Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A Savage Enemy

The inability to believe in evil, contrary to modern belief, is not an enlightened stage in cultural evolution but a sign of dilution and decay that is often a prelude to events unimaginable. In the 1930s, few could believe the evil unfolding in Germany and Russia, nor the savagery of Japan which was actually evident in the decades prior to Pearl Harbor. We wanted to believe all human beings harbor the same sensibilities, hopes, and dreams. While denying our vast differences, we believed we could appease the enemy that must surely want peace as much as we do. And we paid dearly for our delusions.

Today the situation is worse. We no longer believe there is such a thing as human savagery. The very word savage is shocking to those recently indoctrinated in our universities. Yet the word savage comes as part of a set: civilized and savage. They are both possibilities within the human experience. The greatest societies, giving us liberty, tolerance, wealth, and justice, are as much a part of human history as the most oppressive, vicious, and macabre regimes. Human beings can rise to great heights and they can sink to gruesome lows. The same species that includes Thomas Jefferson also includes Pol Pot.

In the early 20th century, Japan was savage in her domination of East Asia and maintained imperialist aspirations to pillage and dominate the whole Pacific Rim. Japanese society itself was oppressive and harsh. While all war is savage, the speed and depth of the Japanese decent into depravity reflected the very culture which nurtured such barbarity. One can get a glimpsed of Japanese ways in the book, the Rape of Nanking. We experienced Japanese savagery in their occupation of the Philippines and the treatment of our captured soldiers.

The harsh treatment of Japan is a stark contrast to Germany’s treatment of Allied forces. More British troops died in Japanese captivity than fighting the Japanese army. And this made the Japanese despise the British even more. The main motivation in the humane treatment of surrendering forces is the encouragement of their surrender and reduction of one’s own casualties. Unfortunately, the Japanese assumed their treatment of surrendering forces and populations was normal; and they fought to the death, fearing the pain of surrender as much as the dishonor. (See Richard B. Frank’s book or any good book of Japan's war.) Our “civilized” rules of warfare failed to payoff in the Pacific theatre.

The Japanese descent into savagery was so painful and the reformation of post-war Japan so impressive that this history, if not forgotten, was quietly put aside as we faced more pressing problems in the Cold War. Still, the level of savagery ranks Imperial Japan as one of humanity’s most barbaric societies. That view is currently being challenged in both academic and popular venues.

A recent Clint Eastwood movie turns American heroism in Iwo Jima into propaganda, if the reviews are any indication. But worse is yet to come. If an artist confesses his own worldview in the selection and portrayal of events, what should we make of Eastwood’s planned follow-up movie that will also be about Iwo Jima and “tells the story from the Japanese point of view?” Eastwood explains:
“Those who lose their lives in war, on both sides, are fully deserving of honor and respect. These two films are my tribute to them. Through these films that tell the story (of Iwo Jima) from both the U.S. and Japanese sides, I hope that you will be able to see a new perspective on an era that the people of both countries share - and has made a deep impression on their hearts.”

Apparently we are to believe that they were human beings just like we were. They were human beings, for course, but they weren’t like us. The difference is not a question of species but character. They were savage. What happens when you ban the "s" word from the English language? The first casualty is the truth in the form of a moral equivalence. The second casualty is the memory of our greatness. Without acknowledgement of the vast difference in character and culture, our attitude to the Japanese during World War II is increasingly described as racist. If you subtract character you only have species and a difference in viewpoint means you exempt them from the species -- you see them as subhuman.

It is common now to refer to our manner of fighting World War II as racist; for example, consider the interview of this philosopher/writer. The absurdity of this should be apparent by any examination of salient facts of history. We fought a vicious enemy that already plundered large swaths of the Orient. The pre-emptive attack at Pearl Harbor was meant to insure Japan’s ability to expand the pillage. A proper judgment of the Japanese culture, their repeated behavior, and long-term aims would leave no other moral assessment possible: they were savages. But it was not genetic. If we thought that how could we have hoped and helped to create the free society after the war? Clearly we didn't believe there were congenital flaws in the Japanese race.

As an anecdotal aside, many of my childhood friends in the 1950s lost uncles or had fathers who fought in the Pacific theatre. My father did. Yet back in the 1950s I never heard any racial remarks disparaging the Japanese in my working class neighborhood that was rife with anti-Semitism and the denigration of blacks. Nor did my parents show any anti-Japanese hostility when my sister, in the 1960s, dabbled in Japanese religions. Racism isn't amenable to evidence of change when one truly believes in the biological bases of character. Americans had no deep-seated or lasting hostility to the Japanese. (Contrast this with the lingering hatred towards Japanese in China and Korea.)

In response to the condemnation of a savage society, we hear the same vacuous reframe repeated ad nausium: aren’t they human beings too? Such a banality is uttered as if species identity implies good character. Jeffrey Dahlmer was a member of the human species; it isn’t an automatic compliment. Only human beings are capable of sustained atrocities with deliberate planning and vast devastation. The false alternative of innate goodness and original sin both fail to grasp the full picture. Human character has to be created and nurtured; human nature only holds a potential – a dual potential – either for greatness or depravity.

Culture is the character of a people. And like character it isn’t sudden or exemplified in a single act, it is evolutionary, cultivated over a period of time, and sustained by behavior that reinforces the habits of character. The possibilities of human nature are narrowed as one chooses a path in life and becomes the distinct person that character implies. Vestiges of that potential are always apparent in isolated acts, for individuals, and the residue of tradition, for a culture. However, the dominant force that continues to reassert itself remains one of evil when a society is or becomes savage.

The decent into savagery, barring any sudden apocalyptic event, is evolutionary – representing a character/culture transformation on the order of a generation. In the last 20 years we’ve seen this occur in the West Bank, especially Gaza. A regime of terror purged the area of moderates willing to openly discuss the paths to civility: living in peace with one’s neighbors. The installation of Arafat has turned PA controlled areas into terror machines indoctrinating a whole generation with the glory of becoming human bombs. The revival of the original practice of Islam solidified this savage mindset creating a level of barbarity not seen in generations.

What kind of person kills their daughter for bringing “disgrace” to the family? What kind of person looks at their children and sees human bombs waiting to be deployed in the slaughter of peaceful members of civilization going about their daily lives? What kind of people cheer at the pictures of office workers slaughtered by planes flown into modern buildings. Or hide their women in black blankets in 120 degree heat? Or dream of death and the glory of killing for Allah? Or kill over a cartoon?

We need to remember evil or we will fail to recognize it again. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the purpose of the Eastwood movies, the blather about “we’re all the same,” and the refusal to label savages in the manner they deserve. Today we face a threat as savage as those in the past. In Islamic nations the last vestiges of colonial civilization are giving way to a revival of a savage warrior ideology that brings pain and oppression everywhere it spreads. The current chorus of the universality of human decency is meant to blind us and shame us into inaction. We are being disarmed by the intellectuals and artists within. We must fight back … the war is at home.

Update: Walter Williams compares then and now.
Update2: Sixth Column on evil.
Update3: A New York Sun review explains that Eastwoods’s "Letters From Iwo Jima" will tell the story from the Japanese side where “the Japanese defender of Iwo Jima who knew his cause was doomed but fought on bravely, tenaciously, skillfully, and almost to the last man. Apparently, heroism of this classic type is okay for the Japanese, but it won't do for Americans. We only want the victim-hero … "Flags of our Fathers" [is] a bore … is the ponderous and heavy-handed moralizing. Heroism, for him [Eastwood], means suffering, not triumph or glory.”


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good one Jason! (Very good actually)

10/17/06, 11:31 AM  
Blogger snowonpine said...

Survival rates for U.S. POWs and civilians captured and held by Japan vs. Germany in WWII are not well publicized--there's a reason for this--and are startling to say the least. The most accurate count shows 93,941 U.S. military personnel were captured by the Germans and interned of whom 1,121 died in captivity: a little over a 1% death rate. The number of U.S. POWs captured and interned by the Japanese was 27,465 of whom 11, 107 died for a death rate of over 40% in captivity. For U.S. civilians interned by the Germans the death rate was 3.5% but for U.S. civilians interned by the Japanese the Japanese the death rate was 11%.

10/17/06, 11:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well done, Jason!

This is my opinion as well -- Palestine was the breeding ground for the modern day Jihadists and the decent into barbarism (although Islam was pretty barbaric before the conflict with Israel)....

So we are in for another gut busting World War with a barbaric enemy...Someone should produce a movie titled, "Back to the Sands of Iwo Jima" because that's where we are headed.

I posted the last three hard hitting paragraphs and the link to you on my Blog:


Sincerely, Ronbo

10/17/06, 2:50 PM  
Blogger (((Thought Criminal))) said...

War is not savage. All civilizations have unanimously agreed that warfare is a logical and effective means of conflict resolution with an unreasonable opponent.

10/17/06, 4:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like: "War is politics by lethal means."

How's that defintion for accurate, cold blooded and rational?

10/17/06, 5:26 PM  
Blogger Allen Weingarten said...

Jason has written another fine and worthwhile article. I have a minor comment regarding his correct statement that “The harsh treatment of Japan is a stark contrast to Germany’s treatment of Allied forces.” The Germans (see http://www.pbs.org/wnet/berga/) made an exception for soldiers suspected as being Jews, who became slave laborers in the Berga concentration camp.

Let us consider the view that “all human beings harbor the same sensibilities, hopes, and dreams.” Were that the case there would be no point in having civilizations, since all human beings would be morally the same, regardless of which civilization they lived under, or even if they were brought up in tyrannical regimes. The politically correct view that all of us are virtually the same, is tantamount to the claim that there could not have been any progress or retrogression since the cave men. Consequently, civilization would be irrelevant. Thus it is theoretically unsound.

There is no end to descriptions of horrors demonstrating the savagery of peoples. Since our main enemy today is Iran, let me comment on the article “Three Reasons Not to Bomb Iran – Yet” by Edward Luttwak, where he writes “…the inhabitants of Iran are human beings like the rest of us”. Mattthias Kuntzel described the tactic employed by the Basij, during the eight year Iran-Iraq war: “barely armed children and teenagers would move continuously toward the enemy…the important thing was…(to) continue to move forward over the torn and mutilated remains of their fallen comrades…in wave after wave…they went enthusiastically, and by the thousands, to their own destruction.” We might suppose that their sacrifice was a state secret, but it was not. At the height of hostilities, the government press reported that “Before entering the minefields, the children (now) wrap themselves in blankets…so that their body parts stay together after the explosion.” Somehow, I think that Americans, who cannot bear to see their enemy combatants tried before military tribunals, would not have tolerated a government that conceived the Basij. Nor can I imagine thousands of American kids volunteering for a martyr’s death. And yet today, the ghastly carnage visited on the Basij is not a source of shame to Iranians…but of national pride.

Jason shows that “The first casualty is the truth in the form of a moral equivalence”, and it renders us unable to defend against a savage enemy.

10/17/06, 6:24 PM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

Thanks snowonpine for some of the details of Japanese treatment of U.S.Pows. And thanks Weingartan for that important point about Berga. Thanks Ronbo and I'm sure others will want to visit your blog. Thanks too to Michael and Beamish (always on the job ...)

10/17/06, 8:55 PM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

I’m open-minded, to be sure. I’ll take off my shoes, sit on the floor, and eat raw fish and seaweed. But support massive systematic torture, pillage, plunder, and decades-long oppressive rule by dogmatic supremacists bent on enslaving others … I have a problem with that.

10/18/06, 12:43 PM  
Blogger Rancher said...

Multiculturism and moral equivalence, emotional irrational tenets of the left, may cause the destruction of this nation. For instance the left hates the term Islamofascists.

10/18/06, 6:03 PM  
Blogger JINGOIST said...

A question for the Duckster. Exactly what part of Jason's brilliant post do you think is inaccurate? The fact that you don't like it is a compliment to Jason since you are antithetical to decency and common sense. So the question is, what part is wrong?


10/18/06, 7:13 PM  
Blogger JINGOIST said...

Thank you Jason for this wonderful essay on Japanese savagery during the 30's and 40's. What a turnaround!
My younger cousin Connie had a passion for Japanese culture during her undergraduate years at Boston College. She learned the language, culture and business practices at BU and spent extensive time in Japan.
The shocking thing is that she had NO IDEA about the extent of Japanese brutality during WW2 or in China. When I breached the subject she became quite animated and was sure that I was lying! She's no dummy either. She went on to get her MBA from Harvard and is now a huge success.

WHY in G-d's name wasn't she taught any of this very pertinent history while at BU? I think you know why.


10/18/06, 7:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So you mean USA is still recoverable ?

10/19/06, 11:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that uncivilized is a more apt term than savage. But I'm a girl, so what do I know.


10/19/06, 12:53 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Am I ever going to read a positive comment from Mr Ducky anywhere on the blogosphere? Will I ever live to see the day that he has said something positive about anything anyone has written? I am really looking forward to that day!

10/19/06, 1:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where'd that little vixen nanc go anyways???....she's stolen my avatar!

10/19/06, 3:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


We have forgotten the most savage humans of them all the accolytes of class genocide. Yes, lets hear it for the Marxist Maladjusted Mallard. 100,000,000 dead and counting. Social Justice is another Ponzi scheeme for the lazy Duck.

Yes only in the warped mind of a bird brain does the world need to fear Kahanists, Randoids and Hemroids instead of Jihadis and Commies.

Welcome to wacky world of Karl Dux
where blood is spilled for no purpose, what yours is mine and whats mine is mine and if you don't like it off to the Noam Chomsky memorial gulag or the Bill Ayers Killing Fields.

Ducky has no problem with terrorism as long as it serves his Commie world view. Why are Dorn and Ayers employed in over paid faculty jobs? What delusion fantasy connection did his crimes have to do with the Vietnam war.

The Savage Bird Brained Daffy Duck is right here.

10/19/06, 8:28 PM  
Blogger JINGOIST said...

It would have been nice if you'd just answered the question Duck. Your self-loathing and America hating earns you no brownie points here. The original question stands.

You called into question Jason's post. You wrote;
"You may have many problems with many practices, but your idea of who holds these practices and their origins is wanting."

Typical lame-brained leftist feint. You don't like what's written so you flail about madly. Adults write coherently, try staying on topic.


10/20/06, 7:35 AM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

Thanks, Beak. Communism is responsible for over 100 million of deaths during peacetime. That’s the key; it’s not just how they fight but what they fight for: slavery, brutality, and mass slaughter for convenience of the state.

I’ve said in my article that war is savage by its nature (a point of contention with Beamish) but I made clear that the Japanese were savage in "peacetime." They ruled Korea for decades. Their savage mindset predated the war.

I’ve also added that such savagery can explain the initiation of a policy of pillage, the easy of adoption of the most brutal methods and their constant use, and the pure joy in brutality that was beyond anything we’ve seen in other venues.

Most of the examples of harsh US and British fighting is a response. Yes, most times you have to fight a savage enemy savagely. We hesitate at first but survival requires that we use every means to protect civilization. It’s what we fight for that is the primary difference, not how we fight.

LeMay had the right policy. See Frank’s book in my article. I’d go further and say we were too timid in WWII. After the fire bombing of Tokyo in March 9-10 (which killed as many as the Atomic bomb) we altered our policy because we didn’t detect any effect on their resolve via our intelligence agencies. At that point we focused on military and industrial targets; we even dropped leaflets to warn the people to avoid targeted facilities! When we resumed the bombing of civilians in August (with two atomic bombs) the war ended. I’m of the opinion that it could have ended months earlier if we continued the fire-bombing of cities.

Yes, we can fight savagely but not nearly as much as our enemies and not nearly as soon. And we pay dearly for our hesitation.

10/20/06, 8:37 AM  
Blogger Allen Weingarten said...

As Jason writes "survival requires that we use every means to protect civilization. It’s what we fight for that is the primary difference, not how we fight."

Some people find this subtlety difficult to comprehend. To them, if a man with a knife engages in rape, and the woman in response stabs him, they say 'Since she is as savage as he, they are morally equivalent.'

10/20/06, 3:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Strong and timely post.

"Hate war but love the American warrior." - Lt. Gen. Hal Moore (ret.)

10/20/06, 10:04 PM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

Excellent post! Superb!

I blame the left and moral relativism for the atrocity of saying, in effect, "The enemy is just like us, except that ___________." And sometimes that last clause is not even added.

Textbooks at all educational levels are full of such moral relevancy. Because I work with homeschoolers, I have the privilege of using non-pc texts. But most students are using what I like to refer to as "tainted books."

I urge all taxpayers--parents or not--to take the time to look over the texts used in their local school systems. As taxpayers, all of us have the right to see those books, though one might have to go to the administrative offices to do so. Alternatively, many textbooks are available for online purchase. Get the titles, buy the books, and have a look.

BTW, Eastwood's movie lost the purchase of my ticket with his tell-both-sides comment. I had relatives who fought in WWII (Omaha Beach and Pacific Theatre), so I'm not much interested in excusing the savagery of the enemy (as Spielberg did in Munich, which I recently watched on DVD).

10/21/06, 9:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Key word PEACE TIME, let the Duck rail about Kahanists, Randoids and hemrhoids. I am looking into the possibility that the oft cited 20,000,000 figure includes Stalin liquidating his own people. It also includes 1,500,000 Jews in the Holocaust that should be seperated into another accounting.

Place Muslims in cattle cars the duck screams. Sorry, that was done allready by the Marxists who scream about zionism but ignore this and helicopter massacres of native Americans in the 1980's

10/22/06, 4:32 PM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

I returned to reread this:

The inability to believe in evil, contrary to modern belief, is not an enlightened stage in cultural evolution but a sign of dilution and decay that is often a prelude to events unimaginable.

Those who refuse to recognize reality would do well to ponder that statement.

A few years ago, I read that excellent essay of yours: "Is Islam Evil?" Another fine piece of writing.

10/22/06, 9:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is it that the "great evils" always focus on the deeds of the demonic nazis and communists against us, "good" folks, when in reality we were and are likewise as brutal in our apartheid like conduct and strutural racism against African Americans that brought about lynchings, the bombings of African American towns etc.

This self righteous talk needs to stop. But I guess the heirachy of evils by which the evils of others are unacceptable, whilst the evil of us are acceptable and glossed over.

Now today the new "evil" is the muslim terrorists.

But ironically, it is the the Muslim Arabized threat that is the most threatening to the Eurocentric racist heirarchy of the west.

Let them both kill each other. They are both evil.

The only means of valid moral criticism is for persons to take a macro view of the situation, where both the West and the Muslim Arabs are both held accountable for their deeds. This, "We" against "Them", is subjective, specious and propogandistic

10/26/06, 2:04 PM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

Anyone who equates America with Nazi Germany is clearly morally and intellectually bankrupt. Obviously you are not going to see a great difference between the Islamic savages and the people they attack.

The self righteous talk needs to start: we should be proud of our unique achievement and our superiority to the savages we face.

10/26/06, 2:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are not proceeding from a macro point of view, but from an American point of view, of which you believe that because you are an American and benefitted from certain freedoms and rights that you necessarily stand on a higher moral ground to judge others, not based on any objective standard but based on your, "Americanism".

And keep the "morally bankrupt" cliches for the officious. When the Persians were at their height they considered others morally bankrupt and were blinded to their own villainy, when the greeks were at their height, they considered others Barbarians and were blinded to their own villainy, when Rome was at her height she was likewise blinded by her own villainy.

Now America is at her height, and you are perpetuating the same limited views as these passed empires, whereby everything ought to be judged by the standards that your culture has created.

With people of integrity that type of thinking doesn't fly.

p.s. If all those declassified CIA documents come to bare on this argument with all the destablized countries that lead to famine, wars, human rights abuses, all the killings and the lynchings of minorities, the extermination of Native American Indians, the protracted racism, the corporate greed etc. Do you honestly think you can hold face as to being superior morally to a looney tune Islamist who murders not out of greed or other vices but a deluded religious mandate where he actually thinks he's doing good instead of evil? An Islamist hardly ever achieves the Epistemological Self Conscious, hence his acts are not perpetuated by full knowledge, but by naivety and blind faith induced by the vacuum he lives in.

And no, I am not supporting Islamic Jihadists, nor communists nor Nazis, but you need to develop a better system of moral critique that doesn't have the American baggage. Transcend your Americanism and see the various factions of the world, whether religious, ethnic and national for what they truly are.

10/26/06, 4:04 PM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

Bull. I’m proceeding from a factual view based on human nature. Human nature requires rights for human beings to flourish. The Greeks and Romans may have been the first to discover this fact and the British may have perfected this notion but it is universal human nature that justifies it. It's objective fact.

Your fashionable relativistic nonsense is the essence of moral bankruptcy.

10/26/06, 4:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please read what I wrote, and stop using catch phrases. Its most vexing when novices throw cliches like "relativism & moral bankruptcy" about the place when in essence their view of morality is nothing more than culturally accepted norms and mores that they want to impose on others.

As for "human nature", please define. Is it human nature from the creationist model or the evolutionary model?

As per your term, "flourish", what constitutes "flourish" in reference to human nature of which you still have to define human nature?

10/26/06, 4:59 PM  
Blogger JINGOIST said...

Well said Jason. You sure destroyed the pap he was attempting to spread. Moral relativism will go out the door for this anonymous character as soon as the Islamofascists are beating down his door.


10/26/06, 5:04 PM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

Thanks Morgan.

I’m certainly not going to give anyone called anonymous an education. But you might want to read Aristotle’s ethics, John Locke’s politics, and Ayn Rand’s philosophy for starters. I could add a dozen more authors … but that should keep you busy for the next year.

10/27/06, 8:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now you're bragging about the Books you read. I can assure you that reading Aristotle and Locke isn't anything to brag about except if a person is a Johnny come lately to these works, that he has to make it known to the world and his fans that he has read them.

And you still haven't answered my question as to Human Nature. What model of Human Nature are you using, The Evolutionary construct or the Creationist Construct, or are you simple regurgitating deistic enlightenment dogma.

And what is your definition of "Flourish", according to human nature?

Now can you honestly tell me, based on what does the ethics and morality purported by Aristotle and Locke should be the ethics and morality by which we should all acquiesce?

ps. No, I'm not a relativist when it comes to morality. I can bet you my last dollar that the standard of morality I subscribe to, is much more rigid and higher than yours.

What I don't subscribe to, is hypocrisy, and this is what you and your ilk subscribe to, in that you readily judge without introspection. You readily call others evil and savage without look at the savagery that your civilization committed in the pass and committs today. It is because of this, self righteous attitude, that you are no better than the Romans and the Greeks that called other Barbarians, when they themselves were a cesspool of lasciviousness, greed, murder and abuse.

10/27/06, 9:47 AM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

We have little common ground. You vilify America and defame Greco-Roman civilization on which our civilization is based. You’ve given me false alternatives then demand that I choose; you’ve tossed aside major categories of distinctions then ask me to think. This leaves very little. I have nothing to gain from a discussion with you. We have too little common ground.

10/27/06, 10:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent commentary everyone!

I have added a link from my Blog and will check this Blog daily!

11/14/06, 12:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good stuff here, it's in, thanks!

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
slaughter your enemy...

see a job worth doing
it's a job worth doing right

1/11/07, 12:31 AM  
Blogger Jeffrey Perren said...

Superb! Possibly your best yet. I strongly urge you to submit this in article form to as many venues as you can, as soon as possible.

Jeff Perren

1/12/07, 4:05 PM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

Thanks, Jeff. I almost forgot about this one. I should bring it to other venues for a fuller exposure and discussion.

1/12/07, 10:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Again, a most excellent post; evil must be recognized for what it is, the kumbaya people are seriously deluded.

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
let your enemies shoot first

give them a chance to kill you
before blowing their brains out

2/11/07, 11:16 PM  

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