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Otto von Bismarck famously declared the Balkans weren’t worth the bones of a single Pomeranian grenadier. He knew that fractious, feuding part of Europe would soak up as much blood as the Germans cared to spill. Because Bismarck’s successors forgot his wisdom, the Balkans ended up claiming the bones of millions, in what was naively called the Great War before it was eclipsed in bloodshed and horror twenty years later. Neither Germany nor her European adversaries have ever recovered. The same could be said of the Middle East. The whole wretched place isn’t worth the bones of a single Alabamian…

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