings. There must be "unity of effort . . . across our national security team." This was a message to, among others, one of the men standing behind him, Vice President Joe Biden.

There is much that remains to be done to gain success--Obama still won't use the word victory--in Afghanistan. But this was a strong performance, made by a president who was suddenly forced to make a binary choice under terrific pressure. Good for him.

It's quite sad, isn't it, that Obama's truly dismal performance so far as Commander in Chief has set the bar so low that we're pleased and relieved that he has shown even the slightest hint of competence.


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Comments (49)

Dumb move on Zero's part. ... (Below threshold)
GianiD:

Dumb move on Zero's part. Thin-skinned insecure ball-less narcissist.

Can you imagine how many people that would have had to be fired if W had the this skin that this guy does?

Bad move for thin skinned B... (Below threshold)
eaglewingz08:

Bad move for thin skinned Barry. Even though I have no comprehension what the Gen was thinking in giving unfettered access to the anti american anti military pro pacifist democrap leftwing Rolling Stone Mag. I find it fascinating that when Gen. Shinseki thrust daggers at the Bush Administration's war efforts, he was lauded by the media as a celebrity, and we had to listen to the Generals (the antiwar Generals only, of course) and dissent is the highest form of patriotism claptrap. When Plame and Wilson concocted their worse treachery against the Iraq War, and bad mouthed W, again the media celebrated that dissent and vehemently argued and opined against firing them, and trumpeting their criticisms as Gospel. But McCrystal makes a few innocuous but true statements about the Obama's maladministration of the war, and it's Off With His Head, from these same, dissent is the highest form of criticism media hacks. If Afghan War fails, look for Rolling Stone to get Pulitzer Prize out of this dreck article.

Eagle:I would dist... (Below threshold)
James H:

Eagle:

I would distinguish between, for example, testifying before Congress and giving incendiary quotes to a Rolling Stone freelancer.

That said, I think Howard Kurtz makes a good point:

[W]hen I sat down to read it, I found a serious, textured piece by an experienced war correspondent about the frustrations that McChrystal and his deputies feel in prosecuting such a difficult counterinsurgency. That, of course, has been overshadowed in the furor.

By itself, replacing McChrystal does nothing. What is Obama going to do about the greater mess that is Afghanistan.

@3 Same thing he does w/ ev... (Below threshold)
GianiD:

@3 Same thing he does w/ everything other crisis, nothing, til it impacts his image.

Now can we get W to replace... (Below threshold)
914:

Now can we get W to replace Barry??

Please?

Miss Me yet?

Barry the blunder child just keeps letting his Alinsky ideology get in the way of better judgement.

I guess I am like others wh... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

I guess I am like others who are trying to understand why the Rolling Stone was allowed access to this type of information. If I believe what I read, McChrystal saw the article before publication and had no issue with it. Publications like the Rolling Stone are always looking for the personal and controversial angle on a story so I am not sure what McChrystal was expecting if the opportunity to portray a story as such presented itself. Did they change the article? And if they did it is not like McChrytsal could cry foul if the actual quotes were valid. Everything with Obama is personal so there is basically only one response you are going to get from him if his obvious fragile self-esteem is threatened. I hope after a period of cooling off McChrystal will tell his story. I feel civilian oversight of our military is a very important part of our government but we have all seen how it becomes a point of contention as well. I wonder if with the appointment of Petraeus there will come a change in strategy as well. If Obama pisses off a second well-respected general (even if Petraeus is more discreet about it) the finger can only be pointed at Barry.

From what I read, McChrysta... (Below threshold)
James H:

From what I read, McChrystal and his staff were not given the ability to review the article. In fact, most publications refuse to allow subjects to review the articles. Rather, the magazine's fact-checking department called McChrystal's staff to verify quotes, and they copped to them.

They knew it would be trouble, I expect, but there was nothing they could do about it once Hastings filed his story.

It'll be interesting to see... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

It'll be interesting to see what McChrystal does next. I'm thinking it's gonna irk Mr. ThinSkin a lot more than the article did.

Of course, I could be completely wrong, too.

Now can we get W to repl... (Below threshold)
Roy:

Now can we get W to replace Barry??

Please?

Miss Me yet?


I'm waiting for a Miss Me Yet billboard with Carter's picture on it.

Moveon.org is so ashamed th... (Below threshold)
Cro:

Moveon.org is so ashamed they redirected their betrayus add!

http://pol.moveon.org/petraeus.html

too bad the internet is forever....

google cache...

http://cc.bingj.com/cache.aspx?q=http%3a%2f%2fpol.moveon.org%2fpetraeus.html&d=4912137018343945&mkt=it-IT&setlang=en-US&w=e36217bb,ca986292

So Barrabus betrayedus for ... (Below threshold)
914:

So Barrabus betrayedus for thirty pieces of silver.

I just love it when he gets all angry and flustered. Next up for Mr. McChrystal, the talk show circuit, the $100,000 a speech circuit, guest appearances galore, a 6 figure book deal, no more of Barrys bowing while you bite your tongue..

Just ask Sarah General. Life is good out of public service.

Obama refused to denounce t... (Below threshold)
hermie:

Obama refused to denounce the 'Betray Us' ads, but now he assigns Petraeus to oversee Afghanistan. That must mean that the war there is too f***ked up, and that he needs someone to blame who MoveOn and the other Soros groups will be ever so happy to vilify.

Now of course, the main wiz... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Now of course, the main wizbang meme for the McChrystal firing is that Obama is thin skinned .(another characterization that is not even close to being accurate, why is Hillary for one, Secretary of State).

Odd that earlier most conservatives such as wizbang regulars WildWillie, jlawson, Garandfan, oyster, jim addison even Kim Priesthap herself declared or implied that Obama as President, must do the right thing and fire him.
But as soon as he does, what conservatives want, he becomes a pariah, "thin -skinned", makes a lot of sense.

If he hadn't fired McChrystal, I'm sure you would have now been even more disapproving.

I for one, don't know if this itself was a firing offence, but in a pattern of similar offences, (going too public with his desire, was it last November, for a heavy increase in troops in Afghanistan) I suppose he had to go.

If Barry could just get aro... (Below threshold)
914:

If Barry could just get around to plugging that indamnable hole he could be more then a one term lame ducky.

<a href="http://wizbangblog... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

earlier hyperlink post, What should Obama have done, if not fire McChrystal?

Looks like the Secretary of... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

Looks like the Secretary of State is going to have to willfully suspend a lot of disbelief.

It looks like Obama just lo... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

It looks like Obama just lost the war in Afghanistan.

Okay, now look at the good ... (Below threshold)
John S:

Okay, now look at the good news. The administration was learned in no uncertain terms that if it finds an excuse to declare martial law, the military will not support Obama. If ordered to fire on Americans, the military will remove him first.

"Odd that earlier most c... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

"Odd that earlier most conservatives such as wizbang regulars WildWillie, jlawson, Garandfan, oyster, jim addison even Kim Priesthap herself declared or implied that Obama as President, must do the right thing and fire him."

Crickmore, I just read through the entire post and comment thread you linked to and there was only one commenter who "declared or implied" that Obama must fire him, and said commenter was not in your list above. This total lack of comprension on your part does explain a lot about what your beliefs are though.

How does one win an unwinna... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

How does one win an unwinnable war, Mac? Should the United States and its allies just stay there and continue to kill people who want them to leave, until there is no one left who wants them to leave, and then leave? Total waste of life and time and money.

Where the resignations of t... (Below threshold)

Where the resignations of the Obama clown posse, Joe Biden, Jim Jones, Richard Holbrooke and Karl Eikenberry? Presidents do not fire generals who fights to protect his clowns.

"What should Obama have don... (Below threshold)
Upset Old Guy:

"What should Obama have done, if not fire McChrystal?" - Steve Crickmore

Why you ask, Steve? I don't see anyone here or in the other thread arguing that McChrystal should not have been fired.

On the other hand, it's hard to find a good move for Our Young President (OYP if mentioned again) in this mess. What the General did is the kind of thing that gets Generals fired. But firing McChrystal and hiring the man he did a hatchet job on two years ago was kind of stupid.

But then, taking three months to decide he was not going to provide all the resources requested by McChrystal after dumping someone else so he could have McChrystal was kind of stupid too.

And then there was the strategy of announcing to our enemy the date of our withdrawal, that was stupid too.

As was announcing to our enemy which weapons he was willing to use, and which ones were off the table. Yup, stupid too.

So, OYP is wallowing in a quagmire of his own making. And I have a demonstrable record of showing no sympathy for those who suffer in messes of their own making. People live or die by this man's decisions. and he demonstrates his seriousness of purpose by heading off to the golf course with distressing regularity.

What should Obama have done? Tendered his immediate resignation is my top choice.

I must be reading the wrong... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

I must be reading the wrong thread but nearly every comment I read was laced with this was inexcusable, McChrystal must resign, 'fall on his sword', what on earth was his ulterior plan? and so forth.

This is moot point now at any rate. The appointment of Petraneus looks a continuation of the administration counter-insurgency approach which wasn't working well, no surprise since Afghanistan looks like a worse quagmire than Vietnam or Iraq.

Incidentally I remember Oba... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Incidentally I remember Obama was far more mute and restrained in his criticism of the idea of surge than other senators such as Hillary Clinton and Reid and far more willing to grant its success earlier than nearly all of of his Democratic rivals.

Steve, before Petraeus took... (Below threshold)

Steve, before Petraeus took over, Iraq looked as hopeless as Afghanistan does now. I don't know of anyone who else who is better trained to handle this war than General Petraeus.

"I must be reading the w... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

"I must be reading the wrong thread but nearly every comment I read was laced with this was inexcusable, McChrystal must resign, 'fall on his sword', what on earth was his ulterior plan? and so forth."

"McChrystal must resign..." is entirely different than "Obama...must fire him". My point being that you're trying to find hypocrisy where there is none.

How does one win a... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
How does one win an unwinnable war, Mac? Should the United States and its allies just stay there and continue to kill people who want them to leave, until there is no one left who wants them to leave, and then leave? Total waste of life and time and money

Obama's deadline to pull out next year made McChrystal's counter insurgency strategy unworkable, so McChrystal formulated his own personal exit strategy; one that leaves Obama holding the bag for losing the war. Smart guy that McChrystal.

General McCg... (Below threshold)
hcddbz:

General McCg


How does one win an unwinnable war

Fist the true questions is

How does one WIN a war
First one has to have view point that war is win-able. The you commit sufficient forces , resources and equipment to achieve complete victory.

See if you do not want to win and your enemy does you have lost the war.

Right now we have ROE that are getting are warriors killed. We told the enemy that we are when we will leave and that if they can bloody our nose we will leave sooner. We told whatever allies we have that our protection is for a limited time and that they cannot count on us.

So we have admitted defeat and are killing American lives for nothing. This has been the problem with

How does one win an unwinnable war


Steve Crickmore, it is a no... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Steve Crickmore, it is a no brainer that Obama should relieve him. It is in the UCMJ and all veterans know this cannot be done. Obama did the only thing he could. Even mentally challenged people get things right once in awhile. ww

Commenter from Ann Althouse... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

Commenter from Ann Althouse's blog:

"LarsPorsena said...

Senator Obama voted 'present' for the resolution condemning the "General Betrayus" ad.

Brilliant choice by the President. He removes his hand-picked choice for
someone he had no confidence in just 2 years ago. "

Obama's deadline to pull... (Below threshold)
Babyface:

Obama's deadline to pull out next year made McChrystal's counter insurgency strategy unworkable, so McChrystal formulated his own personal exit strategy; one that leaves Obama holding the bag for losing the war. Smart guy that McChrystal.

It sounds nuts, but what if GEN McChrystal knew exactly what he was doing? Like a Roman General committing suicide to save his honor what if he did the same thing with his career?

hcddbz, you've got it all w... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

hcddbz, you've got it all wrong. If following the rules of engagement produces an unacceptable number of casualties, then fucking disengage. You don't change the rules. Right and wrong are not conditional upon the number of dead troops which the general public can stomach. That's called moral relativism, and it's stupid and evil.

Babyface -Interest... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Babyface -

Interesting speculation - think he bailed to avoid augering in?

Somehow, and I could be wrong on this, I don't think he did it to save his own skin - but it MIGHT be the equivalent of seppuku to get the attention of the Emperor, when his lord is dishonorable. (The Emperor, in this case, is the people and media, NOT Obama.)

Could be wrong, too. We'll see.

Just one observation. The ... (Below threshold)
Oldflyer:

Just one observation. The "three amigos" are not great choices to quote on this matter. John McCain was one of the biggest hot heads and blow- hards in Navy Blue before he underwent sensitivity training in Hanoi. Graham, regardless of what he pretends, was an Air Force Lawyer with minimal time on active duty and zero operational or command experience. Neither he nor Lieberman has the foggiest notions of the pressures, fatigue and frustration experienced by an operational Commander at any level--especially one dealing with a situation like McChrystal's.

The Rolling Stone article could have easily been received either of two ways at the White House. The President's "chief blabbermouth (Gibbs)" or someone comparable could have been sent out to say the President talked to McChrystal, and the General was sorry, but fatigue and frustration got the better of him and his staff, and they were assured it would not happen again. Or the White House could have. . .

Of course if a President is desperate to change the topic of discussion, and to look like he is actually in charge of something, then the choice is obvious.

It is becoming more Obama's... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

It is becoming more Obama's war now. Let us hope he puts a surge into diplomatic efforts too, and explain what we were are doing there, more than he has been.

Obama needs to define an attainable goal in Afghanistan and then execute it swiftly. As it is, when he is pressed about what in the world we are doing there, he retreats into Bushisms: "So I want the American people to understand that we have a clear and focused goal: to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and to prevent their return to either country in the future. That's the goal that must be achieved."

Well that isn't a good enough reason to be in Afghanistan. There is no al-Qaeda to speak of in Afghanistan. And although insurgents and Taliban probably control about 20 percent of the country, they have not let al-Qaeda set up shop in their territory. If they don't now, when they obviously need all the help they can get, why would they in the future?


It sounds nuts, bu... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
It sounds nuts, but what if GEN McChrystal knew exactly what he was doing? Like a Roman General committing suicide to save his honor what if he did the same thing with his career?

McChrystal knew his counter insurgency plan couldn't work because of Obama's deadline to start pulling out. Announcing some deadline to pull out of a war is like announcing some bet limit you won't go over in a poker game. It guarantees you lose, which has been the Left's strategy since Vietnam and which Obama gave in to.

Given the imposed deadline, McChrystal knew his strategy would fail and he would take the blame, or he could devise his own exit plan that allowed him to save face and put the blame for losing the war where it belongs, on Obama. Either way McChrystal knew his career was over, but his way he goes out on top from a military standpoint.

In a year or two people will say Obama lost the Afghanistan war the day he fired McChrystal. I said it today.

Mac Lorry, but the American... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Mac Lorry, but the American public needs to be shown a plan and given encouragement, particularly where there is so little success on the ground?

Could it be that the reason why McChrystal and aides did such a lengthy interview, were that two factors were largely responsible: one, the General wanted to drum up support for the Afghan campaign and secondly, one can fault Iceland's volcanic ash cloud? As reported by BBc's Lyse Doucet.

When the annals of this year's volcanic ash cloud crisis are written, this article may count as another consequence of the Icelandic eruption: the writer, Michael Hastings, ended up spending more time than expected with the general and his closest aides. They were stuck in Paris when flights were grounded for several days...

In an interview in late April in Kabul I also noticed how Gen McChrystal had started to pay more attention to what he called "outside messaging". He had clearly begun to worry about how the campaign and its progress was being represented to an outside world, where criticism and scepticism were mounting.

Steve Crickmore,Yo... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Steve Crickmore,

You can assume McChrystal and his staff made as long series of blunders in talking to the Rolling Stone reporter or you can assume McChrystal knew what he was doing and was using the Rolling Stone reporter for his own purposes. Given McChrystal is a brilliant tactician and given the ultimate failure Obama's announced draw down date ensures, I believe McChrystal punched-out.

Yes, and Douglas MacArthur ... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Yes, and Douglas MacArthur was friggin' great too, Mac.

Yes, and Douglas M... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
Yes, and Douglas MacArthur was friggin' great too, Mac.

Glad you recognize that fact. What MacArthur did in Japan was pure genius as was his invasion of Incheon. We learned a few years ago that China would not have invaded Korea if they were threatened by nuclear weapons as MacArthur wanted. Had Truman taken MacArthur's advice there would be no North Korea today to threaten the world with its own nuclear weapons.

MacArthur was a piece of sh... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

MacArthur was a piece of shit. Splitting his forces in Korea cost the U.N. and South Koreans a lot of lives and ceded a great deal of territory to the Chinese-supported North than they otherwise would have won. Anyone who can claim to know today what China would have done in the 1950s in terms of military tactics is stupid or lying.

Incheon was well-executed, that much has to be granted, but his arrogance at the start of the Pacific campaign--parking his shiny new bombers within striking distance of Japanese fighters--showed that he was capable of making terrible military decisions. Plus he was an asshole with disdain for the civilian leadership, which shows an utter disregard for the Constitution of his country. The guy sucked. He was no Patton and not even a Rommel.

This played out almost exac... (Below threshold)
SillyPuddy:

This played out almost exactly how McC wanted it too (just faster I think), the majority of the media is missing the actual story - Barry's refusal to deal McC a workable hand last November and McC not wanting to be the fall guy.

BTW inserting DP without changing anything else isn't going to change any gound truth.

hyperbolist The ... (Below threshold)
hcddbz:

hyperbolist

The ROE were changed and they put our troops at risk. So Right and Wrong not the issue but Political correctness.

Truman vs MacArthur. Truman was correct he had to fire General because President is CinC and he could not have a General make his own foreign policy decisions.
However Truman s Limited War strategy has still left us with North Korea pursuing Nuclear weapons. Limited War in Vietnam led to defeat and the spread of Communism in SE Asia.


I do have some issues with MacArthur like bonus Army and the fact he let alot of Japanese war criminals go but he was a Great man and like all great men he had vices and virtues.

The President in full Control let see how he does. Hope he does better job on the war on Terror than the War against Oil.

#36 Dead on.... (Below threshold)
SillyPuddy:

#36 Dead on.

MacArthur was a pi... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
MacArthur was a piece of shit. Splitting his forces in Korea cost the U.N. and South Koreans a lot of lives and ceded a great deal of territory to the Chinese-supported North than they otherwise would have won.

MacArthur won the peace in Japan by his knowledgeable handling of the occupation. MacArthur took complete control of all of Korea after Incheon. Not being keep China out of the war was the fault of Truman. MacArthur simply didn't have the resources to hold out against China.

Anyone who can claim to know today what China would have done in the 1950s in terms of military tactics is stupid or lying.

Aren't you being a little tough on yourself?

"It's quite sad, isn't i... (Below threshold)
914:

"It's quite sad, isn't it, that Obama's truly dismal performance so far as Commander in Chief has set the bar so low that we're pleased and relieved that he has shown even the slightest hint of competence."


Competence had nothing to do with it. You bruise Barry's gargantuan EGO and you go under the bus. The hell with the country and everything slse.

It's so nice to see Lindsey... (Below threshold)
Don L:

It's so nice to see Lindsey and Johnny back to gether in action again. Those two could replace the track with the betters cause no one can figure out from day to day which side of America they're on or against.

Maybe if MacArthur (not our best general ever) had been listened to instead of fired we could have avoided several Asian wars - certainly that nutcase in North Korea would have been working in a Hyundai plant by now instead of destabilizing the world.

I absolutely said from the ... (Below threshold)
Jim Addison:

I absolutely said from the start Obama had no real choice but to fire him.

My theory was and is that McChrystal had a pretty good idea what would happen, but had no good options. If he resigned and complained publicly about the ROE and other strategy restrictions which put our troops in greater peril than they are already in, it would only serve to demoralize the troops in country - and lower morale = higher body counts. So that was off the table.

The way he did it, he at least gets the issue on the front burner in Congress and perhaps in the public forum, without directly criticizing the Prez himself. The troops can accept it as a technical violation of regs, minimizing the impact on morale, and the new commander will have to be given some reasonable grace period to get up to speed, so the insane deadline arbitrarily assigned by the inept Obama Administration will have to be extended, giving our troops more time.

It's about the best he could hope for given the circumstances.

Of course, I also firmly believe General McChrystal is easily one hundred times the man of the sniveling buffoon Obama, who is stupid and incompetent and entirely unqualified for this job, or any other above that of "community organizer," which doesn't seem too challenging even for a man of his limited skill set.

Has Barry ever done anythin... (Below threshold)
914:

Has Barry ever done anything for the good of the country? I'll answer myself, NO. I would have the utmost respect for him if he would simply resign. Would save me cash too.




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