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Author Topic: Those who fail to learn from history...
The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted September 15, 2006 23:05      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
... are doomed to repeat it.

Interesting article in The Guardian
quote:
From TFA
The most senior US marine commander in Iraq has been forced to downplay a secret intelligence report which asserted that the United States had "lost" Anbar province, the main heartland of Sunni resistance to the American occupation...

...The report, parts of which were leaked to the US media at the weekend, painted a dramatic picture of a collapse in US military control...

...The report was written by Colonel Pete Devlin, the marine corps' chief of intelligence...

...The leaked US intelligence report said US troops in Anbar were unable to extend security beyond their bases and that the Iraqi government had no functioning institutions in the province, according to the Washington Post. The US strategy of "clearing and holding" major cities in the Euphrates valley had failed, leaving the insurgency group al-Qaida in Iraq as the most significant political force there.

Then there's this encouraging bit of news. Digging a defensive ditch around a city of nearly 6 million people just isn't the kind of thing "winners" do.

All of this sounds depressingly familiar, an occupying army huddled in their bases, peering out at the rest of the country over the razor-wire they've surrounded themselves with, where have I heard that before? Ah yes, Afghanistan in the 80's. The place where Osama bin Laden learned his trade.

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If you watch 'The History Of NASA' backwards, it's about a space agency that has no manned spaceflight capability, then does low-orbit flights, then lands on the Moon.

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TheMoMan
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Icon 1 posted September 16, 2006 17:38      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
TFD______________________Maybe just maybe UBL read about how things went in Vietnam, and Korea.

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If it don't glow it ain't Ham Radio

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Callipygous
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Icon 1 posted September 18, 2006 03:27      Profile for Callipygous     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Learning from history is only possible if both sides of the political argument have a minimal respect for facts. The religious right and the neoconservative followers of Leo Strauss, for diametrically opposite reasons both believe faith, to be not just more important than history, but the only way to break free from it to establish a new and better world order. This notion very easily leads to a state of mind where the end justifies the means, and truth or facts can be bent to serve this greater purpose. During the 2004 presidential campaign the highly impressive way the right used the ability of the net to spread rumour and misinformation from one or two sites such as wintersoldier and jihadwatch through a network of blogs, right wing political forums and talk radio was quite astounding. I suspect that it was organised and planned rather than accidental and organic, as most of what they termed the "blogosphere" seemed to disappear shortly afterwards. Nevertheless it was extremely effective, as I remember more than one poster on this forum arguing that the military were on the point of complete victory in Vietnam, but were undermined by the drip drip drip of negative propaganda from the liberal media consensus at home, a quite astonishing claim for anyone with any memory of the actual events, or indeed of the reporting of that war, which even over here was divided, but on the whole fundamentally supportive of the war until very late on.

You also cannot learn from history, if the story you tell yourself is a partial one designed mainly to boost national morale. The Straussians on the other hand believe that there are Platonic "noble lies" that a society must tell itself to give it purpose and cohesion. The one they think most important is the myth of America's unique destiny as protector and propagator of freedom and democracy in the world. While this idea is not one confined to this administration, or even the Republican party, it is undeniable that it is hammered home much more often now. A small degree of historical perspective reveals it as simply the classic myth of empire, which when my country had one, we told ourselves too. Then of course God was an Englishman, and he had bequeathed on quarter of the globe to us that we too could spread our unique and divinely given gift for civilisation and democracy. It was nonsense then as it is now, and the consequences were the same as with yourselves, we trampled over people with blind arrogance and little cultural sensitivity (then it was called "going native"), building up a legacy of resentment and dislike that still lingers in some parts of the world many years after the end of empire. It is a shame however that you cannot learn from our experience. You aren't here to spread democracy and as the guardian of liberty in the world. Your only foreign policy motives should be (hopefully enlightened) self interest. Everything else is bullshit.

There is one area where I sincerely hope that you are doomed to relive your history. Some 230 odd years ago America was ruled by a madman named George, who had inherited the job from his father, another George. You decided that you did not like this. You were revolting then, and much of the world thinks you still are! [Wink] So come November and the midterm elections, I urge all Americans to respect their traditions, and remember the spirit of 1776!

P.S. Sadly I cannot claim the jokes in the last paragraph as my own work, they were lifted more or less directly from Andy Hamilton's radio comedy series "Revolting People".

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"Knowledge is Power. France is Bacon" - Milton

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Sxeptomaniac

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Icon 1 posted September 18, 2006 13:01      Profile for Sxeptomaniac   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Callipygous:
During the 2004 presidential campaign the highly impressive way the right used the ability of the net to spread rumour and misinformation from one or two sites such as wintersoldier and jihadwatch through a network of blogs, right wing political forums and talk radio was quite astounding. I suspect that it was organised and planned rather than accidental and organic, as most of what they termed the "blogosphere" seemed to disappear shortly afterwards.

Actually, those kinds of things may work on people who are already tend towards the far right, but they aren't very effective in convincing the larger share of voters. A person doesn't listen to right-wing propoganda unless they are already right-wing themselves.

I believe that the left made two major mistakes that cost them the 2004 election. The first was in putting forth a candidate that came across as somewhat indecisive regarding the single largest issue: Iraq. The second was in not being more selective regarding their criticisms of Bush. Quite a few of the criticisms were petty, contradictory, dubious or pure ad hominem, and only served to drown out the more legitimate concerns. So, if the left wants to do better in the mid-terms, as well as the next election, they need to focus less on what the current administration has done wrong and more on what they will do to make things better.

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Let's pray that the human race never escapes from Earth to spread its iniquity elsewhere. - C. S. Lewis

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Callipygous
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Icon 1 posted September 18, 2006 15:07      Profile for Callipygous     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
So, if the left wants to do better in the mid-terms, as well as the next election, they need to focus less on what the current administration has done wrong and more on what they will do to make things better.
like not making a complete cock up of all the functions of government perhaps? [Wink] In the general run of things governments lose elections, rather than the opposition winning them and I sincerely hope that even the truest of true believers in your cause must be beginning to recognise the current administration for the incompetent rascals that they are.

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"Knowledge is Power. France is Bacon" - Milton

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted September 18, 2006 15:19      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Sxeptomaniac:
Actually, those kinds of things may work on people who are already tend towards the far right, but they aren't very effective in convincing the larger share of voters. A person doesn't listen to right-wing propoganda unless they are already right-wing themselves.

I believe the 'swift boats' fiasco disproves that statement.
A president whose own military career is - shall we say - less than stellar, finds himself running against a decorated war veteran, at a time when national security is a major issue, so he whips up a mud slinging campaign to discredit his opponents record. If you throw enough mud, some sticks, even when the official records show these people were nowhere near John Kerry at the time they claim to have witnessed certain events.

The second was in not being more selective regarding their criticisms of Bush. Quite a few of the criticisms were petty, contradictory, dubious or pure ad hominem, and only served to drown out the more legitimate concerns. So, if the left wants to do better in the mid-terms, as well as the next election, they need to focus less on what the current administration has done wrong and more on what they will do to make things better.

Of course, the right would never dream of running a campaign based on - for example - what a certain whitehouse intern had in her mouth.

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If you watch 'The History Of NASA' backwards, it's about a space agency that has no manned spaceflight capability, then does low-orbit flights, then lands on the Moon.

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted September 18, 2006 15:49      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Callipygous:
Learning from history is only possible if both sides of the political argument have a minimal respect for facts.

An article in the NY Times on Why The Rich Go Broke has another less sinister explanation for why the current regime in Washington is so blind to the facts...
quote:
From TFA:
“The rich are different from you and me: they are more egotistical,” says Theodore R. Aronson, managing principal of Aronson Johnson Ortiz, an investment firm in Philadelphia. “Psychologically, I think the rich, because of their egos, think they know everything.”

...

“People who are very successful develop elevated sensibilities about their skills, and when things turn on them they won’t admit they’re wrong because their self-confidence has held them up so long,” says Arnold S. Wood, chief executive of Martingale Asset Management in Boston. “In the face of evidence, even subjective evidence, that suggests that something bad is about to happen to someone, a funny thing happens: They reject the evidence.



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If you watch 'The History Of NASA' backwards, it's about a space agency that has no manned spaceflight capability, then does low-orbit flights, then lands on the Moon.

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Colonel Panic
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Icon 3 posted September 18, 2006 19:10      Profile for Colonel Panic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Interesting.

I don't believe that this war is being waged by those in charge in order to win it. Rather, it is being waged as a distraction away from the transferance of wealth from the middle class -- and of course, from Iraq.

When my nephew returned he told us how his unit was reassinged to take gold and US currency from Iraqi banks and load it onto boats, which were under the direction of a company well known to Vice-President Dick Cheney.

This money has been lost, and cannot be accounted for.

I posted the other day of the immense degree of cronyism being excercised in the rebuilding of Iraq (no different than New Orleans for that matter, or the rebuilding of the Twin Towers, while we're at it).

The wealthy aren't suffering from this war; they're profiting from it. So why should they care?

CP

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Free! Free at last!

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GMx

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Icon 1 posted September 18, 2006 19:27      Profile for GMx     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by The Famous Druid:
quote:
Originally posted by Callipygous:
Learning from history is only possible if both sides of the political argument have a minimal respect for facts.

An article in the NY Times on Why The Rich Go Broke has another less sinister explanation for why the current regime in Washington is so blind to the facts...
quote:
From TFA:
“The rich are different from you and me: they are more egotistical,” says Theodore R. Aronson, managing principal of Aronson Johnson Ortiz, an investment firm in Philadelphia. “Psychologically, I think the rich, because of their egos, think they know everything.”

...

“People who are very successful develop elevated sensibilities about their skills, and when things turn on them they won’t admit they’re wrong because their self-confidence has held them up so long,” says Arnold S. Wood, chief executive of Martingale Asset Management in Boston. “In the face of evidence, even subjective evidence, that suggests that something bad is about to happen to someone, a funny thing happens: They reject the evidence.


Or as Bevis once said, Heh,heh, rich people are stupid."
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Sxeptomaniac

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Icon 1 posted September 18, 2006 21:37      Profile for Sxeptomaniac   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Callipygous:
In the general run of things governments lose elections, rather than the opposition winning them and I sincerely hope that even the truest of true believers in your cause must be beginning to recognise the current administration for the incompetent rascals that they are.

Wait... remind me what my cause is again, and who are all these other people who share it, because I sure haven't had much luck in finding them so far.

quote:
Originally posted by The Famous Druid:
quote:
The second was in not being more selective regarding their criticisms of Bush. Quite a few of the criticisms were petty, contradictory, dubious or pure ad hominem, and only served to drown out the more legitimate concerns. So, if the left wants to do better in the mid-terms, as well as the next election, they need to focus less on what the current administration has done wrong and more on what they will do to make things better.
Of course, the right would never dream of running a campaign based on - for example - what a certain whitehouse intern had in her mouth.
Right. Speaking of learning from history, how did that work out? Clinton looked bad for a short while, but ultimately the impeachement looked worse for the Republicans involved, such as Newt Gingrich

You think I'm criticizing the left's tactics because I think the right's are somehow better? I would genuinely like to see the left fix what they did wrong in 2004 for the midterms and the next presidential election.

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Let's pray that the human race never escapes from Earth to spread its iniquity elsewhere. - C. S. Lewis

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted September 18, 2006 22:08      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Sxeptomaniac:
Speaking of learning from history, how did that work out? Clinton looked bad for a short while, but ultimately the impeachement looked worse for the Republicans involved, such as Newt Gingrich

Heh.
I remember listening to local radio news the morning after that result came out...

Local Presenter: "So, why do you think the result went so badly for the Republicans?"
US Correspondent: "I think the voters were just tired of having Bill Clintons sex life shoved down their throats ...(embarrassed silence as he realizes what he's just said) ... if you'll pardon the expression"

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If you watch 'The History Of NASA' backwards, it's about a space agency that has no manned spaceflight capability, then does low-orbit flights, then lands on the Moon.

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Callipygous
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Icon 1 posted September 19, 2006 01:20      Profile for Callipygous     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Sxeptomaniac:
Wait... remind me what my cause is again, and who are all these other people who share it, because I sure haven't had much luck in finding them so far.

This is a legitimate description. You support a self proclaimed faith based administration.

quote:
I would genuinely like to see the left fix what they did wrong in 2004 for the midterms and the next presidential election.
Yeah yeah, just like Erbo would like to see the Democrats become less "extreme" - ha! The right's criticism of the democrats 2004 campaign is hypocritical and self serving, as they accept that the Republican demolition of Kerry's reputation was entirely justified, while any questioning of their candidate's capacity for the job, either in terms of character or mental capacity, is an unjustified ad hominem attack. Subsequent events have demonstrated that the left's assessment of the President's ability was if anything overgenerous. Make no mistake, this was in no sense a zero sum game. Though the Democrats got drawn into this dirty fight, the running was always made by the right, and the Democrats could never match the right's breathtaking ruthlessness, and complete contempt for facts, morality, and any shred of political decency. Politics is always a rough business, but the depths to which the right sank in the systematic spreading of outright lies and a fog of misinformation remains a stain on their reputation that will not be eradicated for many years. I am old enough to have observed many US elections, and have no particular brief for either party, and have never seen anything this bad before. This is the chief reason that we have no respect for you. The kindest explanation I can give is the one in my first post, that this is what happens when politics and religion come together.

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"Knowledge is Power. France is Bacon" - Milton

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brainisfried
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Icon 1 posted September 19, 2006 09:40      Profile for brainisfried     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Talk about selective memory. C-SPAN replayed Kerry's "Winter Soldier" testamony several times, where he slandered his fellow soldiers with what sure sounded like Soviet propaganda. Kerry suppressed attempts to reprint his book "The New Soldier" on the subject, though scanned copies made their way online. No way should Kerry have been made Commander-in-Chief.
http://freekerrybook.org/

As for dirty tricks, what about Democrat accusations of insider trading by Bush, about the business he sold? Bush filed his Form 144 (intent to sell) OK but the Form 4 (accounting after the fact) wasn't. Since there's no advantage to not filing the Form 4 Bush's explanation that his accountant/lawyer/whoever messed up is the most logical, but that didn't stop the Democrats from hammering him on the bogus charge. Surely some of the gazillionaire Democrats like Corzine, Kennedy, Kerry, etc. could have straightened out their comrades?

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Sxeptomaniac

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Icon 1 posted September 19, 2006 11:00      Profile for Sxeptomaniac   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Callipygous:
quote:
Originally posted by Sxeptomaniac:
Wait... remind me what my cause is again, and who are all these other people who share it, because I sure haven't had much luck in finding them so far.

This is a legitimate description. You support a self proclaimed faith based administration.
So there's no room for a middle ground? It's either support the administration or hate it completely?

quote:
Originally posted by Callipygous:
quote:
I would genuinely like to see the left fix what they did wrong in 2004 for the midterms and the next presidential election.
Yeah yeah, just like Erbo would like to see the Democrats become less "extreme" - ha! The right's criticism of the democrats 2004 campaign is hypocritical and self serving, as they accept that the Republican demolition of Kerry's reputation was entirely justified, while any questioning of their candidate's capacity for the job, either in terms of character or mental capacity, is an unjustified ad hominem attack. Subsequent events have demonstrated that the left's assessment of the President's ability was if anything overgenerous. Make no mistake, this was in no sense a zero sum game. Though the Democrats got drawn into this dirty fight, the running was always made by the right, and the Democrats could never match the right's breathtaking ruthlessness, and complete contempt for facts, morality, and any shred of political decency. Politics is always a rough business, but the depths to which the right sank in the systematic spreading of outright lies and a fog of misinformation remains a stain on their reputation that will not be eradicated for many years.
I'd like to see the Republicans become less extreme, too, but that's not what I was referring to.

The attacks on Kerry's service record were certainly ad hominem, besides being dirty tactics, but those attacks were largely discredited, and I believe few beyond the right put much stock in them by the time of the election. I would also like to point out that many of the attacks on Bush I was referring to began even before the Democratic primaries, so it would be quite easy to turn your "but they started it" comment back to the Democrats, if that were the point. However, it's not about which side is right, or even which is better, but the give-and-take in the process. Sometimes one side comes out ahead for a while, but that should change, and certainly will in this case. I just would like to see them all be smart about their tactics and learn from the mistakes of the past. (what does that make me? some kind of political taoist? [crazy] )

quote:
Originally posted by Callipygous:
I am old enough to have observed many US elections, and have no particular brief for either party, and have never seen anything this bad before. This is the chief reason that we have no respect for you. The kindest explanation I can give is the one in my first post, that this is what happens when politics and religion come together.

I'm not sure if that "you" is supposed to be a plural or singular, but I'm sorry you feel that way. I often disagree with your assesments of US politics, but I have come to respect you, Calli.

As far as the mixing of religion and politics, there are a lot of grey areas involved in that, but my short answer would be to point out that I've been a part of a Mennonite church for about 9 years now, and I share many of their traditional views regarding the separation of church and state.

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Let's pray that the human race never escapes from Earth to spread its iniquity elsewhere. - C. S. Lewis

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Callipygous
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Icon 1 posted September 19, 2006 16:39      Profile for Callipygous     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The you was plural of course, and I reciprocate your personal respect.

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"Knowledge is Power. France is Bacon" - Milton

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted September 19, 2006 20:03      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Callipygous:
The you was plural of course

One of the many benefits of aussie english is that we have an explicitly plural form: Youse

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If you watch 'The History Of NASA' backwards, it's about a space agency that has no manned spaceflight capability, then does low-orbit flights, then lands on the Moon.

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted September 23, 2006 17:32      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
<Sigh> Some more depressing stories to share...

First, the kind of milestone you'd rather not reach.
quote:
WASHINGTON - Now the death toll is 9/11 times two.

U.S. military deaths from Iraq and Afghanistan now surpass those of the most devastating terrorist attack in America’s history, the trigger for what came next.

 

Then, an assessment of the success of the 'war on terror'
quote:
A stark assessment of terrorism trends by American intelligence agencies has found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks.

The classified National Intelligence Estimate attributes a more direct role to the Iraq war in fueling radicalism than that presented either in recent White House documents or in a report released Wednesday by the House Intelligence Committee...

... An opening section of the report, “Indicators of the Spread of the Global Jihadist Movement,” cites the Iraq war as a reason for the diffusion of jihad ideology.

The report “says that the Iraq war has made the overall terrorism problem worse,”

 
And finally, a more 'human' story from Afghanistan, 'The Graveyard of Empires'
quote:
British troops in Afghanistan are exhausted and desperately short of helicopters, and there is no sign the casualty rate will fall, according to accounts from officers on the front line


--------------------
If you watch 'The History Of NASA' backwards, it's about a space agency that has no manned spaceflight capability, then does low-orbit flights, then lands on the Moon.

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