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Rantings of a Sandmonkey

Be forewarned: The writer of this blog is an extremely cynical, snarky, pro-US, secular, libertarian, disgruntled sandmonkey. If this is your cup of tea, please enjoy your stay here. If not, please sod off

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Switching sides?

Ritzy, a supporter of the US presence in Iraq until yesterday, is mad as all hell at the US coalition and wants them out of Iraq now, after stumbeling on this website. Her reaction: The pictures I’ve seen today will perhaps also serve a purpose. It is a testimony that quite a few people on duty in Iraq are not fit for service. They should not be near any mission objective of peace and nation building. They are taking pride and joy in death and demolition when they ought to just endure it. They’re laughing at scattered brains and split faces, cooked bodies and broken limbs. They ought to feel sorry things did not end in any other way. They should want to know who that person was, his name and why he had to die. It is called humanity. A military without it is corrupted and will fail; failure means no chance to succeed. I agree with her that those people on duty who are taking those pics shouldn't be there, and i don't mean they shouldn't be there because they took pictures (altough honestly, digital cameras in Iraq= doing more harm then good so far), they shouldn't be there because they seem to enjoy the killing and the destruction. You can't be a peacekeeper that enjoys killing people. That being said, I think it's wrong to judge the whole Militray presence there- more then 100,000 of them- based on the actions of a few assholes with digital cameras. However, the presence of those assholes there is a nightmare, and should not be tolerated. I don't know if the military does psychological evaluations for its troops, but in a situation as deadly and bloody as Iraq's, it might be a good idea. It may save the next guy serving there from ending up like this guy.


At 8/23/2005 12:28:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone who supported the war, but gets turned off by images of war did not really support the war to begin with.

War is hell. It does strange things to people. Need I remind you that these pictures are off in a far corner of the internet, while pictures JUST AS GRAPHIC are played on Al-Jazeera to the applauding masses of Islamists.

Must we recall that Mohammed himself ordered the mutilation and slaughter of thieves and nonbelievers? Does that make the Prophet wrong?

At 8/23/2005 01:35:00 AM, Blogger Orientalism said...

Why is anyone even surprised? Did anyone really expect the soldiers there to help the Iraqi's sincerely and listen to Bethoven's 14th in the evenings?

There is a saying in Arabic " Wa ma khafia kan a3zam". Translation: what is hidden is greater than what you see. Point is: stuff like that is just the tip of the iceberg, although I am surprised that stuff like that made it online, I would have thought the pentagon spin doctors would have smartened up after the last fiasco.I am sure local and foriegn war apologists will spin this like: " you cant judge all of them based on a few rotten apples", well, the apples seem to get more rotten by the day, maybe the whole harvest is fucked. Winning the hearts and minds hey guys?

At 8/23/2005 02:57:00 AM, Blogger Highlander said...

SM , (1) you know very well the army will take in about ANYONE who volunteers to make the target numbers. (2) that this is war and we expect no mercy. (3) if we are supposed to count this as 'isolated incidents' , then Arabs/Muslims and now Sunnis ( the latest fashion) should not be labelled Jihadist as we have our own 'rotten apples'. Come on SM I know you try to look at the big picture honestly ...so do I , but sometimes there is no point and what is happening on the ground kana a3zam as Orientalism says and maybe doing more harm than good. However, what is the use of discussing this ? *sigh* we have been doing it for so many years now and nothing has changed. rabena yustur !

Anonymouse 12:28 AM, what you say is not a justification for the picture, if someone comes on a noble mission then someone should supposedly be of higher morality and act accordingly, otherwise just get on with the war and not try to package it into some kind of humanitarian mission. That is what troubles people like Ritzy , she has put the US on a pedestal and now has found out that this 'god' is a meral mortal.

At 8/23/2005 03:13:00 AM, Blogger Orientalism said...

wow I am impressed, someone I can actually agree with on this blog:)

At 8/23/2005 03:52:00 AM, Blogger Highlander said...

Before anyone bites my head off :) ....re. my earlier post , I meant anonymous and not 'anonymouse' please excuse my typo. No offense or insult meant.

At 8/23/2005 04:01:00 AM, Blogger Kat said...

Are you really shocked by these pictures? Do you expect that soldiers that just escaped being blown to bits by some suicidal asshole are going to stand around and contemplate his name and how sad it is that he died instead of them?

No, I wouldn't personally want to get my picture taken with the mess left post VBIED, but then again, no one's tried to blow me up lately.

At 8/23/2005 04:20:00 AM, Blogger Josie said...

2 things: I consider myself to be very patriotic, very "pro" America. But do I ever think of my country as a "god" or not "mere mortal"?? No way in hell. I know exactly what my country is about. I know its warts. I know the bad, I know the good. I know it is made up of people who are no better than anybody in the human race. We've got some violent, hedonistic, selfish, greedy people here. Remember those high school boys who used to TRY to hit animals in the road with their cars cause it was funny? That used to talk about how much fun they had shooting deer? Yeah, well half those guys joined the US military. But why, why IS the US just a mere mortal? Because the human race (every single one of us, white, black, Arab, Jew) WE ALL SUCK. Praise God that he loves us anyway & that he has a plan to save us. Second, I have a very good friend who fought in Vietnam. He told me some things, and one was that he was so frightened by the "high" he got after he & his unit had killed some of the enemy. He said that he was SO happy, so high on adrenaline, so relieved, so just THRILLED that they had won and were still alive, that he started to wonder - was he actually starting to LIKE killing? Had he become a monster? It was scary, you know, because he'd always pictured himself as this guy who would kill only if he had to, and NEVER be happy about it. Yet there he was, totally jazzed and happy about it. Then he came home and he realized that even though he had changed, that he wasn't a monster & he wasn't a bad, horrible, or warped person because of the things he'd done to the enemy, or the way he'd felt about it at the time. Fight or flight, instinct, adrenaline, they're very powerful, ancient things within us. What some soldiers in a war and a bunch of jerks on the internet do or say tells me nothing new about my country. I continue to think about it what I always did.

The subject of how long the US should stay in Iraq is a totally different question.

At 8/23/2005 04:23:00 AM, Blogger Kat said...

My previous comment didn't post so, having visited the site, the first thing I note is that the pictures are posted from one guy who is probably responsible for taking photos of said nasty scenes considering most of them look like post action photos and appear to document things like number of bodies, vehicles, etc.

Secondly, even the picture of the head didn't disgust me because that happens to be the way that they usually count how many dead there are after a bombing, by collecting and counting the heads. (That would be mortuary and investigative techniques, not some nasty thing soldiers do for kicks).

I also note that these pictures were taken in October 2004. Anybody know what was going on in October 2004?

Sorry, I'm not offended in the way that you think. Yes, some idiot with a camera is posting pics. No, it's not the whole military and no it's not part of policy. Unlike the techniques of the lovable Jihadists who cut off men's heads, hold them up to the camera and proclaim that God is great, then put the head on the bodies as if decorating a cake.

You want disgust? Show me an American GI doing that then I'll get disgusted. Otherwise, these are pictures of war you would just rather not have to confront and the media nicely edits out for you the same way they edited out the images of people splattering on the court yard of the WTC after they jumped.

Don't want to see it? Don't look.

At 8/23/2005 04:30:00 AM, Blogger Josie said...

Oh, & by the way... the other half of the boys who used to purposely run over animals? They went to college and joined a fraternity. Got drunk a lot and had a couple of "inappropriate" episodes with some girls. Then guess what? 99% of them grew up and are comparably decent human beings, just like 99% of the US military.

At 8/23/2005 04:35:00 AM, Blogger The Sandmonkey said...

O, Bite me!


"(1) you know very well the army will take in about ANYONE who volunteers to make the target numbers."


"(2) that this is war and we expect no mercy."

Define "We". But sure, let's say it's a general statement: This is a war. Wars get ugly. Wars are about killing a number of people to ensure the welfare of a larger group of people. (Holy shit, War sounds like socialism).

(3) if we are supposed to count this as 'isolated incidents' , then Arabs/Muslims and now Sunnis ( the latest fashion) should not be labelled Jihadist as we have our own 'rotten apples'.

Oh, so if that was the case you would be ok with this website?

Ok, here is where I disagree with you for a second: I do not label all arabs/ muslims or Sunnis to be jihadists, nor would i tolerate it as an arab , sunni, muslim. That would make no sense on my part. However, I do identify the jihadiest that are sunnis, arabs, shias, whatever as jihadis, with the designation before it. Remember the Australian guy i posted about who joined Al qaeda? Yeah, I called him an australian jihadi. Remember that?

I guess the point you are trying to make is to say while all jihadies are muslim, not all muslims are jihadies. And you know, everyone who visits and posts on this site would agree, even "the right -wing crazies" ya O. But this is a wrong-albeit smart- analogy to what's going on in the army, and let me tell you why.

How many americans do you think approve of what the people on this website are doing? How many encoruage it? How many would wish their sons and daughters would grow up so that they can enlist in the army to kill arabs and then take pictures of their bodies and post them on the internet? (See why it's a flawd analogy?)

Me, you, O, ritzy, and anyone in the civislized world would abhore the use of those types of picture and how they are used. I find no better name to describe their use then the name of their website " Now that's fucked up". But the very uncomoftrable truth is, this is not the same when it comes to Jihady videos of decapitation or death or whatever. Hell, remember the videotape of the 4 american contractors that got killed and had their bodies burned and dragged down the street, and hanged from a streetlight and basically violated by a Iraqi "islamic" mob? Rememebr how happy they were? Do i need to tell you what the reaction of the average muslim egyptian on the street was? Or better: 9/11. Or even a more recent and local one close to my heart : The taba attacks that killed israelis on egyptian soil. How many muslims/arabs you know condemned or felt sick by those attacks?And if you know a bunch, do you think they represent the majority ?

I am not saying that muslims like killing people or mutilating their bodies or whatever, but the reactions i've been seeing shows that while they may not approve, they don't really mind, especially if it's an american or an israeli! We can argue about the reasons or the psychological rootcauses for that or whatever, but that still is the case unfortunately. Only recently have i been witnessing a change in that mindset, but i can't say that it applies to the whole population or the region. Whatever..

The point is, i am against this website and the people who contribute to it, for the same reason that i am against the vbideos of beheadings or executions of infidels and the Jihadies that make them. I guess the main differnce is that you can pressure the US army to stop those practcies or punish those who are doing those things, but who can you pressure to crack down and punish when it comes to the Jihadies?

Look, whetehr or not you believe it's a humanatarian mission or not, this doesn;t negate the fact that this is a war. Bad things happen. And unlike the US side, the other side can not be pressured, held accountable to rules and standards of civilized human beings or even punished for crossing the line. This is one of the reasons why I support the US side there, while you by attacking it encourage and embolden the other side, which i am sure you equally disagree with their practices. Demand those who did wrong to be punished and move on. End of story. No?

At 8/23/2005 04:36:00 AM, Anonymous Don Cox said...

"the human race (every single one of us, white, black, Arab, Jew) WE ALL SUCK."____That isn't true. Some people have more bad than good in their makeup. Most of the people I meet are more good than bad, and I know plenty of people who are definitely good and admirable. In spite of the impression given by the news media, psychopaths and criminals are in most counties a very small minority. A country which has suffered under a criminal regime, like Iraq< is likely to have a bigger proportion of bad people than usual - but even in Iraq, most people do not "suck".____(Unlike this comments editor, which doesn't allow paragraphs.)

At 8/23/2005 05:55:00 AM, Blogger Highlander said...

SM , thanks for the reply, I have moved on a long time ago, I am not surprised at the photos at all ...we all agreed this is war.

When I said 'we don't expect mercy' in my earlier post I meant all the Arabs/Muslims in the middle-east caught in a war zone not just the jihadist. And I literally meant anybody : a palestinian at a checkpoint or an Iraqi in his own home. When mercy is shown I'm grateful but think it is an anomaly because war SM is not a pretty sight no matter how cleaned up it is for the viewers on TV. I also do not expect justice and would not demand it (not in this life at least), in fact I don't even blame the soldiers, I am not outraged because they are following their job description and they are the best in the world. In fact I admire them because basically they are poweful and strong enough to get away with it. This is the best thing about having a great and powerful country, you don't have to worry about the 'niceties'. I am not being sarcastic here , I am genuinely admiring and in awe and would love to emulate this strenght one day, the political, the scientific , the economical and the military. Yes I would love that and wish every Arab would smarten up and keep this goal in perspective; bury the past and move on. This is the smart thing to do , right or wrong are not an option anymore only grey remains.

I guess I'm still depressed today alos so I'm seeing everything in a dark haze. hop online if you want to talk :(

Thank you for understanding my post in the correct context SM ..I knew you would.
I have not looked at the site, because i have seen stuff like that before (and some in real life - which gives me nightmares). The only small disagreement I have with you is that I do equate this site with the jihadi ones, because the jihadis are transnational movements and criminals, while the soldiers belong to a specific country with a respectable organisation and should have not better than to document their deeds and stoop to the so called level of the jihadis.

Orientalism, I have a feeling you understand me very well as well.

At 8/23/2005 06:51:00 AM, Blogger gatorbait said...

Orientalism and Highlander, when you two have the same shock and horror over deliberate murder of people by the jihadis, and I include members of the Pali Death cult in this, I'll take you seriously. Other than that, xin loi, mihn noi.

You have zero idea and frankly, anyone who takes us on as an enemy generally pays for it in spades. Those innocents ,and even prisoners , know ,however that GIs , 99.99% don't rape , torture or wantonly murder, unlike, say Sadr's "militias" or Arafat's kleptocracy.

Collecting human remains is indeed a part of it all. Somehow, you two, who seem to have a problem everytime the US does not kiss your asses , think your moral standard is higher? Okay, prove it, help rid the world of Hamas and Hizbollah and the Saddamite Ba'athists. Otherwise, piss up a rope.

It is a goddamn war, not one we were looking for, I might add . It was brought to us and by god, we will give it back to those who attacked us and those who backed the attackers.

Offended obver that site? Suck it up. Turn of al Jism and stop spouting death cult feigned outrage and you'll have a point. Prior to that, well, take a leap at a rolling doughnut.

At 8/23/2005 07:01:00 AM, Blogger CMAR II said...

You are right about the digital cameras in this war. My uncle fought hand to hand at Iwo Jima in WWII. I'm not going to repeat some of the things he saw US soldiers do to the bodies of killed Japanese enemy. We're talking about a large number of 18-23 yr old males. There's not much that they would joke about that would surprise me.

However, when anonymous says "Someone who supported the war, but gets turned off by images of war did not really support the war to begin with.", that's ridiculous.

I presume that the US military still censors the letters that US soldiers send home. They should be confiscating and reviewing the pictures of every soldier's camera as they come in from duty.

This is getting to be a real problem.

At 8/23/2005 08:03:00 AM, Blogger LouLou said...

"Someone who supported the war, but gets turned off by images of war did not really support the war to begin with."

So you support the war because war is an objective in itself?And you feel an obligation to keep supporting it even if it turns against the very principles it was supposedly being fought to uphold?

Interesting perspective that.

At 8/23/2005 08:23:00 AM, Anonymous highlander said...

Gatorbait, please do not get personal, I have not asked you to take me seriously at all and please refrain from associating me with jihadis. It would be wiser to re-read my post, you will find that I have expressed absolutely no shock , nor horror at the behaviour of the soldiers and that I have accepted it stock and barrel as 'normal' in war. So why are you mad all of a sudden ?

I don't think O was surprised either.

And I think CMARII has the correct attitude, digital cameras should be confiscated on the front to prevent that sort of thing, a hearsay is better than a damning proof even though it is akin to censorship, because let me repeat this, however deranged you think the individuals who made that website are, that sole act put them in the same basket as the jihadis we so despise unfortunately. Actually I'm not offended over that website tell me why should I. I may be sad , but certainly not offended.

Gatorbait, you are seeing enemies in this comment section where there are none, you are threatening people where there is no threat ( refusing to take anyone seriously unless they think exactly like you is one of them). To understand the 'other' you have to have a healthy debate, not a row, or resort to insults.

"It is a goddamn war"
- I agree
" not one we were looking for, I might add . It was brought to us"
- not quite true Gatorbait, that's stretching the story a bit no ? If we are talking about Iraq, they had nothing to do with you , but this has been critiqued ad nauseum by now.
- If you mean Palestine, then that business is with the Israelis not you also.

"and by god, we will give it back to those who attacked us and those who backed the attackers."
- if you are talking about 9/11 and other Bin Ladin attacks , then according to the intelligence reports by your own people , you know who are the perpetrators and where they come from. Do we really have to get into that again?

And one more thing Gatorbait, be polite and if you wish to address me in a foreign langage ( at least foreign to me) kindly put a translation next to it. That is common courtesy. Thank you.

At 8/23/2005 11:12:00 AM, Blogger programmer craig said...

Hi LouLou,

#And you feel an obligation to keep
#supporting it even if it turns
#against the very principles it was
#supposedly being fought to uphold?

The objective of any war is to WIN. I didn't support the Iraq war either, but I do now, because I want my country to win. It's just that simple. If the US loses in Iraq, everyone loses.

Speaking of which. O, if you had your way in Iraq, what would happen? The US would pull out tomorrow? And then when Iraq became a hell on earth (yes, things really could be worse in Iraq!) would that make you happy? Or would you then just blame the US for that too? Do you really hate the US so much that any amount of suffering is acceptable, to prove America wrong? I know in your own mind you probably don't think this is a postition you advocate, but that's the way it looks to me. I mean, really O, I wish you would tell us what the best case scenario, in your opinion, is. Then we could discuss it. As it is, I see 1000 criticisms and 0 solutions.

I was going to comment on that site, but I think it's better to comment on people's reactions to it. A lot (if not most) of the most gruesome of those pictures have no context. Some were obviosuly taken in hospitals for instance, and some date back to the Highway of Death north of Kuwait City in 1991! If you wanna be shocked, yeah, go look at the pics (they're pretty gross!) but you may not be looking at what the poster claims they are.

At 8/23/2005 11:20:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"So you support the war because war is an objective in itself?And you feel an obligation to keep supporting it even if it turns against the very principles it was supposedly being fought to uphold?"

With the obvious exception that many of those pictures are of body cleanup operations after a battle, and there are more than a few from the FIRST Gulf War. Really people. These aren't shots of US soldiers beheading people in their houses and raping children, or taking slaves of the vanquished population. They are war images. They aren't posted on a site that is respectful to the fact that they are war images - they are on a gross out site. That lightens the magnitude of these images significantly, which isn't right.

But please - the fact that US soldiers kill people in war doesn't mean that their cause isn't just, or that the 'very principles' of the war are betrayed.

War is hell. Every war is hell. The pictures that you see in the media are sanitized and they make war look clean, methodical and precise. It isn't. It's rough, bloody, painful and traumatizing - but that's what it is. They are the things that people back at home aren't supposed to see because the people back at home don't want to see reality.

At 8/23/2005 03:29:00 PM, Blogger ritzy said...

Wow, this has been a great discussion, glad I could contribute. Most points has already been answered and for the larger issue I'll throw in my two cents later on why I think the good news from this war is over.

Just a few things I didn't see coming up in the discussion:

anon -- re. violent writings in Islam; there are plenty of such references in the new and old testament, it doesn't make a difference

orientalism -- the surprise factor is the way this is pornography for them; and to this extent; and after abu gharib

kat -- yes that is what we expect from other human beings, soldiers or not. it might not be easy at all times but there are limits; a pornographic joy in scattered brains is when you should be discharged without honor. period.

don cox -- are you saying that since other countries have shitheads too and since they probably outnumber our shitheads relatively it is ok to be a shithead?

highlander -- you should expect justice and you should be able to tell the difference between right and wrong and so should every soldier.

p craig -- thanks for the info on the pictures origing, I hope we will see more on the net of that soon

At 8/23/2005 04:09:00 PM, Anonymous highlander said...

ritzy: I do not expect justice from an occupation why the heartache? Do you think you would get justice from them? I would love to but I'm not counting on it.

Unfortunately I can tell right from wrong, but it is only a noble soldier who would do the right thing when he/she is all powerful. In this war the side which has the most power is the one which dictates what is right and what is wrong. A soldier's job description is to fight a war and preferably win it . Fighting entitles killing your opponent basically. Consequently it means killing is right in this context. Now we know the injunction 'thou shall not kill' . Right or wrong ..you tell me? I see a a lot of grey areas . The same analogy goes for the jihadist as well about killing. The only difference is that the military have a licence to kill, the jihadist have taken the matter in their own hands.

By the way I like your site too since SM introduced you to us . All the best .

SM , so sorry for my long threads , I keep telling myself to write 2 lines only but it never works ...yalla maybe I'll take a break from reading blogs or just be a silent reader for a while.

At 8/23/2005 11:12:00 PM, Blogger Orientalism said...

"It is a goddamn war, not one we were looking for, I might add"

I think gatorbate lives on a diffrent planet or somthing, or at least he is watching a diffrent war than I am watching. As for the doughnut comment, well...it speaks for itself and doesnt warant a reply.


The thoery that Iraq will decend into mayhem if you leave doesnt hold much sway with me, it is circulated by war apologists as an excuse for staying, if you look at Iraq historically, you will find incredible cooperation that trancends sectarianism(Iraq post the treaty of sevres), it was the colonists then,England, that actually played divide and rule.

My advice to you is, dont believe all that you see in mass media. There is alot of shiite-sunni cooperation in the insurgency, and its only going to get worse. Leaving will look like a pretty good option given some time. One more thing, you slighlty misunderstand me, I am actually just against the war and the current U.S admn, I actually finished highschool in the states and still have family and friends there whome i love very much, and they mostly agree with me on this issue, trust me i dont drive around screaming death to the great satan, it just baffles me how a country that was a beacon of freedom one day, would resort to these low acts.

At 8/24/2005 01:21:00 AM, Blogger programmer craig said...


#My advice to you is, dont believe
#all that you see in mass media.

You had the impression that I did?

I really can't see any difference between Iraq right now and Afghanistan before the Soviets pulled out. I have no reason to believe that Iraq's fate would be any different than Afhganistan's was in the 90s. It seems to me that exactly the same elements (thugs, mujahedeen, gangsters, warlords, etc) are vying for power in Iraq right now, and if the US withdraws, I don't know who would stop them from taking it.

You may be right. I hope we won't find out which of us is right. I don't really care about all the talk about how great America was in the past, and how we've blown it, etc... I was serving in the military overseas for most of Reagan's presidency, and there were a lot of people saying the same things then. That kind of talk moves me neither one way or the other. I couldn't even make a good guess about how many times I heard an ALLY call Ronald Reagan a warmonger. And, you know, in my book, that means being a warmonger president is a good thing. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, France.

At 8/24/2005 01:45:00 AM, Blogger programmer craig said...

O, thank you for explaining your position on America, btw. Sorry if I seemed to blow it off. It was the general commentary about how America has suddenly become bad and evil that I've heard so much of in recent years that I was directing my comments towards.

I really think the only reason that US allies didn't (openly) oppose past Presidents during the Cold War, was that they needed America then. Now, they feel like they don't. When that changes (and it will) you just wait and see how fast our former allies get in line to become our present allies. Not that I would expect personal opinions such as yours to change, because they won't... but government policy will.

Hypothetical question here, O... if the US did pull out of Iraq, and it did get... bad... what would you suggest then? I'm asking, because I'm not as convinced the US won't pull out as I was a few weeks ago.

At 8/24/2005 07:04:00 PM, Blogger Orientalism said...

Craig, no need to apologize, I think we are on the same book, but diffrent pages:)

If the U.S gets out, leave it to the Iraqi's to sort it out, its thier own country. Shiites and Sunis have a history of co-existance spanning centuries, I dont see how they couldnt co-exist now. Arab countries that helped covertly with the invasion (Egypt,Qatar etc etc) can play a role in actually helping the Iraqi's , instead of just legitimizing the occupation with ambasador's and logisital support and so on. The wild card in this equation is the Kurds, becuase they are closer to thier goal than ever before in thier history, and frankly, good on them, I hate to be oppresed for most of my people's history.In my view, Kurdistan will be declared in our lifetime or the next, Turkey permiting or not. As for the rest of Iraq, my bet will be on the shiites and the sunnis sharing power. Again, me and you, and indeed everyone else on this blog can hypothesise, but no one really can tell what exatly will happen. I lean towards the shiites and sunniis cooperating, as they are doing now covertly in the insurgency, exchanging inteligence and technical know how.

At 8/25/2005 10:42:00 PM, Anonymous clnsmi said...

How can you expect people to be exposed to violence and gore and not become desensitized to it? What's so unique about US soldiers? Read any war memoirs from any soldiers from any war.


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