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A Mystery That Surpasseth All Understanding
Posted by: Dale Franks on Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Germans are shocked, apparently, to be the intended targets of an Islamist bombing plot.
A Lebanese student suspected of planting a train bomb that failed to explode had contacts in Hamburg, authorities said Tuesday, the latest link to the northern port city where three of the Sept. 11 suicide pilots prepared for their attacks.

The planned attack here stunned Germans who thought the country's vehement opposition to the Iraq war would insulate it from becoming a terror target almost five years after the attacks on Washington and New York.
Yes. It's utterly incomprehensible. What possible reason could Islamists have for bombing Germany?

Germany is also seen as being on the side of the U.S. and Britain, despite its opposition to the Iraq war, for helping train Iraqi police and military outside the country, taking a large role in operations in Afghanistan, and making other contributions to the so-called "war on terror," he said.
Ah. Mystery solved. It's Germany's aggressive, anti-Islamic policies that are to blame. I just knew it had to be Germany's fault, somehow.

I'm very glad we were able to clear that up.
 
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If not the policies of the countries in question, what else would it be? Are terrorists randomly drawing names out of a hat and attacking those countries?

And if they are attacking Germany for the policies of the German government, how does that make it Germany’s "fault"? If I walked into a bar in Alabama and said "Lynyrd Skynyrd kinda sucks", I may get beat up. The person attacking me would be doing so because of my statement, but that hardly makes it ’my fault’.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
You could forcefully evacuate Israel, pull out of Iraq, release all muslims jailed worldwide, give them the entire continent of Africa and to them you would still be an infidel that must be destroyed if you were not singing the praises of allah.

I’m not saying they don’t choose there targets based on the nations political agenda but when is the last time you seen one of the extremist say "sorry we misunderstood the koran and nonmuslims are no longer infidels"?
 
Written By: Mac
URL: http://
Are terrorists randomly drawing names out of a hat and attacking those countries?
As best as I can tell, they’re attacking or trying to attack any Western country (or their citizens) they can get to. Canada. France. Germany. Britain. Spain. Australia. Italy.

Israel, of course. Plus, for good measure Russia. I heard Iran attacked some Romanians just yesterday. Wonder what it is about Romania they don’t like? I mean, except that they’re infidels.

Heck, they even attack other Muslims that are insufficiently fanatic.

Now I suppose in an abstract sense, it’s the policies of the countries that cause the attacks. In the sense of having a policy not to bow down and surrender to Islamic fundamentalists.

Now granted it would be pretty stupid of the terrorists to randomly attack neutral countries such as most of South America, especially if their impact is limited. So your point that foreign policy matters is true in a sense.

But that’s a rather trivial point, and I don’t think you’d be harping on it if that was all you meant. So what do you mean? Are you saying that there is some foreign policy that we could implement (or perhaps should have implemented in the past) that would mollify them so they would not attack? If so, can you spell out what that policy would be?

Are you trying to make the case that it’s only our behavior that causes the conflict? If so, I believe you are profoundly misunderstanding their motivations. But at least we would understand your point, even if we disagreed with it.

If it’s not your intent to suggest changes for foreign policy, or suggest some kind of changes in behavior that would lead to less conflict, why do you keep bringing it up?
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
"how does that make it Germany’s "fault"?
I took that as being sarcasm for the reason the article gave nonchalantly as if it was somehow valid.

I’m sure the Anti-Iraq war advocates in Germany will adopt it as the reason and something they will want to change to further capitulate avoid attacks.

 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
Let us suppose we could avoid ALL terror attacks on US soil by appeasement. Would you then advocate that position?
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
Billy;

A point well made, though I think Dale’s sarcasm got by you.

As to the rest, I note with interest how the name of Neville Chamberlain keeps getting forgotten, in many discussons about this topic.






 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
Wonder what it is about Romania they don’t like?
There was a commercial dispute over an oil rig. You’re reaching. In every other case, the countries were engaged in actions that the jihadists perceived as detrimental to their interests.
Now I suppose in an abstract sense, it’s the policies of the countries that cause the attacks. In the sense of having a policy not to bow down and surrender to Islamic fundamentalists.
Billy, you’re a smart fellow, so I’m sure you must not believe that the jihadists are attacking Western countries in an attempt to punish them for being non-Muslims. If that were the case, they’d be equally likely to attack, e.g., China and Paraguay as the US and Britain. Nor can they be attacking western countries in an attempt to convert them, either, because...well, that would be stupid.

It’s not difficult to figure it out. I mean, they reveal their reasons for attacking the specific nations publicly and repeatedly.
Are you trying to make the case that it’s only our behavior that causes the conflict?
"Only"? No.
If it’s not your intent to suggest changes for foreign policy, or suggest some kind of changes in behavior that would lead to less conflict, why do you keep bringing it up?
Comprehension. It’s important to understand the psychological motivations of our enemies, rather than constructing ridiculous, cartoonish images of Muslim terrorist groups who attack to convert people to Islam.
Let us suppose we could avoid ALL terror attacks on US soil by appeasement. Would you then advocate that position?
Not necessarily. If we had to cede our vital interests to stop the attacks, I would not support it. If we could stop all attacks by ceding something utterly unimportant, it might be worth consideration. I don’t believe such a negotiation would be possible, though. Terrorist groups may be allied with, and supplied by various states, but they are non-State actors.

Again, many of you seem to be confusing "their motivation" with "our fault". The two are distinct.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
Right, I dont think you’re looking at what Jon is saying. The terrorists are mainly motivated by our foreign policy. Thats not saying it’s our fault anymore than if I shoot some guy because I didn’t like the way he tipped his hat to me, would be saying it was the guys fault. I shoot him because of something he did, but I’d still be guilty of murder.
 
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
Or it could be they don’t attack China because it’s too obvious who they are while they’re there....pick another country that doesn’t watch foreigners quite as carefully will ya?

and they don’t attack Paraguay because, well frankly, no one in the 1st world would give a rat’s back side about it.
Same reason they don’t blow up small huts on hillsides in the Alps instead of trying to blow up trains in Germany, just not enough buck for the bang.

It’s about the attention too, right? How glorious is it to blow up a bus in Paraguay?

Then again, I have to agree, Paraguay and China aren’t exactly marching in the Global War on Terror parade so policy is certainly a big factor.

No place in Western Europe is immune, it’s not just about foreign policy, it’s about culture too, and China and Paraguay aren’t any danger at the moment to Islamic culture are they.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
If your foreign policy does not appeal to psychotic, nutjobs, with a superiority complex and a deathwish and terrorism is all your fault as you are wilfully disrespecting of the views of psychotic, nutjobs, with a superiority complex and a deathwish when you formulate the policy.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
If we could stop all attacks by ceding something utterly unimportant
Would they settle for something utterly unimportant> And if so, what if they start deciding that more and more things are important. I guess there is a line somewhere.

I am curious what the unimportant things are. Would it be muslim womans’s rights, gay rights, etc? Is it a matter of suppressing our own national discussion of them?
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
looker,
China is attacked. You might be safe with Paraguay though.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
Billy, you’re a smart fellow, so I’m sure you must not believe that the jihadists are attacking Western countries in an attempt to punish them for being non-Muslims. If that were the case, they’d be equally likely to attack, e.g., China and Paraguay as the US and Britain.
If history is a guide, they’ll get around to that.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
Capt Joe
Would they settle for something utterly unimportant> And if so, what if they start deciding that more and more things are important. I guess there is a line somewhere.

I am curious what the unimportant things are. Would it be muslim womans’s rights, gay rights, etc? Is it a matter of suppressing our own national discussion of them?
You are reading to much into jon’s reply. Think critically and don’t ascribe motives to Jon which arent there. He said if it would stop all attacks then maybe, and then goes on to say why that’s unlikely. Yes, giving them something probably wouldnt stop attacks, but it was a hypothetical. For the sake of argument he was supposing if it would stop all attacks, then maybe. He agrees with you, I’m not sure why some of you are arguing.
 
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
It’s important to understand the psychological motivations of our enemies, rather than constructing ridiculous, cartoonish images of Muslim terrorist groups who attack to convert people to Islam.
Well, I’ve been advising people to read stuff like Civilization and Its Enemies (Lee Harris) for a long time, and I don’t seem much similarity between his views and "ridiculous, cartoonish images of Muslim terrorist groups who attack to convert people to Islam". And if that’s the impression you’ve gotten from my views, then there’s a real disconnect.

This post, in fact, talks about the subject from a viewpoint that is much closer to the Lee Harris model, in which modern influences are seen by fundamentalist Muslims as very threatening to their religion and way of life.

This is all part and parcel fo the same phenomenon. It’s worth noting that a desirable long term goal of the terrorists is indeed domination of the world by Islam. It’s part of their religious beliefs that they are destined for such a role. In large measure, it is that belief which conflicts with the real world fact that it’s the West that dominates the world culturally, militarily, etc. Globalization is the way that conflict gets imposed upon them.

And that clash of belief against reality is one of the major forces in their motivation according to Harris (and I think that rings true). It incites them to damage the West in any fashion they can find, hoping to change the equation. Bin Laden thought the 9/11 attacks would cause the West’s economy to crumble, for example. Then the West would be weak enough to no longer be an effective challenge to their desire to first form a unified Caliphate as a major step towards elevating Islam to its destined dominance.

When I refer to their desire for Islam to dominate the world in shorthand, without the above explanation, you may regard it as cartoonish. But if you listen to what fanatics like Ahmadinejad actually say, it’s simply part of their psychology.

So if you really differentiate between "their motivation" and "our fault", this explanation should fit right in. Understanding "their motivation" certainly requires understanding something of their religious aims.

And if "their motivation" requires them to hate our actions, even though those actions are a natural part of being a Western, free, open, democratic society, then it’s no longer productive, as far as I’m concerned, to cast this whole conflict in terms of "they hate us because of what we do". If their motivation is as I believe it to be (and Harris, and Barnett, and plenty of others), then a far better summary is "they hate us because of who we are".

Using that conceptual framework, going on about details of how our foreign policy upsets them is pointless at this stage of the conflict. Of course it upsets them. It promotes a globalized, prosperous, semi-Westernized world in which their religion loses relative influence.

That doesn’t mean we never care what anybody in the region thinks. We might get to a point with specific Islamic groups in the region at which details do matter. I fact, I think we already take into account what the Turks want. I could certainly see modifying details of our foreign policy to satisfy the Kurds. We might be getting close to that point with the Afghanis.

But that point can only come after the fundamentalist elements within that group have faded to relative insignificance. Until then, realizing that there’s nothing we can do short of abject surrender that will satisfy the fundamentalists, focusing on specific actions that anger them seems pointless to me.

Oh, sure, they’ll take whatever concessions they can get, and a sufficiently clever concession might actually calm a specific front in the conflict for a short period. But it’s inherent in the motivation I discussed above to regard any concession by the enemy as proof that Allah wants them to win, so they draw strength from it. That makes concern about our actions actually counter-productive. Better to project strength and willpower, because that’s the only way to get any grudging respect from them, and hope to eventually get to the point where most of them give up their grandiose aims.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
The terrorists are mainly motivated by our foreign policy.
What forign policy would that be? Aiding Muslims in the Balkins? Helping Somali Muslims fend off starvation? Helping Afgans fight the Soviet invaders? Protecting Saudi Arabia and Kuwait from Saddam?

And what has Islamic terror bought? Destruction of the Taliban, decimation of al Quada, the invasion of Iraq.

Any rational analysis of US policy hardly concludes that US policy is consistently anti-Islamic. Furthermore, US forign policy has typically had a light footprint in the region.

Furthermore, any rational cost-benifit analysis doesn’t favor Islamic terror attacks against the US. At least, not if the goal is effecting US forign policy.

There are much more likely answers than "forign policy", but they don’t fit Jon’s thesis, and he would rather slay the strawman of "ridiculous, cartoonish images of Muslim terrorist groups who attack to convert people to Islam."
In every other case, the countries were engaged in actions that the jihadists perceived as detrimental to their interests.
As they no doubt judged the US during that Barbery Pirates thing, and as they no doubt judge Spain (which they still claim).

No Jon, they don’t necessarly want to convert us all; but they won’t stop for anything short of submission, and they are enraged by the superiority of Western culture.

As long as we remain economically, technologically, and militarly superior, they will hate us. They are the leading edge of a militristic religion that demands submission, but has found itself in a state of submission. Their hatred of us is rooted in envy and feelings of inferiority.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Billy Hollis nailed it down good and hard in his last post.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
He agrees with you, I’m not sure why some of you are arguing.

Written By: ChrisB
He doesn’t grasp the motivation of Islamic terrorists, consequently his conclusions are generally flawed. The fact that he might agree with one point or another is basically moot.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
I will split the difference. I agree with Jon that aspects of our foreign policy explain why we are the primary target, however, that in no way implies that minus the foreign policy, or success, or power we would not be a target, because ultimately Billy does have a point.

By the way, there have been attacks in South America, China and just about everywhere. In fact we are still one of the least hit (in number of attacks) places in the world.

I have certainly been arguing against cartoonish portrayals of Muslims, but many jihadists are cartoonish, in the same way that watching and listening to Hitler is now bizarre to us. He is cartoonish as well. Mussolini and Stalin and many others can be cartoonish. Anyway, I found a recent interview with the cleric Abu Bakar Bashir and I would like to know how we are supposed to view what he is saying as anything but cartoonish, and terrifyingly so.

I see your point Jon, but the "they hate us for who we are" part fits in there as well.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
Lance
I see your point Jon, but the "they hate us for who we are" part fits in there as well.
Yep, it would be foolish not to.
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
I will split the difference. I agree with Jon that aspects of our foreign policy explain why we are the primary target, however, that in no way implies that minus the foreign policy, or success, or power we would not be a target, because ultimately Billy does have a point.
Lance, one thing that made us a hated target of bin Laden was when the Saudi government chose the US military over bin Laden’s band of Merry Men as defenders against Saddam. So it is certain that our policy impacts their decisions. That’s not at question.

However, hating the country that defended your country—because it defended your country and stationed troops there—suggests he would hate us no matter what. I understand that in some sense we are wounding their pride when we defend them. But you would expect them to be mature enough to at least hide that fact in public.

What underlies bin Laden’s hatred in this case is the fact that it was infidels defending Islam’s most sacred sites, and that the True Defenders of Islam were weak and impotent (how well would al Quada’s light infantry stood off Saddam’s T-72s? I suspect the Muslim Brotherhood’s experience in Syria points to the answer).

Our defense of several Islamic nations no doubt made us a higher priority target. But the real reason for the hate lies deeper. And the irrational ties between the hatred and forign policy make any and all policy decisions a coin toss with respect to the reaction of the Islamic world. Feeding them, arming them, protecting them, whatever we do—it’s a cause for hate.

 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
I will split the difference. I agree with Jon that aspects of our foreign policy explain why we are the primary target, however, that in no way implies that minus the foreign policy, or success, or power we would not be a target, because ultimately Billy does have a point.
Lance, one thing that made us a hated target of bin Laden was when the Saudi government chose the US military over bin Laden’s band of Merry Men as defenders against Saddam. So it is certain that our policy impacts their decisions. That’s not at question.

However, hating the country that defended your country—because it defended your country and stationed troops there—suggests he would hate us no matter what. I understand that in some sense we are wounding their pride when we defend them. But you would expect them to be mature enough to at least hide that fact in public.

What underlies bin Laden’s hatred in this case is the fact that it was infidels defending Islam’s most sacred sites, and that the True Defenders of Islam were weak and impotent (how well would al Quada’s light infantry stood off Saddam’s T-72s? I suspect the Muslim Brotherhood’s experience in Syria points to the answer).

Our defense of several Islamic nations no doubt made us a higher priority target. But the real reason for the hate lies deeper. And the irrational ties between the hatred and forign policy make any and all policy decisions a coin toss with respect to the reaction of the Islamic world. Feeding them, arming them, protecting them, whatever we do—it’s a cause for hate.

 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
I see your point Jon, but the "they hate us for who we are" part fits in there as well.
Indeed. I do not dispute that.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
Our defense of several Islamic nations no doubt made us a higher priority target. But the real reason for the hate lies deeper. And the irrational ties between the hatred and forign policy make any and all policy decisions a coin toss with respect to the reaction of the Islamic world. Feeding them, arming them, protecting them, whatever we do—it’s a cause for hate.

If hate is even the right word. For the true believer (of any religion), the existance of secularists poses a problem. They can understand fanatics who believe in something different than their own fanaticism, but they cannot understand tolerance. It’s completely off their radar.

That is just one of the many problems inherent in basing your world view on a single book. No matter what that book is, it’s not going to be large enough to encompass the whole world. Not the Koran. Not the Torah. Not Sun-Tzu’s little wonder. Nor Mao’s. Not the Bible. The Uppanishads - assuming they make sense to you - not them either.

No one book can be the basis of a reality which includes people who do not believe in it. So either the book is wrong - which you’ve been taught since you learned to speak is impossible - or the people aren’t really people, but manifestations of evil which need destroying.

That’s not (just) Islam. It is or has been every major organized religion.

That’s the crux of the philosophical battle we’re fighting right now. Not whether this country or that should be ruled by this dictator or that, but whether fundamentalism of any breed has a place in an integrated Earth. Realizing that goes a long way towards explaining American ambivalence about this war to me. Because this nation hasn’t *quite* decided that "freedom of religion" includes "freedom from religion." Not legally, not emotionally.

No citations, no references - just an opinion.

-Gil
 
Written By: Gil
URL: http://
No citations, no references - just an opinion.
Not exactly the sort of thing you can get stats on. But I’m in general agreement.

And I consider this issue of the general role of religion in society to be much bigger than most folks seem to. Trivialities such as the debate over intelligent design are indicators that there’s more disagreement about religion under the surface than most people want to think about.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Indeed. I do not dispute that.


Heh, but acting as if you did let me point out they can be cartoonish as well;>)
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
That is just one of the many problems inherent in basing your world view on a single book. No matter what that book is, it’s not going to be large enough to encompass the whole world.
The problem is that the Koran is literaly the word of God. The Bible was inspired by God, but written by man, and consequently can contain mistakes, etc. At least that’s my understanding of the issue, and the current Pope has discussed this problem with respect to Islam, which has one book that’s "perfect".
That’s not (just) Islam. It is or has been every major organized religion.
But it is Islam that is the religion of the vast majority of terrorists.
That’s the crux of the philosophical battle we’re fighting right now. Not whether this country or that should be ruled by this dictator or that, but whether fundamentalism of any breed has a place in an integrated Earth.
Why "of any breed". I only see one "breed" causing trouble.
Realizing that goes a long way towards explaining American ambivalence about this war to me.
Not to me: the people opposing the war and who don’t want to support Israel are mostly the left, with the anti-semetic right thrown in. America’s religious folks (excepting the leftist religious types), including most of the more "fundamentalist" Christian types, support the war and Israel by overwhelming margins.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Point One:
"Overwhelming" being the operative word.

Christian vs. Muslim - a new Crusade <- America’s religious folks ... including most of the more "fundamentalist" Christian types

Democracy vs. Totalitarianism <- moderate conservatives

Peace at any cost <- mostly on the left

My use of the word ambivalence is carefully chosen.

Point Two:
"Of any breed" because the only logical aftermath of a WOT which focuses on the terrorists’ creed is an increasingly rapid slide towards domestic theocracy, leading to domestic conflict between "our" fundamentalists and "our" moderates. Haven’t you noticed the line between church and state blurring since 9/11?

Point Three:
The problem is that the Koran is literaly the word of God. The Bible was inspired by God, but written by man, and consequently can contain mistakes, etc. At least that’s my understanding of the issue, and the current Pope has discussed this problem with respect to Islam, which has one book that’s "perfect".

God creates universes, not books. The "problem" is the ridiculous notion that spiritual awareness and adherence to religious corporate dogma are somehow inextricably linked, rather than antithesis. The "problem" is that otherwise intelligent people can’t see the inherent inconsistency in people who at one and the same time claim the mind of God is unknowable, and claim to know how God wants you to behave.

The "problem" is the sheer idiocy of people who think that all we have to do to defeat terrorism is to conquer the muslims - Glory, glory Hallelujah! and I’ll see you in the church on Sunday. The "problem" is that racism and religion are so contemptiously compatible.

Religious Right, there’s an agnostic on the range - take your best shot.

-Gil
 
Written By: Gil
URL: http://
God creates universes, not books.
Perhaps he creates books, too.
The "problem" is the ridiculous notion that spiritual awareness and adherence to religious corporate dogma are somehow inextricably linked, rather than antithesis.
Over 1 billion muslims disagree.
The "problem" is the sheer idiocy of people who think that all we have to do to defeat terrorism is to conquer the muslims
Actually, the problem is that Muslims engage in terror against the West. Few in the West are clear on how to deal with it, but "conquer the muslims" isn’t an answer I’ve heard, unless you take some Ann Coulter quotes literally.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Perhaps he creates books, too.

Or perhaps "create a problem only you can solve" isn’t a new idea when it comes to controlling people.

Actually, the problem is that Muslims engage in terror against the West.

Wrong. Terrorists propped up by totalitarian regimes engage in terror against the West. But thanks for illustrating my point about the dangers of being unable to grasp nuanced information.
 
Written By: Gil
URL: http://
God creates universes, not books.
Perhaps he creates books, too.
The "problem" is the ridiculous notion that spiritual awareness and adherence to religious corporate dogma are somehow inextricably linked, rather than antithesis.
Over 1 billion muslims disagree.
The "problem" is the sheer idiocy of people who think that all we have to do to defeat terrorism is to conquer the muslims
Actually, the problem is that Muslims engage in terror against the West. Few in the West are clear on how to deal with it, but "conquer the muslims" isn’t an answer I’ve heard, unless you take some Ann Coulter quotes literally.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Wrong. Terrorists propped up by totalitarian regimes engage in terror against the West. But thanks for illustrating my point about the dangers of being unable to grasp nuanced information.
The "problem" is the sheer idiocy of people who think that all we have to do to defeat terrorism is to conquer the muslims
So, the idea that without exception the terrorist problems that we’ve been dealing with for the past twenty years or so, from that part of the world, are steeped in Islam somehow is inconsequential to you?
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
Of course it is. Because what these guys are selling - hate, fear, jealousy, easy answers, money for lip service - that’s not Islam. It’s plain and simple pandering. We’ve had plenty of people who practiced the same art hailing from christian origins, from atheist positions, from whatever small subset.

It’s racism. Dress it up, elect it to power, take it out to dinner, get lucky with it in the back seat - it’s still racism. It’s still people with so little personal self image that they have to glorify the group they belong to in order to feel worthy of breath. Its people so small they cannot build anything of value, so they look around and try to figure out what they can destroy.

Sure, the racists who concern us most right now happen to be trying to legitamize themselves with a veneer of Islam. But I don’t buy it, and neither should any thinking person. If you really believe that Islam is the problem, try this little thought experiment: Compare the speeches of Oral Roberts with the speeches of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. If you can’t draw parallels, you’re not even half trying.

-Gil
 
Written By: Gil
URL: http://
- that’s not Islam
I suggest that there are a goodly number of the followers of Islam who will disagree with you. (Snort)

And as for your attempt to draw parallels, it is rejected, out of hand. Tell me something; how many beheadings in the name of Christ have you seen recently?

You seem to be suffering under the misinformation that all religions are equal, and the natural extension to that misbegotten idea all cultures are equal.

They are not.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com

 
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