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The Questions No One On The Left Will Answer

William Rusher has a great column at Townhall today about Frank Rich's new book about Bush lies and the NYT's review of it. Rusher discusses the question those on the Left who claim we were "lied into war" in Iraq never acknowledge, much less answer.

Now, while it is incontestable that Saddam had possessed chemical and biological WMDs, we now know that he was not close to possessing nuclear weapons at the time of our attack in March 2003. The Bush administration has fully admitted as much, blaming the error on faulty intelligence. But Rich and Buruma aren't buying that. The charge is that Cheney simply lied in order to trick us into war.

Why Cheney (or Bush, for that matter) would declare that Saddam was nearing nuclear capability, when they allegedly knew that the contention would be proved false in a matter of months, is a good question nobody has answered.

That has always driven me crazy about the "Bush lied about WMD" claims. If he really lied about it, and knew that there were no stockpiles of WMD, then he would know that none would be found and that he would pay a huge political price. Rusher points out the other obvious question that those on the Left refuse to address.
If Cheney was lying about Saddam's nuclear intentions in the summer of 2002, what was Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., doing when he said, that October, that "There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons"? Or Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., when he said in that same month, "I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in (Saddam's) hands is a real and grave threat to our security"? Or, if we assume that Cheney had somehow brainwashed these men, who brainwashed President Clinton when he declared, on Feb. 17, 1998, "We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program" -- while George Bush was still merely governor of Texas?


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Comments (37)

If you can explain the work... (Below threshold)

If you can explain the workings of a democrats mind you will be a rich man in days. There has beem millions of studies and so far no real explamination for insanity.

Even some 'not so liberals' are having a mental breakdown. Read this statement today, 'Liberal Evengelicals start campaign'. If you are a liberal, you are not an evangelical and if you are a true evangelical you cannot be a liberal. Liberal do not believe or attempt to practice the laws of god. Read the bible, anyone can find their hypocrisy.

If the libs admit to truth,... (Below threshold)

If the libs admit to truth, Then they must admit to themselve's that there is a God with absolutes of right and wrong..Thus blowing the ego's assumption that He or she is the only one to be held accountable to. Therefore denial and subterfuge is the logical escape.

Sorry Lorie, but this post ... (Below threshold)

Sorry Lorie, but this post is just plain stupid -- everyone knows that what was said while Bill Clinton was president is completely divisable from what was said once that demigod left office.

You silly neocons ...

This is stupid. Because no ... (Below threshold)

This is stupid. Because no one can answer the question "what would motivate these people to do such a thing", that's sufficient to dismiss that they did it? Try applying that logic to society at large and see if it works out for you.

But regardless, there's an obvious answer. Because they wanted to, and they knew that they could spin it and turn it to their political favor afterwards.

And all of the concerns voiced by the Democrats you quote were addressed by the sanctions against Iraq. None of those quotes advocate invasion.

Oh yeah...

while it is incontestable that Saddam had possessed chemical and biological WMDs

Except that Bush himself contested it. Perhaps Rusher should have used that old trick, "Some folks say it is incontestable...."

Saddam possessed and *used*... (Below threshold)

Saddam possessed and *used* chemical and/or biological WMD's.

This is incontestable.

Cheney is the Puppetmaster!... (Below threshold)

Cheney is the Puppetmaster! For a startling expose, see my post, "...Okay, Then..." on wrymouth.com!

WMD gripes are flogged by those too intellectually lazy to probe the Bush administration's other, more potent, reasons for pulling on the lynchpin that was Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

Among other things, I find it difficult to believe that so many Americans can't see how Afghanistan and Iraq are related to Iran. LOOK ON A MAP!

I explained that once and g... (Below threshold)

I explained that once and got accused of thinking that real life was like a game of RISK.

And it does amaze me that some people seem to think that there aren't ways in which it *is*. As though geography doesn't matter.

Brian:But regar... (Below threshold)


But regardless, there's an obvious answer. Because they wanted to, and they knew that they could spin it and turn it to their political favor afterwards.
Someone remind me again what the Bush approval ratings have been for the last 18 months.

NOTE to Brian: Guess that's one job of "political spinning" Rove failed at.

Lorie:When did you... (Below threshold)


When did you stop beating your husband?

Hugh, the joke actually goe... (Below threshold)

Hugh, the joke actually goes, "HAVE you stopped beating your ]wife]; just answer yes or no."

If people want to accuse President Bush of being wrong about Saddam's WMD, fine. I think it's more likely that they were sent to Syria, but no matter, the point is that we didn't find stockpiles. I accept that.

However, there is NO evidence that the president LIED. He had plenty of other reasons to sell the military action without it.

Because no one can answer t... (Below threshold)

Because no one can answer the question "what would motivate these people to do such a thing", that's sufficient to dismiss that they did it?

You know Brian, you are right. Bush lied, Hillary lied, Kerry lied, Rockwell lied, Gore lied, Kennedy lied. We should never vote for any of them, ever again.
They all got their intelligence from accurate CIA reports that were mixed in with innacurate reports. We, heavy emphasis on the we part, made the best decision we could at the time. That is why there were six provisions that were written into the authorisation to go to war, not just one. You are lying to yourself if you think all of those Senators who voted for that resolution didn't know that there was a possibilty we would not find bunkers full of WMD's. And if they were positive we would find bunkers of WMD's how did the Presdient lie? Saddam destroyed the weapons without verification as required by the UN. Saddam made his generals think he had the weapons. The real liar is Saddam. The real enemy is not the President. The muslim street now thinks the Pope is as bad as Bush, and all he did was give a speech in a university.

OH come on - Karl Rove was ... (Below threshold)

OH come on - Karl Rove was planning all of this way before Bush decided to run for POTUS - Rove secretly was feeding misinformation to the poster children of democratic party. Serioulsy - he was - take my word on this - I mean - pay no attention to that sign behind me "bridge for sale - cheap!"

And by the way Monica was a Rove plant.

Sorry. Democrats are dumb - plain and simple.

Lorie is right here. Had t... (Below threshold)
Steve L.:

Lorie is right here. Had the President actually cooked up this alleged scheme to lie us into a war on the promise of WMDs, don't you think he would have had a plan in place to plant some weapons to prove his point? It would seem kind of stupid to develop a fake rationale for an invasion and then not prime the pump, so to speak.

Of course, the lefties will just claim that he is too stpid to have thought of that. He's an evil genius who can manipulate the world into doing his bidding, but he's not smart enough to plant evidence to make himself look good.

Hold on tight...might be a ... (Below threshold)

Hold on tight...might be a ride...

Sigh.....you are all wrong. You have the timeline wrong. Don't you guys know that the world...and in particular, the Middle East, was all peaceful and a lovefest with kite flying and drum circles before Bush took over?

Then came Jan 2001 and Bush took office and the world fell apart. Iraq, the bastion of light and hope in the Middle East, suddenly had terrorists in their country. Prior to that, despite terrorists and terrorists organizations occupying every single Middle Eastern country had decided they would stay out of Iraq.

Then we had the first bombing of the WTC sometime after Bush was elected. Thinking it happened in 1993 is a Rovian plot. We were brainwashed by the right leaning media. That's why the terrorists that got away from that first attempt fled to Baghdad, because Bush had turned Iraq into a terrorist haven when it hadn't been before.

Then we had Khobar, the Cole, attempted killing of a former US Pres. You only think it happened before Bush was President but that's just propaganda. None of that really happened until after Bush was elected.

Everyone in the world just LOVED America and wanted to BE Americans until Bush was elected. We were WORSHIPPED AS GODS before Bush ruined it all and the phrase "ugly American tourist" was coined. Now that all hate us when they didn't before.

Bush is a facist who constantly tries to sue or get the broadcasting licenses pulled from anyone or any organization that does not march in goose-step to his agenda. He doesn't allow any criticism or deviance from the party line. If minority doesn't tow the line he puts out ads mocking his race or religion. He believes in the natural genetic superiority of his intellectualism. Other people of color, Southerners etc not from the NE or West Coast need his government to control their lives because they simply are not capable of taking care of themselves. He has imposed facist speech codes to dictate how you must communicate and woe to those who do not heed those rules. He has advocated laws based on the color of the skin and not on the content of the character--because he believes minorities are incapable of excelling and require those laws to make up for what he believes are their genetic inferiority.

Once, when a Senator who normaly votes for his platforms dared opposed him on one issue he financed a campaign against the man---and this man had been his VP candidate only a few years earlier! That's how facist he is--he tolerates no variance from his viewpoint.

It's not what they don't believe that's hard to understand. It's what you have to believe in order to get their world view that's hard to understand.

I kind of thought that it w... (Below threshold)

I kind of thought that it was common sense.
It really has hurt Bush, and I don't think he would have done it one purpose.
Just because certain Democrats ran away after we came up empty handed...pretending they never vehemently supported going into Iraq, doesn't change anything. The Democrats ever since have used this as a partisan artillery platform to continue to blast this administration.

Good politics, no integrity.

One thing that confuses me is that apparently in some people's minds the Bush administration is inept and couldn't pull off a lie about Iraq, but they managed the biggest coverup in history with 9-11.

Frank Rich is an ex ... (Below threshold)
Florence Schmieg:

Frank Rich is an ex theatre critic who has bamboozled the gullible into thinking his opinions on foreign policy mean something. My mailman has more credibility. He is also a day late and a dollar short with his book. This meme is so old now that his book will join the cast of thousands of Bush-bashing books out there to be enjoyed by the lefties and no one else. Move On.

Faith+1: Well done. ... (Below threshold)
Old Coot:

Faith+1: Well done.

Lori,The left does... (Below threshold)


The left doesn't need to answer this. Many on the right can tell you the answer even better.

"Powell’s then Chief of Staff Lawrence Wilkerson says that what he later found out shocked him: that much of Powell’s speech was false. "I participated in a hoax on the American people, the international community, and the United Nations Security Council," he says."

I challenge you and others to listen/ watch to the Feb 3 edition of NOW available here;


Click on the watch the video link. Its 22 minutes long and absolutely amazing.

Saddam possessed and *us... (Below threshold)

Saddam possessed and *used* chemical and/or biological WMD's. This is incontestable.

We supplied him with much of the technology and hardware. This is incontestable.

After Saddam used those WMDs, Bush I (with the glad help of Rumsfeld & Co.) increased the amount of support they were sending Saddam. This, too, is incontestable.

The question is, when you have used your WMDs, are they used or do they just naturally replenish themselves? The neocon answer is, "Yes. This is incontestable."

And the earth is only 7,000 years old; this too, is "incontestable." See, I listen to you guys. And I just learn so much.

Astifaga, do you not know t... (Below threshold)
Andrew Paterson:

Astifaga, do you not know that German firms was the main supplier of WMD material/ plant to Iraq in the 1980's? Just as the USSR was the main supplier of conventinal weaponary and France was the supplier of nuclear technology.

For some reason the myth that the US has at any stage had close relations with Saddam's Iraq has become 'fact'.

Brian and Astigafa,<p... (Below threshold)
Daring D:

Brian and Astigafa,

Where to begin? Is there a point in trying to penetrate minds so closed?

Scenario A: Bush lied about WMD knowing that after the war he would look like a chump. Democratic senators, the French, the UN, the Russians, also believed that Saddam had WMD because...? Saddam himself believed he had WMD because...?

Scenario B: Bush and everyone (including Saddam) were fooled by Saddam's cronies. They wanted everyone to think they had WMD because they wanted to be big shots and have everyone fear them. Also they wanted to avoid getting a bullet in the head courtesy of Saddam.

Scenario C: Saddam had the weapons, but spirited them away before they were found.

And the most plausible explanation would be....

marc,Bush's approv... (Below threshold)


Bush's approval ratings are at 100%...from the war profiteers in Iraq (i.e. Halliburton, Bechtel, Carlyle Group, etc--you know, the one's whose approval matters to them).

Daring D:Actually,... (Below threshold)

Daring D:

Actually, I don't believe any of your scenarios is correct.

I've read what I think is the most plausible scenario: He actually destroyed the vasy majority of the weapons after the Gulf War and because he was crazy and ruled by fear he couldn't ever admit it. There were probably some real old shells that weren't destroyed....those that have been found buried in the desert.

The intelligence was lousy and the disregard of the weapons inspections prior to the invasion was one of the causes of the disasterous invasion.

Hugh,I'll agree th... (Below threshold)


I'll agree that the intelligence may not have been perfectly operable...but you mark the invasion as disasterous.

I believe this is one of those times that history will sort out the facts. If Iraq blossoms into a safe country with a democratic government at some point, then will it still be disasterous that we invaded?

Don't you just love "hugie"... (Below threshold)

Don't you just love "hugie"s" amd "mun-go's" posts. It makes them look sooo "smart".

Heralder:Good ques... (Below threshold)


Good question. If what you say does happen I still believe it was disasterous for many reasons - mostly the cost (lives, dollars, support, impact).

And in my view trying to create a democratic government was not how the war was "sold" to the American public. One can extend that thesis to every corner of the globe and we would be at war for generations. I don't buy that reason.....not to say it is unreasonable on your part to believe in it.


You can count me as one who... (Below threshold)

You can count me as one who firmly believed, in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, our military would find caches of nuclear weapons. I also felt that I would never be fully convinced that those weapons were not "planted". When "W" admitted that no nuclear weapons were found and took his lumps from the left, right and the press, my opinion of him went up considerably. For his integrity, I admire him greatly and am now looking at other politicians with more scrutiny. I hope to someday find another of his moral standing. I am proud to have voted for him in 2004, and will probably write in his name in 2008.

Hugh:If w... (Below threshold)


If what you say does happen I still believe it was disasterous for many reasons - mostly the cost (lives, dollars, support, impact).

What is a safe and free country worth? Is it only worth trying for if no one has to spend anything or sacrifice their lives?

You're correct Hugh, a democratic Iraq was not what this war was sold on, but it became a priority after we got there and wiped out Saddam. It would have been foolish to invade, find no weapons...then turn around and leave. The vacuum of power needed to be filled and it's been a long and arduous process to do so in a way that wouldn't be counterproductive to all of the aformentioned costs put into going there.

A democratic and safe Iraq is worth it to all involved whether or not it's the reason we went.

I try to remain optimistic on the outcome.

I don't believe war should be waged to spread democracy. I do believe democracy can be a positive side effect of a war.

Astifaga said: "We supplied... (Below threshold)

Astifaga said: "We supplied him with much of the technology and hardware. This is incontestable."

That is very contestable. We did not supply him with MUCH of the technology and hardware. Not by a long shot. Did we supply Iraq with weapons and technology during the Iran-Iraq war? In that case the answer is yes. But overall, compared to all of the suppliers of weapons to Iraq we supplied less than 1% of the weapons obtained by Iraq between 1973 and 2002.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute the U.S. was 11th on the list of arms suppliers to Iraq between 1973 and 2002.

The top three suppliers were:

Rank: 1
Value of arms supplied: $25,145,000,000
Percentage of all arms supplied: 57%

Rank: 2
Value of arms supplied: $5,595,000,000
Percentage of all arms supplied: 13%

Rank: 3
Value of arms supplied: $5,192,000,000
Percentage of all arms supplied: 12%

Rank: 11
Value of arms supplied: $200,000,000
Percentage of all arms supplied: 1%

In my view this is a great example of Blame America First. Notice, the U.S. is singled out by Astifaga as the prime culprit for supplying Iraq with weapons. Yet the U.S. in reality was a minor player in supplying Iraq with arms. Nowhere, does Astifaga or others on the left condemn Russia for selling 125 times more weapons than the U.S.

Second, notice who the top three suppliers were, Russia, France and China. Who were the top three opponents in the U.N. to invading Iraq? Russia, France and China. Was that just a coincidence?

What three countries were had the most lucrative oil contracts with Iraq prior to the 2003 invasion? Answer, Russia, France and China. In fact, on March 18, 1997 Russia was given Most Favored Nation status by the Iraqis to receive oil exports.

Which countries supported completely lifting the U.N. Sanctions against Iraq in the late '90s? Coincidentally, Russia, France and China.

But as usual, to the Blame America First party, the U.S. is always to blame. The U.S. invaded for oil. The U.S. killed Iraqi children because of the U.N. Sanctions. The U.S. kills 100 Iraqis a day. Yadda Yadda Yadda.

By the way, what killed more Iraqis 10 years of sanctions or the war?

According the the U.N. 10 years of sanctions caused the deaths of 500,000 Iraqis which comes to 50,000 deaths/year. The U.N. now says that 100 Iraqis a day are dying because of the war. So 100 deaths/day * 365 days/year = 36,500 deaths/year. Seems to me that fewer people are dying now than under the U.N. Sanctions.

Hugh Said: "I've read what ... (Below threshold)

Hugh Said: "I've read what I think is the most plausible scenario: He actually destroyed the vasy majority of the weapons after the Gulf War and because he was crazy and ruled by fear he couldn't ever admit it. There were probably some real old shells that weren't destroyed....those that have been found buried in the desert.

The intelligence was lousy and the disregard of the weapons inspections prior to the invasion was one of the causes of the disasterous invasion."

Hugh I agree that Saddam wouldn't or couldn't admit to the world that he was disarmed. It gave him a high degree of power. But two things you disregard in your scenario.

First, you disregard the conclusion by the Iraq Survey Group that said "He wanted to end
sanctions while preserving the capability to reconstitute his weapons of mass destruction (WMD) when sanctions were lifted." How does that fit into your scenario? Does that diminish a possible threat that Saddam posed in the future?

Second, your scenario puts the onus on the U.S. for the "disasterous invasion" because of lousy intelligence and disregarding the inspections. Wait a minute, the onus was on Iraq to come clean. Yes the intel was lousy and inspections were disregarded, for a simple reason, Saddam was playing hide and seek games to fool the intel services, and doing everything he could to screw with the inspectors. See the Duelfer Report. In short, Saddam was doing everything he could to look guilty.

Here is a simple analogy, a bank robber sticks up a bank with a toy gun. Everyone believes the toy gun is real. A police officer shoots and kills the robber. Was the Police officer to blame for shooting an unarmed man? Or did the police officer act in good faith based on all of the information he had at the time, including the actions of the robber?

*Sigh.* Okay, here you go. ... (Below threshold)

*Sigh.* Okay, here you go.

You will, of course, deny all of this -- fault me for citing a Scottish newspaper, I suppose -- dig into the revisionist historian's bag of dirty tricks (Republican trademark, now), but here it is anyway:

How America armed Iraq

The Sunday Herald [Glasgow, Scotland]

June 14, 2004

Under the successive presidencies of Ronald Reagan and George Bush, the USA sold nuclear, chemical and biological weapons technology to Saddam Hussein.

In the early 1990s, UN inspectors told the US Senate committee on banking, housing and urban affairs -- which oversees American export policy -- that they had “identified many US-manufactured items exported pursuant of licenses issued by the US department of commerce that were used to further Iraq’s chemical and nuclear weapons development and missile delivery system development programs”.

In 1992, the committee began investigating “US chemical and biological warfare-related dual-use exports to Iraq”. It found that 17 individual shipments totaling some 80 batches of biomaterial were sent to Iraq during the Reagan years.

These included two batches of anthrax and two batches of botulism being sent to the Iraqi ministry of higher education on May 2, 1986; one batch each of salmonella and E.Coli sent to the Iraqi state company for drug industries on August 31, 1987.

Other shipments from the US went to the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission on July 11, 1988; the department of biology at the University of Basra in November 1989; the department of microbiology at Baghdad University in June 1985; the ministry of health in April 1985 and Officers’ City military complex in Baghdad in March and April 1986.

As well as anthrax and botulism, the USA also sent West Nile fever, brucella melitensis, which damages major organs, and clostridium perfringens, which causes gas gangrene. The shipments even went on after Saddam ordered the gassing of the Kurdish town of Halabja, in which some 5000 people died, in March 1988.

The chairman of the Senate committee, Don Riegle, said: “The executive branch of our government approved 771 different export licenses for sale of dual-use technology to Iraq. I think it’s a devastating record.”

Other items which were sent by the US to Iraq included chemical warfare agent precursors, chemical warfare agent production facility plans and technical drawings, chemical warfare filling equipment, biological warfare-related materials, missile fabrication equipment and missile system guidance equipment.

Published by
The Sunday Herald
[Glasgow, Scotland]

In short, you're going to make it up as you go, but the *world,* you silly people, will not change the story to suite the neoconservative reich.

astifaga, for the second ti... (Below threshold)
Andrew Paterson:

astifaga, for the second time I have to make the point that GERMANY was the principle supplier of biological and chemical precursers and plant material to Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

(with citations)

"As part of Project 922, German firms such as Karl Kobe helped build Iraqi chemical weapons facilities such as laboratories, bunkers, an administrative building, and first production buildings in the early 1980s under the cover of a pesticide plant. Other German firms sent 1,027 tons of precursors of mustard gas, sarin, tabun, and tear gasses in all. This work allowed Iraq to produce 150 tons of mustard agent and 60 tons of Tabun in 1983 and 1984 respectively, continuing throughout the decade. Five other German firms supplied equipment to manfacture botulin toxin and mycotoxin for germ warfare. In 1988, German engineers presented centrifugedata that helped Iraq expand its nuclear weapons program. Laboratory equipment and other information was provided, involving many German engineers. All told, 52% of Iraq's international chemical weapon equipment was of German origin. The State Establishment for Pesticide Production (SEPP) ordered culture media and incubators from Germany's Water Engineering Trading.[8]"

For the record I'm a non partisan Brit, who is constantly amused at some American's efforts to place themselves at the centre of everything. Sorry but in terms of arming Iraq, our good neighbours France, Germany and Russia left you in the shade.

I wonder at times who teach... (Below threshold)

I wonder at times who teaches morality to you conservatives. I mean here we have Eric and Andrew Patterson, proclaiming, "Hey, not only did Ronald Reagan sell weapons to Saddam, but other countries did so too!!"

As if two wrongs make a right.

Holy cow, I stipulated that... (Below threshold)

Holy cow, I stipulated that the U.S. sold Iraq weapons. I didn't deny it. The report I linked to showed it. And Herman I AM NOT JUSTIFYING IT! I thought we were wrong to support Saddam in the 1980's then and I haven't changed my opinion about it now.

However, what I did was to put it into the context that compared to other countries the U.S. sold a fraction of the total weapons obtained by Iraq, Astifaga said we sold them MUCH of the weapons, implying that the U.S. sold them MOST of the weapons.

My point is that the left immediately criticises the U.S. for all problems.

Again why is your criticism directed solely at the U.S. when other countries sold many times more weapons to Iraq than the U.S.?

Herman and Astifaga if you have a problem with the U.S. selling Iraq $200 Million worth of weapons what is your feeling about Russia selling them $25 Billion worth of weapons?

Two wrongs don't make a right Herman. But implying that the U.S. was Iraq's principle supplier of weapons is disingenuous.

I wonder at times who te... (Below threshold)

I wonder at times who teaches morality to you conservatives. I mean here we have Eric and Andrew Patterson, proclaiming, "Hey, not only did Ronald Reagan sell weapons to Saddam, but other countries did so too!!"

Supplying chemical and biological weapons, as well as nuclear equipment and components was a tragic mistake that few industrialized nations are exempt from. Yes we sent them biological agents which were used to make weapons, and computers which were used in the nuclear program. But Iraq at the time was an ally, a secular state, and professed to be using much of what it bought for non-military purposes. It was naive, of course, of us and other nations to sell them these things and expect Hussein wouldn't use them for nefarious purposes, especially after the Iraq-Iran war. But the idea that we alone created the WMD mess in Iraq is absurd.

If you want to get upset about the US supporting the bad guys, our support of the mujahadeen and bin Laden in Afghanistan came back to bite us much worse than support for Iraq (but served its purpose in wearing down the Soviets). Plus, while we legally supported Iraq in their war against Iran, we also illegally supported Iran with weapons in their fight against Iraq (in order to get back hostages, which, incidentally, didn't work). Supporting both sides in a war, especially when one side is your avowed enemy, is fucked up.

Anyway the US has supported all manner of nasty characters in the past, some rightly, some wrongly. There is no need to distort the record. If we hadn't given biological agents to Hussein, he still would have been just as dangerous.

Thank you!... (Below threshold)

Thank you!

Thank you!... (Below threshold)

Thank you!






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