State of Denial - Bob Woodward

  • #1
Ivan Seeking
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...The White House ignored an urgent warning in September 2003 from a top Iraq adviser who said that thousands of additional American troops were desperately needed to quell the insurgency there, according to a new book by Bob Woodward, the Washington Post reporter and author. The book describes a White House riven by dysfunction and division over the war.

"The book says President Bush’s top advisers were often at odds among themselves, and sometimes were barely on speaking terms, but shared a tendency to dismiss as too pessimistic assessments from American commanders and others about the situation in Iraq.

"As late as November 2003, Mr. Bush is quoted as saying of the situation in Iraq: 'I don’t want anyone in the cabinet to say it is an insurgency. I don’t think we are there yet.'

"...and so hostile toward Condoleezza Rice, then the national security adviser, that President Bush had to tell him [Rummy] to return her phone calls.

...The American commander for the Middle East, Gen. John P. Abizaid, is reported to have told visitors to his headquarters in Qatar in the fall of 2005 that 'Rumsfeld doesn’t have any credibility anymore' to make a public case for the American strategy for victory in Iraq."
[continued]
http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003188619 [Broken]

A White House driven by dysfunction? Is there any new information?

I love Bob Woodward.
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
Astronuc
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Bush Whitehouse - like any dysfunctional family. :rolleyes:

Bush chief of staff urged Rumsfeld be fired
By David Alexander
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush's former chief of staff tried twice to persuade Bush to fire Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld but failed, according to a new book by investigative reporter Bob Woodward.

The book describes a White House divided by infighting over how to handle the unexpectedly tough Iraqi insurgency. It claims Bush resisted demands to increase the number of U.S. troops and is misleading Americans about the level of violence in Iraq, according to news accounts of "State of Denial."

Woodward wrote that White House chief of staff Andrew Card urged Bush to replace Rumsfeld with former Secretary of State James Baker following the 2004 election, The Washington Post reported on its Web site.

Bush decided not to do so after Vice President Dick Cheney and political adviser Karl Rove convinced him it would be seen as an expression of doubt about the direction of the war and expose him to criticism, according to the book.

Card, with the backing of first lady Laura Bush, tried a second time to persuade Bush to fire Rumsfeld around Thanksgiving 2005, the book says. But the president again refused to act.
 
  • #3
Ivan Seeking
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David Brooks said:
...And I think what we're learning from the book, which I had had glimmers of and all of us covered had glimmers, that a lot of the people in the administration understood the cataclysm that was in front of them. And they were complaining about it, maybe not as vociferously as they would, but they had a grip on reality.

And that grip on reality occasionally made it into the Oval Office, and yet nothing was done. And the question is: Why was nothing done? And I have two beliefs.

One, the president likes Rumsfeld because he's a tough guy, and he likes tough guys. And, second, politically, every single day, they asked a question day-by-day, "Would today be a good day to get rid of Donald Rumsfeld?" And no specific day was the good day, because it would have created a storm.

But they never stepped back and said, "Overall, what's the big problem here?" And they're going to live with that decision. [continued]
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/politics/july-dec06/sb_09-29.html [Broken]
 
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  • #4
Astronuc
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White House Steps Up Rhetoric, Denies Charges
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6168132

All Things Considered, September 29, 2006 · The White House is ramping up the rhetoric against its opponents. President Bush says his Iraq war critics are buying into what he calls "the enemy's propaganda."
Um, no! People have stopped accepting the propaganda and are starting to be more critical of the Bush regime.
The president says those critics somehow think America's "provoking" terrorists by fighting them in Iraq. But he says Iraq's not their real motivation -- they just "hate everything America stands for."
It should be quite obvious at this point that Bush has no grasp on reality.
President Bush's speech to military officers Friday included his latest blasts at critics following the leak of the National Intelligence Estimate. Democrats seized on the document's finding that Iraq is helping recruit Islamic extremists worldwide.

Thursday, at a GOP fund-raiser, Bush accused Democrats of doing nothing but complaining and obstructing. He said the Democrats have become the "party of cut and run." [More empty rhetoric!]

But at the same time, the White House was bracing for an onslaught of questions about the new Bob Woodward book, State of Denial.

The book is the third on the Bush presidency by the legendary Washington Post reporter. The first two books were seen as friendly to the president, even admiring. And they were welcomed by the White House.

This one is neither.

At more than 537 pages, the book depicts a Bush White House that has known the war in Iraq is getting worse, not better. It accuses the administration of trying to disguise a rise in attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq.

When Press Secretary Tony Snow began his Friday briefing, the questions about Woodward's book came right away.

Snow responded by offering a critique.

"You know, in a lot of ways, the book's sort of like cotton candy," he said. "It kind of melts on contact."

"We've read this book before," Snow said. "This tends to repeat what we've seen in a number of other books that have been out this year, where people are ventilating old disputes over troop levels."

Snow then said it's wrong to say that President Bush views the war through rose colored glasses. [Of course not. Bush is blind!]

Snow accused those who talked to Woodward of being in essence disgruntled employees -- people who had lost arguments within the administration and were getting their own side of the story out.

But it was also pointed out to the Press Secretary that the White House did not question the accuracy of Woodward's first two books about the administration.

"Are you saying this because you're on the losing side of the argument now," asked Martha Raddatz of ABC News. "Because you're on the losing side of the argument as to why you're defensive as to what's in that book."

"Attacks on our troops are up," Snow said. "That's no secret."

"Are you in a state of denial," Raddatz asked, "do the american public have a sense of what's going on there?"

"I think the American public have a pretty good sense," Snow replied.
I think more people are aware of the damage Bush has done to the US.
 
  • #5
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Watch the second half.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7292279546899698502&q=bob+wright [Broken]
 
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  • #7
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Yuck, e-gads, why does wallace make facial expressions like hes taking a crap in his geezer pants. Those must be big adult diapers hes wearing.

P.S. You're Kizinger iz very good, ya?
 
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  • #8
Ivan Seeking
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This is interesting.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 1 — Members of the Sept. 11 commission said Sunday they were alarmed that they were told nothing about a July 2001 White House meeting at which George J. Tenet, then director of central intelligence, is reported to have warned Condoleezza Rice, then national security adviser, about an imminent attack by Al Qaeda and failed to persuade her to take action.[continued]
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/02/washington/02woodward.html?_r=1&oref=slogin
 
  • #9
Skyhunter
So that explains why Condi called the Aug 7, PDB OBL determined to strike in the US, "historical", she had already heard about it weeks before.:rolleyes:
 
  • #10
Amp1
Its incredible that people who bear such tremendous responsibility should not recollect blunders in judgement that they made while pursuing secretive plans, plans(I assert ,tentatively, as obviously there must have been something of more import to the admin at the time.) that distracted from the primary focus of the job of the NSA.
 
  • #11
Ivan Seeking
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Has anyone else noticed all of the non-denial denials?

Ah, just like the good ole days. :biggrin:
 
  • #12
Astronuc
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A lot of people involved in the current White House (e.g. Cheney) have ties to the Nixon Whitehouse. Maybe they just thought they would pick up where they left off. :rolleyes:
Dick Cheney's political career began in 1969, during the Nixon administration. He held a number of positions in the years that followed: special assistant to the Director of the OEO, White House staff assistant, assistant director of the Cost of Living Council, and Deputy Assistant to the President. Under President Gerald Ford, Cheney became Assistant to the President and then the youngest White House Chief of Staff in history. Many have pointed to this time as the point where both he and Donald Rumsfeld began consolidating political power.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dick_Cheney#Early_White_House_appointments
 
  • #15
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http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4789533322439838380 [Broken]
 
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  • #16
Astronuc
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cyrusabdollahi said:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4789533322439838380 [Broken]
Interesting comments by Woodward. He comments that Bush is an optimist [which is not based on reality], i.e. Bush is delusional. :rolleyes:

Bush and Rumsfeld make the statements that the terrorists are on the run, but the reality is the attacks against US troops, the Iraqi government, and Iraqi civilians is increasing.

Apparently Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld cannot accept that they are wrong - they can't accept that they have failed - despite the evidence that they have. The US will pay a very high price for this failure - especially if Bush is allowed to continue down the path of failure. Bush is absolutely the wrong person to lead the US - he has demonstrated that he is unworthy of the privilege (based on his dishonesty and deceit) and incapable of the responsibility.

and

Return of the Taliban

Nearly five years after the Taliban were toppled, al Qaida and the Taliban continue to use Pakistan as a defacto base, virtually unchanlleged and far out of America's reach.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/taliban/

This is very disturbing. Pakistan has made a deal with Taliban who in turn supports al Qaida! Taliban and al Qaida are safe and sound and growing in the tribal areas of Pakistan.

So why is the US floundering in Iraq while al Qaida and Taliban are growing stronger elsewhere? Pakistan, Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Egypt?, Sudan?, Libya?, Tunisia?, Algeria?, Morocco?, Indonesia?, . . . .

The people who funded al Qaida's attack on the US are still out there - somewhere - and its not in Iraq.

Interviews -

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/taliban/interviews/coll.html

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/taliban/interviews/crocker.html

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/taliban/interviews/rubin.html

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/taliban/interviews/saleh.html

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/taliban/interviews/tomsen.html

Tomsen served as President George H.W. Bush's special envoy and ambassador to the Afghan resistance from 1989 to 1992. Here he lays out the historical background of the Taliban's rise to power and its relationship with Pakistani intelligence, known by its acronym ISI. He also explains the two fears driving Pakistan's Afghanistan policy -- India and Pashtun nationalism. Tomsen believes the ISI knows exactly where Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawarhiri are hiding, and that Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf is not fully cooperating with the U.S.
. . .
Why did they bet on extremists to take over Afghanistan? Why the bet on the Taliban rather than a bet, say, on some other warlord -- a Pashtun, like an [Afghan resistance commander] Abdul Haq, for instance?
There were two reasons. One was … the ISI and the Pakistanis wanted to emphasize the Islamist Afghan side over the nationalist Afghan side, secular tribal leaders in Afghanistan that had come out of the ruling establishment that was running the country for the previous 300 years, … because the nationalist side, the secular side, had always stressed the need to recapture Afghanistan as it existed in the last part of the 18th century and part of the 19th century, which included the Pashtun areas of Pakistan.

The tribal areas?
And Pakistan had lost Bangladesh -- one wing of the country -- in 1971. They were very worried that if this impulse returned in Kabul, and especially if it linked up with the Indian government, they would be caught in a squeeze by which the Afghans would be pushing to pursue a reclamation or --

Yeah. So they were afraid of Pashtun nationalism?
Yeah.

So Pakistan supported fundamentalist elements in the tribal areas in hopes of having sympathetic authorities in Afghanistan. This however seems to be a recipe for instability - especially with Taliban and al Qaida flourishing in the tribal areas along the Pakistan/Afghanistan border.
 
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  • #17
Astronuc
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http://elections.us.reuters.com/states/tx/news/usnN30282660.html Reuters Election 2006

Sept 30 (Reuters) - A book by U.S. journalist Bob Woodward, "State of Denial," went on sale on Saturday. Following are some key points it makes about President George W. Bush, his administration and the war in Iraq.

* Woodward, who helped uncover the Watergate scandal in the 1970s, said the administration was concealing the level of violence against U.S. troops in Iraq. He wrote that while Bush spoke publicly of progress in Iraq, a secret intelligence assessment in May 2006 showed that insurgents in Iraq were on the rise.

Bush was determined to keep U.S. troops in Iraq even "if Laura and Barney are the only ones who support me," Woodward quoted Bush as saying in 2005, referring to his wife and their Scottish terrier.

* Former White House chief of staff Andrew Card at least twice sought to persuade Bush to fire Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld but failed. He even discussed the issue with first lady Laura Bush in late 2005.

Woodward wrote that after the 2004 election, Card urged Bush to replace Rumsfeld with former Secretary of State James Baker. Bush decided not to do so after Vice President Dick Cheney and adviser Karl Rove convinced him it would be seen as an expression of doubt about the direction of the war and expose him to criticism.

* Bush made Rumsfeld secretary of defense in part to prove his father -- former president George Bush -- wrong, Woodward wrote.

"Rumsfeld and Bush's father, the former president, couldn't stand each other," the book says. "Bush senior thought Rumsfeld was arrogant, self important, too sure of himself and Machiavellian.

"It was a chance to prove his father wrong" but Bush "wondered privately to Card about pitfalls, if there was something he didn't see here."

* Woodward wrote that on July 10, 2001, former CIA Director George Tenet and his counterterrorism chief, Cofer Black, asked for a special meeting with then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice to discuss their concerns about Osama bin Laden and a possible al Qaeda attack.

He said Tenet and Black had two main points to tell Rice -- that al Qaeda was going to attack American interests, possibly in the United States, and that this was a major foreign policy problem that needed to be addressed immediately.

"They both felt they were not getting through to Rice. She was polite, but they felt the brush-off."

* Former Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar bin Sultan was asked by Bush's father to talk to his son in late 1997. Bandar went to Austin and met with the then Texas governor who told him he was thinking about running for president, but said "I don't have the foggiest idea about what I think about international, foreign policy."

Bandar then gave him a tutorial.

* The White House has issued "Five Key Myths in Bob Woodward's Book," disputing, among other things, the idea that Bush was not leveling with Americans about Iraq. It cited speeches over the last year in which Bush acknowledged problems. The release also said Laura Bush's office has denied she pushed for Rumsfeld's ouster.

But apparently Card has confirmed Woodward's comments, and it appears that the "Five Key Myths" issued by the Whitehouse are indeed untrue.
 
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  • #18
Astronuc
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Paul Krugman wrote this back in July of this year. Entitled, "The Price of Fantasy", it would be more appropriate "The High Price of Bush's Fantasies/Delusions". The full article must be purchased from NY Times

Today we call them neoconservatives, but when the first George Bush was president, those who believed that America could remake the world to its liking with a series of splendid little wars — people like Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld — were known within the administration as “the crazies.” Grown-ups in both parties rejected their vision as a dangerous fantasy.

But in 2000 the Supreme Court delivered the White House to a man who, although he may be 60, doesn’t act like a grown-up. The second President Bush obviously confuses swagger with strength, and prefers tough talkers like the crazies to people who actually think things through. He got the chance to implement the crazies’ vision after 9/11, which created a climate in which few people in Congress or the news media dared to ask hard questions. And the result is the bloody mess we’re now in.

This isn’t a case of 20-20 hindsight. It was clear from the beginning that the United States didn’t have remotely enough troops to carry out the crazies’ agenda — and Mr. Bush never asked for a bigger army.

As I wrote back in January 2003, this meant that the “Bush doctrine” of preventive war was, in practice, a plan to “talk trash and carry a small stick.” It was obvious even then that the administration was preparing to invade Iraq not because it posed a real threat, but because it looked like a soft target.

The message to North Korea, which really did have an active nuclear program, was clear: “The Bush administration,” I wrote, putting myself in Kim Jong Il’s shoes, “says you’re evil. It won’t offer you aid, even if you cancel your nuclear program, because that would be rewarding evil. It won’t even promise not to attack you, because it believes it has a mission to destroy evil regimes, whether or not they actually pose any threat to the U.S. But for all its belligerence, the Bush administration seems willing to confront only regimes that are militarily weak.” So “the best self-preservation strategy ... is to be dangerous.”

With a few modifications, the same logic applies to Iran. And it’s easier than ever for Iran to be dangerous, now that U.S. forces are bogged down in Iraq.

Would the current crisis on the Israel-Lebanon border have happened even if the Bush administration had actually concentrated on fighting terrorism, rather than using 9/11 as an excuse to pursue the crazies’ agenda? Nobody knows. But it’s clear that the United States would have more options, more ability to influence the situation, if Mr. Bush hadn’t squandered both the nation’s credibility and its military might on his war of choice.

So what happens next?

Few if any of the crazies have the moral courage to admit that they were wrong. Vice President Cheney continues to insist that his two most famous pronouncements about Iraq — his declaration before the invasion that we would be “greeted as liberators” and his assertion a year ago that the insurgency was in its “last throes” — were “basically accurate.”

But if the premise of the Bush doctrine was right, why are things going so badly?

. . . .

The crazies respond by retreating even further into their fantasies of omnipotence. The only problem, they assert, is a lack of will.

For years the self-proclaimed “war president” basked in the adulation of the crazies. Now they’re accusing him of being a wimp. “We have been too weak,” writes Mr. Kristol, “and have allowed ourselves to be perceived as weak.”

Does Mr. Bush have the maturity to stand up to this kind of pressure? I report, you decide.
Of course not. :rolleyes:
 
  • #19
Skyhunter
* Former Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar bin Sultan was asked by Bush's father to talk to his son in late 1997. Bandar went to Austin and met with the then Texas governor who told him he was thinking about running for president, but said "I don't have the foggiest idea about what I think about international, foreign policy."

Bandar then gave him a tutorial.

The frightening thing about this is that here is the appearance of collusion with Saudi Arabia, in developing American foreign policy.

Let's go to the White House on September 13 2001. Just 48 hours after 9/11, the toxic rubble at the World Trade Centre site was still ablaze. The estimated death count, later lowered significantly, was thought to be as high as 40,000.

On that afternoon, Bandar met on the Truman balcony with President Bush and the two men lit up Cohiba cigars. At the time, the White House knew that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis. It knew that Osama bin Laden was Saudi. And, as the 9/11 commission concluded, it knew that Saudi Arabia was "the primary source of money for al-Qaida", which was largely funded by wealthy Saudis via Islamist charities.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1302097,00.html

Was this part of the plan? Let OBL attack the US and use it as justification to implement the PNAC strategy? What did they talk about on that balcony?

Were they celebrating the scope of the attack, knowing that now Congress, the American people, and indeed the world would support whatever response they decided was appropriate?

It is no wonder that people believe that Bush deliberately let the WTC and Pentagon be attacked so that he could implement a foreign policy developed in collusion with the Saudi royal family.

There was a time that I would dismiss such musings as ridiculous. That time is past for me, I believe these men capable of anything.
 
  • #20
Astronuc
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From the Guardian article -
A month later, on September 11, when he was told that the terrorists had attacked, Bush spent the next seven minutes reading a children's book, The Pet Goat, with a group of schoolchildren.
I saw the expression on his face - he didn't want to believe it. Bush was so focussed (fixated) on getting Saddam, he ignored al Qaida - despite warnings from NSA and CIA. Then he wanted the intelligence community to 'establish' (fabricate) a link between Saddam and al Qaida. The complication here is that - al Qaida was enemy of Saddam. And al Qaida is enemy of House of Saud. Actually it's more complicated than that as the future will show.

Saddam was a threat to Saudi Arabia - but bin Laden and al Zawahiri were and still are bigger threats (unless the funding is a payoff on behalf of Saudi Arabia). The bigger threat could have and should have been dealt with - but it wasn't.

Now the problem has become enormously more complex and spread over a much larger geographic region.
 
  • #21
Astronuc
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An interesting complement to Woodward's "State of Denial" is Scott Ritter's "Target Iran".

It begins with a surreal exchange between Phillip Reeker, Deputy Press Spokesman, and a reporter at a briefiing. Apparently a group, Mujahedin el-Khalq (MEK), which is listed as a terrorist organization by the US government (due to the fact that they had killed some Americans in Iran and hundreds of Kurds after Desert Storm), operates freely in the US and has ties to various politically conservative groups.

Now this group was involved with assault on the US embassy in Tehran in 1979, but subsequently had a falling out with the theocrats in Tehran. MEK operated training camps in Iraq under the auspices of the Mukhabarat, Saddam Hussein's security organization.

If the information is correct, one has to wonder why such an organization has offices in the US and receives funding from the conservative establishment. Does MEK fit into the plans of the Bush administration for a regime change in Iran?
 
  • #22
turbo
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Here is a link to an old article in "Common Dreams" purporting that Iran would turn over 3 top Al Qaida members and some other suspected terrorist leaders if the US would agree to disband the MEK. One has to wonder how important stopping Al Quaida is to the Bush administration if they did not want to make that trade.

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/0808-04.htm [Broken]
 
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  • #23
Astronuc
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I wonder if Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld will feel pressure/urgency to go to war in Iran or N Korea before he leaves office.

I wonder if they plan on doing this after they leave office. I mean they and their friends have thousands of mercenaries out there who will be looking for something to do, and . . . .
 
  • #24
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Consider the Source
The State Department says MEK is a terror group. Human Rights Watch says it’s a cult. For the White House, MEK is a source of intelligence on Iran.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7902719/site/newsweek/ [Broken]

Why would we believe any information MEK gives us about Iran? The Administration is either looking for another smoking gun in the ME, or Condi Rice wants another smoking gun for Christmas. :rolleyes:

MEK is another totally bizzare Middle eastern group according to the links I have read.
 
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  • #25
Skyhunter
Astronuc said:
I wonder if Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld will feel pressure/urgency to go to war in Iran or N Korea before he leaves office.

I wonder if they plan on doing this after they leave office. I mean they and their friends have thousands of mercenaries out there who will be looking for something to do, and . . . .
The http://www.thenation.com/doc/20061009/lindorff [Broken]should be in the Persian Gulf about a week before the US mid-term election.
 
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