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Two Years Before 9/11, Candidate Bush was Already Talking Privately About Attacking Iraq, According to His Former Ghost Writer

HOUSTON — Two years before the September 11 attacks, presidential candidate George W. Bush was already talking privately about the political benefits of attacking Iraq, according to his former ghost writer, who held many conversations with then-Texas Governor Bush in preparation for a planned autobiography.

“He was thinking about invading Iraq in 1999,” said author and journalist Mickey Herskowitz. “It was on his mind. He said to me: ‘One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander-in-chief.’ And he said, ‘My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and he wasted it.’ He said, ‘If I have a chance to invade…if I had that much capital, I’m not going to waste it. I’m going to get everything passed that I want to get passed and I’m going to have a successful presidency.” Herskowitz said that Bush expressed frustration at a lifetime as an underachiever in the shadow of an accomplished father. In aggressive military action, he saw the opportunity to emerge from his father’s shadow. The moment, Herskowitz said, came in the wake of the September 11 attacks. “Suddenly, he’s at 91 percent in the polls, and he’d barely crawled out of the bunker.”

That President Bush and his advisers had Iraq on their minds long before weapons inspectors had finished their work – and long before alleged Iraqi ties with terrorists became a central rationale for war – has been raised elsewhere, including in a book based on recollections of former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill. However, Herskowitz was in a unique position to hear Bush’s unguarded and unfiltered views on Iraq, war and other matters – well before he became president.

In 1999, Herskowitz struck a deal with the campaign of George W. Bush about a ghost-written autobiography, which was ultimately titled A Charge to Keep : My Journey to the White House, and he and Bush signed a contract in which the two would split the proceeds. The publisher was William Morrow. Herskowitz was given unimpeded access to Bush, and the two met approximately 20 times so Bush could share his thoughts. Herskowitz began working on the book in May, 1999, and says that within two months he had completed and submitted some 10 chapters, with a remaining 4-6 chapters still on his computer. Herskowitz was replaced as Bush’s ghostwriter after Bush’s handlers concluded that the candidate’s views and life experiences were not being cast in a sufficiently positive light.

According to Herskowitz, who has authored more than 30 books, many of them jointly written autobiographies of famous Americans in politics, sports and media (including that of Reagan adviser Michael Deaver), Bush and his advisers were sold on the idea that it was difficult for a president to accomplish an electoral agenda without the record-high approval numbers that accompany successful if modest wars.

The revelations on Bush’s attitude toward Iraq emerged recently during two taped interviews of Herskowitz, which included a discussion of a variety of matters, including his continued closeness with the Bush family, indicated by his subsequent selection to pen an authorized biography of Bush’s grandfather, written and published last year with the assistance and blessing of the Bush family.

Herskowitz also revealed the following:

In 2003, Bush’s father indicated to him that he disagreed with his son’s invasion of Iraq.
Bush admitted that he failed to fulfill his Vietnam-era domestic National Guard service obligation, but claimed that he had been “excused.”
Bush revealed that after he left his Texas National Guard unit in 1972 under murky circumstances, he never piloted a plane again. That casts doubt on the carefully-choreographed moment of Bush emerging in pilot’s garb from a jet on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln in 2003 to celebrate “Mission Accomplished” in Iraq. The image, instantly telegraphed around the globe, and subsequent hazy White House statements about his capacity in the cockpit, created the impression that a heroic Bush had played a role in landing the craft.
Bush described his own business ventures as “floundering” before campaign officials insisted on recasting them in a positive light.
Throughout the interviews for this article and in subsequent conversations, Herskowitz indicated he was conflicted over revealing information provided by a family with which he has longtime connections, and by how his candor could comport with the undefined operating principles of the as-told-to genre. Well after the interviews-in which he expressed consternation that Bush’s true views, experience and basic essence had eluded the American people -Herskowitz communicated growing concern about the consequences for himself of the publication of his remarks, and said that he had been under the impression he would not be quoted by name. However, when conversations began, it was made clear to him that the material was intended for publication and attribution. A tape recorder was present and visible at all times.

Several people who know Herskowitz well addressed his character and the veracity of his recollections. “I don’t know anybody that’s ever said a bad word about Mickey,” said Barry Silverman, a well-known Houston executive and civic figure who worked with him on another book project. An informal survey of Texas journalists turned up uniform confidence that Herskowitz’s account as contained in this article could be considered accurate.

One noted Texas journalist who spoke with Herskowitz about the book in 1999 recalls how the author mentioned to him at the time that Bush had revealed things the campaign found embarrassing and did not want in print. He requested anonymity because of the political climate in the state. “I can’t go near this,” he said.

According to Herskowitz, George W. Bush’s beliefs on Iraq were based in part on a notion dating back to the Reagan White House – ascribed in part to now-vice president Dick Cheney, Chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee under Reagan. “Start a small war. Pick a country where there is justification you can jump on, go ahead and invade.”

Bush’s circle of pre-election advisers had a fixation on the political capital that British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher collected from the Falklands War. Said Herskowitz: “They were just absolutely blown away, just enthralled by the scenes of the troops coming back, of the boats, people throwing flowers at [Thatcher] and her getting these standing ovations in Parliament and making these magnificent speeches.”

Republicans, Herskowitz said, felt that Jimmy Carter’s political downfall could be attributed largely to his failure to wage a war. He noted that President Reagan and President Bush’s father himself had (besides the narrowly-focused Gulf War I) successfully waged limited wars against tiny opponents – Grenada and Panama – and gained politically. But there were successful small wars, and then there were quagmires, and apparently George H.W. Bush and his son did not see eye to eye.

“I know [Bush senior] would not admit this now, but he was opposed to it. I asked him if he had talked to W about invading Iraq. “He said, ‘No I haven’t, and I won’t, but Brent [Scowcroft] has.’ Brent would not have talked to him without the old man’s okaying it.” Scowcroft, national security adviser in the elder Bush’s administration, penned a highly publicized warning to George W. Bush about the perils of an invasion.

Herskowitz’s revelations are not the sole indicator of Bush’s pre-election thinking on Iraq. In December 1999, some six months after his talks with Herskowitz, Bush surprised veteran political chroniclers, including the Boston Globe ‘s David Nyhan, with his blunt pronouncements about Saddam at a six-way New Hampshire primary event that got little notice: “It was a gaffe-free evening for the rookie front-runner, till he was asked about Saddam’s weapons stash,” wrote Nyhan. ‘I’d take ’em out,’ [Bush] grinned cavalierly, ‘take out the weapons of mass destruction-I’m surprised he’s still there,” said Bush of the despot who remains in power after losing the Gulf War to Bush Jr.’s father-It remains to be seen if that offhand declaration of war was just Texas talk, a sort of locker room braggadocio, or whether it was Bush’s first big clinker. ”

The notion that President Bush held unrealistic or naïve views about the consequences of war was further advanced recently by a Bush supporter, the evangelist Pat Robertson, who revealed that Bush had told him the Iraq invasion would yield no casualties. In addition, in recent days, high-ranking US military officials have complained that the White House did not provide them with adequate resources for the task at hand.

Herskowitz considers himself a friend of the Bush family, and has been a guest at the family vacation home in Kennebunkport. In the late 1960s, Herskowitz, a longtime Houston Chronicle sports columnist designated President Bush’s father, then-Congressman George HW Bush, to replace him as a guest columnist, and the two have remained close since then. (Herskowitz was suspended briefly in April without pay for reusing material from one of his own columns, about legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden.)

In 1999, when Herskowitz turned in his chapters for Charge to Keep, Bush’s staff expressed displeasure -often over Herskowitz’s use of language provided by Bush himself. In a chapter on the oil business, Herskowitz included Bush’s own words to describe the Texan’s unprofitable business ventures, writing: “the companies were floundering”. “I got a call from one of the campaign lawyers, he was kind of angry, and he said, ‘You’ve got some wrong information.’ I didn’t bother to say, ‘Well you know where it came from.’ [The lawyer] said, ‘We do not consider that the governor struggled or floundered in the oil business. We consider him a successful oilman who started up at least two new businesses.’ ”

In the end, campaign officials decided not to go with Herskowitz’s account, and, moreover, demanded everything back. “The lawyer called me and said, ‘Delete it. Shred it. Just do it.’ ”

“They took it and [communications director]Karen [Hughes] rewrote it,” he said. A campaign official arrived at his home at seven a.m. on a Monday morning and took his notes and computer files. However, Herskowitz, who is known for his memory of anecdotes from his long history in journalism and book publishing, says he is confident about his recollections.

According to Herskowitz, Bush was reluctant to discuss his time in the Texas Air National Guard – and inconsistent when he did so. Bush, he said, provided conflicting explanations of how he came to bypass a waiting list and obtain a coveted Guard slot as a domestic alternative to being sent to Vietnam. Herskowitz also said that Bush told him that after transferring from his Texas Guard unit two-thirds through his six-year military obligation to work on an Alabama political campaign, he did not attend any Alabama National Guard drills at all, because he was “excused.” This directly contradicts his public statements that he participated in obligatory training with the Alabama National Guard. Bush’s claim to have fulfilled his military duty has been subject to intense scrutiny; he has insisted in the past that he did show up for monthly drills in Alabama – though commanding officers say they never saw him, and no Guardsmen have come forward to accept substantial “rewards” for anyone who can claim to have seen Bush on base.

Herskowitz said he asked Bush if he ever flew a plane again after leaving the Texas Air National Guard in 1972 – which was two years prior to his contractual obligation to fly jets was due to expire. He said Bush told him he never flew any plane – military or civilian – again. That would contradict published accounts in which Bush talks about his days in 1973 working with inner-city children, when he claimed to have taken some of the children up in a plane.

In 2002, three years after he had been pulled off the George W. Bush biography, Herskowitz was asked by Bush’s father to write a book about the current president’s grandfather, Prescott Bush, after getting a message that the senior Bush wanted to see him. “Former President Bush just handed it to me. We were sitting there one day, and I was visiting him there in his office-He said, ‘I wish somebody would do a book about my dad.’ ”

“He said to me, ‘I know this has been a disappointing time for you, but it’s amazing how many times something good will come out of it.’ I passed it on to my agent, he jumped all over it. I asked [Bush senior], ‘Would you support it and would you give me access to the rest of family?’ He said yes.”

That book, Duty, Honor, Country: The Life and Legacy of Prescott Bush , was published in 2003 by Routledge. If anything, the book has been criticized for its over-reliance on the Bush family’s perspective and rosy interpretation of events. Herskowitz himself is considered the ultimate “as-told-to” author, lending credibility to his account of what George W. Bush told him. Herskowitz’s other books run the gamut of public figures, and include the memoirs of Reagan aide Deaver, former Texas Governor and Nixon Treasury Secretary John Connally, newsman Dan Rather, astronaut Walter Cunningham, and baseball greats Mickey Mantle and Nolan Ryan.

After Herskowitz was pulled from the Bush book project, the biographer learned that a scenario was being prepared to explain his departure. “I got a phone call from someone in the Bush campaign, confidentially, saying ‘Watch your back.’ ”

Reporters covering Bush say that when they inquired as to why Herskowitz was no longer on the project, Hughes intimated that Herskowitz had personal habits that interfered with his writing – a claim Herskowitz said is unfounded. Later, the campaign put out the word that Herskowitz had been removed for missing a deadline. Hughes subsequently finished the book herself – it received largely critical reviews for its self-serving qualities and lack of spontaneity or introspection.

So, said Herskowitz, the best material was left on the cutting room floor, including Bush’s true feelings.
If the Vietnamese had the bomb think how different the world would be, no toddlers covered with napalm,no kids being born deformed from agent orange. The United States only understands one language, I wish nukes were not necessary but while the US exists breakneck speed nuclear proliferation in the developing world is the safest option for everyone.

Also I am not the one being edgy, you are. All the proper nations of the world have nukes and all the other joke countries want them. You are the ones with the mental unusual opinion.
Do you expect the people in Iraq to agree with you MB? Your argument is that the weak should voluntarily remain vulnerable whilst predatory super-powers molest them at will. Making the great powers fear the consequences of their actions sounds like an improvement in the situation to me. Given that the UK renewed Trident despite being committed to austerity and having no enemies to point warheads at it seems silly to deny those who are under serious threat the opportunity to develop defenses.

Drlee wrote:Please note Ter that the US has been threatened with nuclear weapons within the past week.

Are you referring to N Korea? I'm under the impression the range on their warheads falls far short of US territory.
AFIAK, your strawman is correct! My denunciation of nuclearization must be an affirmation of the legitmacey of US invasion of Iraq! I've only opposed that since it happened and you can read my opposition since this board was formed! Wow, you nailed it bro.

Making the great powers fear the consequences of their actions sounds like an improvement in the situation to me.

Fear of WMD didn't stop US from invading Iraq, remember?

This is the real crux of the matter, I think. It boils down to this, from my perspective: what is more important to you, that the nuclear powers have to "deal" with nuclear armed nations (comeuppance), or that we not die in a nuclear war? Decky hit this point as well with his Vietnam comment, of course he expressed it ridiculously. I think there is something to this though.

We all hate imperialism (I'm guessing) and we all hate US hypocrisy. But that doesn't justify nuclearization which is more likely to result in nuclear war than to prevent it.

If you actually cared about sticking it to the US you'd support denuclearization, since that objectively reduces their military power.

But I guess you never thought about that.
It's not a strawman. As I said before, Nukes are defensive weapons based on the premise of MAD. I didn't mean to imply that you supported the invasion of Iraq. The vulnerability to invasion is a predictable consequence of leaving yourself without a nuclear deterrent for many countries, though.

MB. wrote:Fear of WMD didn't stop US from invading Iraq, remember?

I remember reports being "sexed up", weapons inspectors committing suicide, and the 45 minute claim being exposed as bullshit. WMD was the rationale for invading and was used to gain public support and legitimacy. It was never the genuine motive.

MB. wrote:We all hate imperialism (I'm guessing) and we all hate US hypocrisy. But that doesn't justify nuclearization which is more likely to result in nuclear war than to prevent it.

You specify nuclear war and thus exclude all other kinds. The fear of MAD can be credited with keeping the cold war cold and preventing the Thucydides trap from playing out post WWII.

MB. wrote:If you actually cared about sticking it to the US you'd support denuclearization, since that objectively reduces their military power.

But I guess you never thought about that.

I explicitly mentioned the UK renewing Trident so I think it should be clear that I am aware of the commitment that the current nuclear powers have to maintaining their arsenals. If this treaty pressures the US (and others) to withdrawing their extra-territorial nukes and downsizing their arsenals to a level suitable for homeland defense I'd be very happy. :)
Well mutually assured destruction never actually existed (nor could Iraq or DPRK deliver it) so clearly your knowledge of nuclear strategy is totally deficient. Maybe we can split this thread up to discuss that further on the history section, I'd love to go into greater detail about how your opinion here is derived from propaganda.

You nailed it bro! Wmd was not the motive. But one wonders why the US put abm technology in Israel to counter iraqi scuds tipped with sarin and used a "vial" of sarin at the UN security Council to justify the invasion. I guess you've never studied this at all.

Thanks for letting me know.
The only one here who seems to be espousing propaganda (and literal at that ) here is MB while ironically accusing others for the same.

Giving Israel ABM tech proves nothing neither does a vial of sarin presented at UN security council. The fact is that this whole WMD thing was bunk from start to finish and everyone knew that. I am lost at word as how literal US propaganda campaign is presented as unquestionable truth here, these are the same people who believed in "Nayirah testimony" because US will never use false testimonials or anything like that, right bro?

On MAD : Can we stop taking it too literally? Yes NK or Iran can't hurt US in any meaningful way but with wmd they can threaten and annihilate US regional allies like SK, Israel, Sauddi Arabia etc that's good enough as a threat for MAD to work. I fail to see how "they can't hurt US" is a gotcha moment for anti MAD proponents.
The US army and marines went into combat in 2003 wearing full nuclear /biological/chemical suits.

But I guess it was just propaganda and they didn't really believe it.
Another gotcha moment, bro? Nope it isn't.

Iraq was not producing or stockpiling wmds as she was accused of, this is a fact. US/UK knew it, this is a fact. Iraq once had large stockpiles of chemical weapons, this is also a fact, it was within the realm of possibility that it still possessed some of these old weapons either in Government or someone else hand. Thus taking such precaution was a very very normal military thing to do.

Its just simple common sense, that you will take precaution invading a country that once had large stockpiles of chemical weapons but it doesn't magically makes the accusation against that country that she is producing and again stockpiling these weapons as US/UK said. This still remains bunk and everyone knew it.

Context is always king.
What are you even arguing? Literally what is your thesis here? Seems to me you just argued that the US had good reason to suspect Iraq had WMD which also justified the invasion...

I mean you just totally contradicted yourself. Either they had WMD (which the army thought was serious enough to have their soldiers wear protective suits) or they didn't and the coalition knew this (and then send its soldiers wearing restrictive suits anyway?). It's just simple common sense.

But we all know what the truth is, you fucking forgot about the hazmat suits and they basically destroy your conspiracy argument. Maybe you should spend less time playing paradox games more time studying.

Context is always king.
There was an excellent interview with Sir John Chilcot by Laura Kuenssber, BBC political editor, a day or so ago which was enlightening to say the least.


Here is a summary of it.

Tony Blair was not "straight with the nation" about his decisions in the run up to the Iraq War, the chairman of the inquiry into the war has told the BBC.
Speaking for the first time since publishing his report a year ago, Sir John Chilcot discussed why he thinks the former PM made those decisions.
He said the evidence Mr Blair gave the inquiry was "emotionally truthful" but he relied on beliefs rather than facts.
A spokesman for Mr Blair said "all these issues" had been dealt with.
They added that Sir John had also made clear that he believed Mr Blair had "not departed from the truth".
In a wide-ranging, exclusive interview with the BBC's political editor Laura Kuenssberg, Sir John also talked about Mr Blair's state of mind during the inquiry and his relationship with the then US President George W Bush in the build-up to the 2003 conflict.
Sir John also admitted that at the start of the inquiry he had "no idea" how long it would take, but defended its conduct and the seven years it took to complete.
The inquiry concluded that Mr Blair overstated the threat posed by Iraq leader Saddam Hussein and the invasion was not the "last resort" action presented to Parliament, when it backed the action, and the public.
When the inquiry finally emerged in its full two million words, in the chaotic aftermath of the EU referendum, its analysis was polite, but firmly critical of the decision-making process and behaviour of the UK government both in the run-up to, conduct of, and aftermath of one of the most controversial conflicts in British foreign policy - what many now regard as one of the UK's biggest foreign policy mistakes.
In the immediate aftermath of the inquiry itself, Sir John, a former Whitehall permanent secretary who had worked for decades at the highest level of government, declined to take further part in the debate, as his and his panels' conclusions were digested.
But in the run-up to the report's anniversary, he agreed to speak for the first time about the inquiry's conclusions, its criticisms and consequences for us all.
Asked if the former prime minister had been as straight as he could have been with the country and the inquiry, Sir John told the BBC: "Any prime minister taking a country into war has got to be straight with the nation and carry it, so far as possible, with him or her. I don't believe that was the case in the Iraq instance."
He went on: "Tony Blair is always and ever an advocate. He makes the most persuasive case he can. Not departing from the truth but persuasion is everything. Advocacy for my position, 'my Blair position'."
He said the former Labour leader gave the case for war based on his own assessment of the circumstances, saying Mr Blair made the case "pinning it on my belief, not on the fact, what the assessed intelligence said."
"You can make an argument around that, both ethical and - well, there is an ethical argument I think."
Asked by the BBC whether Mr Blair gave the fullest version of events, Sir John replied: 'I think he gave an - what was - I hesitate to say this, rather but I think it was from his perspective and standpoint, emotionally truthful and I think that came out also in his press conference after the launch statement.
"I think he was under very great emotional pressure during those sessions… he was suffering. He was deeply engaged. Now in that state of mind and mood you fall back on your instinctive skill and reaction, I think."
The UK's seven-year involvement in Iraq resulted in the deaths of 179 British personnel
Image caption
Sir John criticises Tony Blair's "with you whatever" memo to US President George W Bush in 2002
Sir John also talked at length about Mr Blair's relationship with the US president in the build-up to the war.
"Tony Blair made much of, at various points, the need to exert influence on American policy making," he said.
"To do that he said in terms at one point, 'I have to accept their strategic objective, regime change, in order to exert influence.' For what purpose? To get them to alter their policy? Of course not. So in effect it was a passive strategy. Just go along."
Commenting on the documentation revealed when the Iraq Inquiry was published, Sir John revealed that his first response on reading a note sent by Mr Blair to Mr Bush in 2002 in which he told him 'I shall be with you whatever', was "you mustn't say that".
His reaction was: "You're giving away far too much. You're making a binding commitment by one sovereign government to another which you can't fulfil. You're not in a position to fulfil it. I mean he didn't even know the legal position at that point."
Chilcot rejects Blair's case for war
Blair: World better because of Iraq War
Asked if the relationship between Mr Blair and Mr Bush was appropriate, Sir John says the former prime minister was running "coercive diplomacy" that clashed with the settled position of the government.
"I think that the fundamental British strategy was fractured, because our formal policy, right up to the autumn of 2002 was one of containment. That was the concluded decision of cabinet.
"But the prime minister was running one of coercive diplomacy. With the knowledge and support of the foreign secretary, but the foreign secretary hoped that diplomacy would win and not coercion. I think to the prime minister it probably looked the other way round.
Speaking after the publication of the Iraq Inquiry report last year, Mr Blair said he felt sorrow and regret at the deaths of 179 British personnel in Iraq between 2003 and 2009 and those of countless Iraqi civilians.
He accepted the intelligence had been wrong and post-war planning had been poor.
But he insisted that he did what he thought was the "right thing" at the time and he still believed Iraq was "better off" without Saddam Hussein.
In response to Sir John's interview, a spokesman for Mr Blair said on Thursday: "A full reading of the interview shows that Sir John makes clear that Mr Blair had not 'departed from the truth'.
"Sir John also makes clear that on the eve of the invasion Mr Blair, 'asked the then Chair of the Joint Intelligence Committee, can you tell me beyond any reasonable doubt that Saddam has weapons of mass destruction. To which the answer was, yes I can. He was entitled to rely on that'.
"Five different inquiries have all shown the same thing: that there was no falsifying of the intelligence."
Maj Gen Tim Cross, who was involved in post-war planning in Iraq and gave evidence to the inquiry, said Mr Blair was "an emotional guy" and that he was "sure" his emotions affected the decision to go to war.
He told BBC Breakfast: "When I briefed Tony Blair, it was quite clear that he felt this was a necessity, that there was a just cause, that we had to do something about this. How he portrayed that politically… I do not think he played it very well."
Current Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who was an opponent of the Iraq War, said various reports into it had concluded "there was an interpretation placed on advice that Tony Blair was given that was simply not correct and we ended up going to war with Iraq and the consequences are still with us".
Lord Menzies Campbell, who was foreign affairs spokesman for the Lib Dems at the time they were opposing the war, said: "In truth, Mr Blair's decision was fundamentally wrong.
"A bad decision, even if made in good faith, is still a bad decision."
MB. wrote:What are you even arguing? Literally what is your thesis here? Seems to me you just argued that the US had good reason to suspect Iraq had WMD which also justified the invasion...

I mean you just totally contradicted yourself. Either they had WMD (which the army thought was serious enough to have their soldiers wear protective suits) or they didn't and the coalition knew this (and then send its soldiers wearing restrictive suits anyway?). It's just simple common sense.

But we all know what the truth is, you fucking forgot about the hazmat suits and they basically destroy your conspiracy argument. Maybe you should spend less time playing paradox games more time studying.

Context is always king.

Of course if you put fingers in your ears, the opposite argument is actually supporting you all the time or may be try reading carefully next time, it can do wonders for you. My argument was quite clear and common sense and hint no it wasn't supporting your claims at all.

Also conspiracy? :lol: :lol: May be next time try to provide an actual argument rather than one words (like Hazmat Suits) and also try reading actual arguments that are being made and responding to it (let alone doing actual study) rather than just trying hard to find ways to insult people, got it bro?
anarchist23 wrote:There was an excellent interview with Sir John Chilcot by Laura Kuenssber, BBC political editor, a day or so ago which was enlightening to say the least.

Here is the interview in its entirety.

Fuser that was a seriously weak comeback and you failed to address any of my points.

As for Tony Blair he was an Anglo American neo liberal all along. The Labour party he represented was a disgrace and his support for Bush totally indefensible. I love how everything that has come out subsequently points to him being an idiot.
I just want to point out that this thread was split from a discussion on a UN treaty, several posts were deleted and the OP was added once it was 12 posts long.

Just in case someone reads my comments here in the wrong context.

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