America’s military complex is out of control


by Sunny
20th July, 2010 at 10:05 am    

I know it sounds like I’m making excuses for Obama’s unwillingness to keep to his promises on counter-terrorism. Maybe I am. But here is a sobering though: America’s military-industrial complex is out of control.
That’s the only conclusion you can derive from reading this detailed Washington Post investigation. Here are their headline findings:

* Some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States.

* An estimated 854,000 people, nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington, D.C., hold top-secret security clearances.

* In Washington and the surrounding area, 33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since September 2001. Together they occupy the equivalent of almost three Pentagons or 22 U.S. Capitol buildings – about 17 million square feet of space.

* Many security and intelligence agencies do the same work, creating redundancy and waste. For example, 51 federal organizations and military commands, operating in 15 U.S. cities, track the flow of money to and from terrorist networks.

* Analysts who make sense of documents and conversations obtained by foreign and domestic spying share their judgment by publishing 50,000 intelligence reports each year – a volume so large that many are routinely ignored.

These are not academic issues; lack of focus, not lack of resources, was at the heart of the Fort Hood shooting that left 13 dead, as well as the Christmas Day bomb attempt thwarted not by the thousands of analysts employed to find lone terrorists but by an alert airline passenger who saw smoke coming from his seatmate.

They are also issues that greatly concern some of the people in charge of the nation’s security.

“There has been so much growth since 9/11 that getting your arms around that – not just for the DNI [Director of National Intelligence], but for any individual, for the director of the CIA, for the secretary of defense – is a challenge,” Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said in an interview with The Post last week.

In the Department of Defense, where more than two-thirds of the intelligence programs reside, only a handful of senior officials – called Super Users – have the ability to even know about all the department’s activities. But as two of the Super Users indicated in interviews, there is simply no way they can keep up with the nation’s most sensitive work.

“I’m not going to live long enough to be briefed on everything” was how one Super User put it. The other recounted that for his initial briefing, he was escorted into a tiny, dark room, seated at a small table and told he couldn’t take notes. Program after program began flashing on a screen, he said, until he yelled ”Stop!” in frustration.

“I wasn’t remembering any of it,” he said.

That shit is scary.

All I can say is that lefties get easily frustrated with Obama not keeping his promises. They have a right to. But after reading that I can’t say I’m surprised.

What Bush did was create the conditions and infrastructure for a situation that makes it almost impossible for any US President to keep control of national security. In that environment it makes it impossible for him even to be a dove. The only way out is for Obama to tear this entire operation down.


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  1. sunny hundal

    Blog post:: America's military complex is out of control http://bit.ly/av1yUF


  2. Leon Green

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blog post:: America's military complex is out of control http://bit.ly/av1yUF


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    RT @sunny_hundal: Blog post:: America's military complex is out of control http://bit.ly/av1yUF




  1. Adam Ramsay — on 20th July, 2010 at 10:16 am  

    I always think Eisenhower’s farewell speech as president is worth remembering: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8y06NSBBRtY

  2. cjcjc — on 20th July, 2010 at 10:18 am  

    I agree

    Looks as though that public choice theory might have a point, eh?

  3. bananabrain — on 20th July, 2010 at 10:19 am  

    In that environment it makes it impossible for him even to be a dove. The only way out is for Obama to tear this entire operation down.

    i don’t think you’re living in the real world of american grand strategy. there are many other options open to him, none i dare say as satisfying to the average guardian-reader, but then again obama, dovish though he may appear, is hardly your average guardian-reader in terms of his opinions.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  4. Kismet Hardy — on 20th July, 2010 at 10:35 am  

    Back in the rave days, when the crim justice bill killed it for all us and we had no option other than to go to overpriced venues suddenly manned by ‘security’, they were there to bully, intimidate, alienate and rob the masses, NOT to protect

  5. joe90 — on 20th July, 2010 at 12:56 pm  

    We all know the senators and their business interests are making money from military and security contracts so this monster will continue to expand and grow. This is all about making money for a few with the american tax payer paying the bill.

  6. Naadir Jeewa — on 20th July, 2010 at 1:22 pm  

    @2 Oh my god, I’m going to agree with cjcjc for once.

    I guess there’s a reason why public choice theory is so dominant in the US though.

  7. bananabrain — on 20th July, 2010 at 1:34 pm  

    This is all about making money for a few with the american tax payer paying the bill.

    er… on the contrary, it’s about the american taxpayer getting his job from the fat defence contract that his local senator or congressman manages to convince the contractor to place in his district. this is pork-barrel politics. it’s using public money to create jobs – i thought you lot would be all in favour of that.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  8. douglas clark — on 20th July, 2010 at 1:48 pm  

    bananabrain,

    What, exactly, is the ‘grand strategy’ of which you speak?

    I think the folks of Auchtermuchty should be told ;-)

  9. Sunny — on 20th July, 2010 at 1:48 pm  

    but then again obama, dovish though he may appear, is hardly your average guardian-reader in terms of his opinions.

    You mean like when he said America would stop extraordinary rendition or stop trying to deprive ‘enemy combatants’ of the law?

    I know you like to use ‘guardian reading’ as some sort of an insult – but try reading what I’m saying bananabrain and not just being so damn reactionary all the time.

  10. douglas clark — on 20th July, 2010 at 1:54 pm  

    Sunny,

    bananabrain has to answer the straightforward question about what he sees the USA’s ‘grand strategy’ being.

    It is not in the slightest bit obvious that there is a ‘grand strategy’ nor that bananabrain is the recepticle of it, should it exist. Why would a North Londoner be privy to Washington secrets?

    Just sayin’

  11. douglas clark — on 20th July, 2010 at 1:59 pm  

    Oops,

    If I remember correctly, Chairwoman made the point that calling someone a ‘North Londoner’ was to call someone a Jew.

    If that is the case, then I apologise. I am quite willing to take bananabrain on on the basis of his arguements, and I would never deliberately diss him.

  12. john — on 20th July, 2010 at 2:36 pm  

    douglas clark
    “If I remember correctly, Chairwoman made the point that calling someone a ‘North Londoner’ was to call someone a Jew.’

    Nice to know you are so sensitive. Over at Harrys Place they publish articles written by people with racist , anti-semitic names like ” Abu Wannabe Arab” (wouldnt they object if someone posted as “Hymie Wanabee Jew”?)

    http://hurryupharry.org/2010/07/19/hizb-ut-tahrirs-campaign-continues-to-crumble/

  13. douglas clark — on 20th July, 2010 at 3:27 pm  

    john,

    I can’t stand Harry’s Place. I’d rather they didn’t come on here trying to justify themselves. I might make an exception for David T, who appears not to be a crazy. Brownie, however ;-(

    I do, however, quite like bananbrain, who used to be quite witty on here. And, to be honest, we need that.

    This used to be a place where Jewish folk could talk to Arab folk and, ever so occasionally, find common ground.

    It is to Sunnys’ credit that he did try to provide a platform like that. Sadly, it was abused….

    Least, that’s what I think.

  14. douglas clark — on 20th July, 2010 at 3:37 pm  

    Still, bananabrain has some talking to do to explain his ideas about Americas ‘grand strategy’.

    I suspect he hasn’t a clue. He just wrote it in order to appear brilliant.

  15. Naadir Jeewa — on 20th July, 2010 at 5:30 pm  

    A very good contribution at the International Relations blog The Duck of Minerva from Jon Western:

    “But here’s the problem: there are powerful structural forces that entrench and perpetuate this system: private security firms and commercial defense industries with powerful economic motives are coupled with epistemic communities that provide the ideological justifications for the system; personnel systems that encourage/allow tight relationships and/or revolving doors between government agencies and private firms; and, massive bureaucracies that expand and adapt to new roles and missions, etc…. In addition, once the system grows as big as it is, there is a diffusion effect. For example, stimulus money is being used to construct not only new security facilities, but also to construct the infrastructure (roads, communications lines, and other municipal services) to support those facilities). This isn’t just about security, its also about jobs… Today’s “anti-statists” are not really anti-statist — for example, they are farmers who oppose Obama”s “socialism” but demand agricultural subsidies — they are seniors concerned about ObamaCare because of how it might affect Medicare or their Veteran health benefits, etc… No one in the Tea Party movement — all those that loathe the rising deficit — is calling for a reduction of American defense or security expenditures. “

  16. bananabrain — on 20th July, 2010 at 5:37 pm  

    oh, deary me. can open, worms everywhere. ok, US grand strategy – simply put, how it projects power around the world – as i understand it (and i don’t pretend to be an expert) is all about the following:

    1. securing borders free from invasion
    2. hegemony of world trade via its virtually unique access to both the atlantic and the pacific (and therefore pretty much everywhere else)
    3. ability to bring overwhelming naval force to bear anywhere in the world to protect and secure US trade routes
    4. ability to deploy overwhelming land force anywhere in the world by virtue of naval superiority – i.e. anywhere there’s a coast, the US can put its military ashore without too much trouble
    5. air supremacy to strike anywhere in the world in support of the first four

    grand strategy, if i understand it correctly, is about those elements of national security and power which are independent of the government of the day – in other words, they rarely change. i know there are a number of different opinions about what the americans’ grand strategy is, but the most convincing analysis i’ve read is that of george friedman of stratfor.com, a leading geopolitical thinker and author of “the next hundred years”, which you can find at amazon. according to friedman, the “us-jihadi war” will be over in about 20 years, not having changed very much other than tactically and, of course by then, the end of oil power and, consequently, jihadi funding should be in sight. so:

    You mean like when he said America would stop extraordinary rendition or stop trying to deprive ‘enemy combatants’ of the law?

    in the terms of grand strategy, these sorts of things are not terribly relevant. even al-qaeda lunatics cannot do much to affect us grand strategy, especially now it has been deployed to destroy its powerbase in afghanistan. similarly, the invasion of iraq is a demonstration of just what they’re capable of if roused. nation-building, on the other hand, is difficult because it is hard to see how it supports grand strategy other than in terms of getting their mitts on the oil or preventing others doing so. but then, again, i’m no expert.

    I know you like to use ‘guardian reading’ as some sort of an insult

    to be fair, sunny, i don’t think the tendency to believe that the world would be better if it were run by journalists is restricted to “progressives”. and i could just as easily be rude about daily mail or telegraph or independent or sun readers.

    but try reading what I’m saying bananabrain and not just being so damn reactionary all the time.

    i did read what you wrote. the problem is that you seem to think that deploying battalions of human rights lawyers is the answer to every geopolitical conundrum. it is, unfortunately, nothing of the sort, international law being vaguer than an election manifesto costing analysis by a policy wonk with the brains of a stunned herring. i am very much in favour of human rights law, but i fear that it remains, like the online help of a microsoft programme, a distant aspiration rather than a tangible reality.

    This used to be a place where Jewish folk could talk to Arab folk and, ever so occasionally, find common ground. It is to Sunnys’ credit that he did try to provide a platform like that. Sadly, it was abused….

    you should try and reread the torrent of hate and bile that was unleashed at the jewish commenters here during recent israeli campaigns. small attempt to moderate the likes of munir/blah and his fellow lunatics and far-left fellow-travellers. i haven’t forgotten that – it was when i first started wondering if this country was safe for me and my family any more.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  17. Bill — on 20th July, 2010 at 5:44 pm  

    No one in the Tea Party movement — all those that loathe the rising deficit — is calling for a reduction of American defense or security expenditures.

    Wrong. “Gates Has Unlikely Ally in Defense Fight: Tea Party

    And the so-called “paleos” around “American Conservative” have long been associated with the call to reduce the grotesque overstretch of the US military, currently deployed in some 150 countries.

  18. Naadir Jeewa — on 20th July, 2010 at 5:46 pm  

    Fair enough bananabrain, but US defense spending is still disproportionately large compared to the advantage required to maintain that strategy, and might even harm it in terms of long-run deficits.

    And it’s not entirely clear whether or not that strategy even works in the national interest, since it’s leading to massive free rider problems. China and Russia’s disregard for the US being bogged down in their near-abroad in Afghanistan is a case in point.

  19. john — on 20th July, 2010 at 6:11 pm  

    banana brain
    “it was when i first started wondering if this country was safe for me and my family any more.”

    ….and we first started wondering bout your sanity. Try being a Muslim in this country. Thanks to hatred spewed out by the media in this country and blogs like yours, it’s far harder.

  20. Sunny — on 20th July, 2010 at 11:58 pm  

    i did read what you wrote. the problem is that you seem to think that deploying battalions of human rights lawyers is the answer to every geopolitical conundrum.

    I was talking about promises made by Barack Obama specifically during his campaign. I have no idea what point you’re trying to make.

  21. Vikrant — on 21st July, 2010 at 12:37 am  

    The only way out is for Obama to tear this entire operation down.

    Really? I believe the main WaPo argument is something like the intelligence complex is so huge and redundant that its hard to make sense of it all. Perhaps a better system to gather and co-ordinate intelligence is in order, but tearing it all down?

    Anyways the map tells me there are 3 classified buildings in MY county… yikes…

  22. Refresh — on 21st July, 2010 at 1:54 am  

    The biggest fear for us all has to the increased liklihood of a hidden cabal growing and festering amongst the thousands of unaccountable and unknowable outfits that now exist. Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld and the like will be nothing compared to PNAC 2.0

  23. Refresh — on 21st July, 2010 at 1:59 am  

    Bananabrain,

    I think your problem during the ‘Israeli campaigns’ was the trenchant way you attempted to defend the indefensible. First Lebanon and then unbelievably Gaza.

    Even now you describe them as campaigns when they were brutal agressions designed to re-assert Israel’s brutish presence. Not unlike other campaigns gone before. And quite becoming of Netanyahu’s dream of a pulverised Palestinian people.

  24. bananabrain — on 21st July, 2010 at 9:09 am  

    @naadir jeewa:

    fair point, i agree, hence my point about pork-barrel politics.

    @ “john”:

    Try being a Muslim in this country. Thanks to hatred spewed out by the media in this country and blogs like yours, it’s far harder.

    what rubbish. are your kids’ schools required to pay for extra full-time security because the police can’t protect them? do your kids’ schools have CCTVs and barbed wire so they look like northern ireland police stations? do mosques need to have people at the doors checking bags? when was the last time one got firebombed? you’re living in a dreamworld.

    @ refresh:

    you’ve just made my point over again. people like you make my blood run cold. “cabals”, conspiracy theories, no concept that israel might not like being subject to 8000 rocket attacks or having a million people in shelters – and you hold me and my family responsible because i don’t line up like a nodding dog to join in your chorus of combination. this is how the iranian regime expects its pet jews to behave, so they can prove they’re not anti-jewish, just anti-israel.

    it makes me sick. and your attitude revolts me. i’ve never supported netanyahu, but people like you make me feel like melanie phillips has a point.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  25. Slalom — on 21st July, 2010 at 10:25 am  

    ““it was when i first started wondering if this country was safe for me and my family any more.”

    ….and we first started wondering bout your sanity. Try being a Muslim in this country. Thanks to hatred spewed out by the media in this country and blogs like yours, it’s far harder.”

    Utter rubbish, as the points enumerated by bananabrain show. It’s Jewish numbers that are falling in Britain and Europe while Muslim numbers rises. And a disproportionate amount of the Jew-hatred that is driving the Jews out is coming from Muslims themselves.

  26. Slalom — on 21st July, 2010 at 10:40 am  

    As just one example, John, read this on the withering of the Jewish community in Malmo because of persecution, predominantly by Muslims:

    http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/jews-reluctantly-abandon-swedish-city-amid-growing-anti-semitism-1.301276

    You won’t be able to name a single city in western Europe where the Muslim community has been persecuted to the point where they simply emigrate. Nor a single western country where Muslim emigration exceeds immigration. Conversely most western countries are gradually losing their Jewish communities to migration.

    Muslims in places like Malmo are making ordinary life in their own country intolerable for Jews, just as the Nazis did in the 1930s.

  27. Refresh — on 21st July, 2010 at 10:56 am  

    ‘ and you hold me and my family responsible because i don’t line up like a nodding dog to join in your chorus of combination’

    Not true – I don’t and never have done. Sad to say it was my blood that went cold when I saw rational people rationalising those campaigns.

    You might recall Israel’s foreign ministry graphs showed that there had NOT been a breakdown of the ceasefire in the run up to the Gaza exploit. And we all understood it for what it was:

    An attempt to show the invincibility of the IDF post Lebanon failure in a run up to an election.

    What do you suppose we should presume of a politics that has its people living in eternal fear and therefore capable of justifying any brutality?

    Regarding the US, I am surprised you think it wise to dismiss the thought as conspiracy. Read what ex-head of MI5 said to the Chilcot Enquiry this week:

    When intelligence from the CIA refused to support an argument for the invasion of Iraq, Rumsfeld set up an alternative intelligence unit within the Pentagon which massaged, created, developed intelligence to justify that ‘campaign’.

  28. Refresh — on 21st July, 2010 at 10:58 am  

    I did not say you supported Netanyahu, credit where its due. My point was those ‘campaigns’ fed directly into the Netanyahu ethos.

  29. Refresh — on 21st July, 2010 at 11:00 am  

    Note, I was paraphrasing:

    ‘massaged, created, developed intelligence’ are my words.

  30. Sunny — on 21st July, 2010 at 12:17 pm  

    what rubbish. are your kids’ schools required to pay for extra full-time security because the police can’t protect them?

    Are you playing the ‘we’re more oppressed than you are’ card? I hope not because I thought you were at least a bit above that. I know Muslims who would LIKE to pay for extra security but can’t.

  31. Carioca — on 21st July, 2010 at 1:45 pm  

    “Are you playing the ‘we’re more oppressed than you are’ card? I hope not because I thought you were at least a bit above that.”

    Since both posters can be said to have engaged in that one-upmanship on this thread, why did you single out the Jewish poster alone for criticism?

    And since Jews ARE being gradually driven out of Europe, and Muslims AREN’T, and since the latter are playing a disproportionate role in the former, at least bananabrain is making the more truthful claim.

    Wouldn’t it be more constructive for you to address the unpleasant truth – that across Europe Jews are and intimidated and driven out not just by the far right but increasingly by parts of the left and some Muslims – than criticising the person who inconveniently makes it?

  32. Shamit — on 21st July, 2010 at 2:09 pm  

    How did this degenerate into a Jew vs Muslim thread?

    I thought it was about US National security apparaturs. On that point though, I think Sunny’s urge to dismantle it all is a bit naive – for various reasons – but primarily because the first responsibility of the US President is to keep Americans safe. And with a mid term election looming in November where he is bound to lose seats and reelection coming up in 2012 – I don’t think its going to happen.

    **********************************

    In my opinion Banana Brain is one of the more thoughtful contributors and like all of us he may have sometimes pushed some buttons but he did criticise the overkill approach Israel used in Gaza.

    However, those pointing fingers at him, have failed,/b> to criticise Hezbollah a terrorist group – or Hamas another terrorist group. Both these have repeatedly used the blood of civilians (who they proclaim to protect) to cry victory even when they lose.

    Some have even urged Israel to speak with hezbollah.

    *******************************

    The religious identity of an individual should not matter when it comes to condemning terrorism – just because I am a Hindu it should not stop me from saying that LTTE was one of the worst kind of terror groups and complete garbage.

    BB on the other hand has repeatedly criticised Israel’s foreign as well as domestic policy – so in my book he is far more balanced than the accusations thrown at him.

    ****************

    Before someone gets all human rights on me – I do not condone or enjoy sufferings of others and I have always called for a two state solution. However, I do not see any reason – any reason at all to have any sympathy for any action taken by either Hamas or Hezbollah.

    Wonder, what people have to say about ISI – now that headley has clearly implicated them in the 26/11 massacre – and Hillary Clinton said yesterday that members of the Pakistani establishment ie ISI & the Army know where OSAMA BIN LADEN is hiding in the country.

    If the thread degenerates – i don’t mind adding fuel to the fire.

  33. Shamit — on 21st July, 2010 at 2:09 pm  

    Did not mean to bold the whole bloody thing – it was an error – could not fix it as there is no edit function anymore.

  34. Carioca — on 21st July, 2010 at 2:29 pm  

    Fair points, Shamit.

    Back on topic, I think it’s also worth bearing in mind that we only get to know about the secretiveness of the US military industrial complex in large because the USA is relatively a very free and open country compared to places like Russia, China, North Korea, Iran etc. They are not subject to similar scrutiny.

  35. Muslim — on 21st July, 2010 at 3:54 pm  

    slalom
    ” And a disproportionate amount of the Jew-hatred that is driving the Jews out is coming from Muslims themselves.”

    One could just as easily say that a disproportionate amount of Muslim hatred is coming from Jewish people in the media etc.

  36. Muslim — on 21st July, 2010 at 3:59 pm  

    bananabrain
    ” do mosques need to have people at the doors checking bags? when was the last time one got firebombed? you’re living in a dreamworld.”

    Mosques get attacked ALL THE TIME in the UK.
    Your own site covered just one such attack

    http://www.spittoon.org/archives/6062

    There are none so blind…..

  37. Refresh — on 21st July, 2010 at 7:21 pm  

    Carioca

    I really like your #34. Irony at its best.

  38. douglas clark — on 21st July, 2010 at 10:53 pm  

    bananabrain @ 24 and passim,

    I am actually quite fond of you.

    But you seem to have lost your way a bit.

    There is hysteria, which is what you preach these days. Is that likely to get you a settlement?

    I wouldn’t have thought so.

    Do you want a settlement? Or would you prefer to be a one sided controversialist? I think you are tending to the dark side here, bananabrain.

    Stop pretending you are a frightened little nobody when you clearly are nothing of the sort. It ill becomes you.

    In fact, stop attempting to be the worlds biggest victim. It doesn’t become you.

  39. DF — on 22nd July, 2010 at 3:04 am  

    Sunny — on 21st July, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    “I know Muslims who would LIKE to pay for extra security but can’t.”

    Are you playing the ‘we’re more oppressed than you are’ card?

  40. DF — on 22nd July, 2010 at 3:05 am  

    BTW – I bet you don’t know any Muslims who would LIKE to pay for extra security but can’t

  41. bananabrain — on 22nd July, 2010 at 9:26 am  

    @ refresh:

    it was my blood that went cold when I saw rational people rationalising those campaigns.

    look, i wouldn’t have done it the way it was done, if it were up to me and thank G!D it’s not, as i’ve said numerous times. but, there is clearly no response from the israelis (apart from surrendering to hamas and leaving gilad shalit to rot) that would satisfy you, is there? as for “rationalising”, there were plenty of people with far more knowhow than me (that colonel richard kemp chap for one) far more able to outline it in military terms. if you don’t think these sort of actions can be “rationalised”, that is your prerogative. but what *i* cannot rationalise is why hamas would use their own people as punchbags rather than agree to terms for the release of gilad shalit. your one-sided focus is significant. perhaps you think hamas have nothing to answer for?

    What do you suppose we should presume of a politics that has its people living in eternal fear and therefore capable of justifying any brutality?

    i suggest you ask hamas and hezbollah.

    My point was those ‘campaigns’ fed directly into the Netanyahu ethos.

    which was why i didn’t support them, nor did i go to the rally. i detest netanyahu. i just don’t see them as tantamount to operation barbarossa.

    @ sunny:

    Are you playing the ‘we’re more oppressed than you are’ card? I hope not because I thought you were at least a bit above that.

    no, i’m playing the “there’s a problem here and you just don’t want to know, because it doesn’t suit your agenda” card.

    I know Muslims who would LIKE to pay for extra security but can’t.”

    are you playing the “jews can afford it” card? i can’t afford it either, so i have to go without other stuff. it’s the equivalent of a month’s shopping for my family over a year.

    @ “muslim”:

    Mosques get attacked ALL THE TIME in the UK.

    i’m not denying that there are islamophobic attacks. however, they are not carried out by jews. in most cases, they are carried out by people who hate jews even more, but there are more than ten times as many muslims as there are jews, so it’s a lot easier to find a mosque than it is to find a synagogue, plus of course they are easier targets, because they’ve got no meaningful security – and why? because they’ve never needed it. how about islamic schools, do they get attacked?

    @ douglas clark:

    There is hysteria, which is what you preach these days. Is that likely to get you a settlement?

    ah, yes, this is the “you’re just being hysterical” card, but the statistics and the reality on the ground says different. i fail to see how you can sit in scotland and understand the reality on the ground in the london jewish community – of course people love to dismiss it as hysterical, because it doesn’t suit them to realise that there is a problem and that to confront it means dealing with islamism – where i differ from most, however, is that i refuse to concede to islamist organisations representative credibility for the entire muslim community and i will continue to engage in dialogue activities with anyone who is willing to talk to me.

    you talk about “a settlement”? what on earth do you mean? about the middle east, this is what you’re referring to? i’ve made my parameters and my end-game abundantly clear and it’s only people on the “respect” axis who fail to agree with it. in terms of the UK, what “settlement” am i supposed to make? with whom? why? over what?

    Stop pretending you are a frightened little nobody when you clearly are nothing of the sort. It ill becomes you.

    anyone who relies on the protection of society, the law and the police and then finds that society finds it inconvenient to extend that protection can easily become frightened. i can’t believe you dare to preach to me without having any idea of how the community lives.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7885233.stm

    look at the graffiti in that story; that was less than a mile from my house. people drive by synagogues and take photos to intimidate us. i know just how easy it would be to mount an attack. last week, someone tried to snatch a jewish kid in the park my kids go to sometimes. that didn’t make it into the papers.

    but no, i’m “hysterical”. shame on you. i’ve no interest in “playing the victim”, i have far more interesting things to do, but when there is a serious issue, it “ill becomes you” to deny it from hundreds of miles away when you have no real idea of what is going on.

    and you wonder why i’m so disgusted with some of the attitudes that come out of this site.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  42. douglas clark — on 22nd July, 2010 at 4:46 pm  

    bananabrain,

    i fail to see how you can sit in scotland and understand the reality on the ground in the london jewish community

    I equally fail to see you exceptionalism.

    Yes, there are attacks on synagogues and jewish graveyards up here too. It is, frankly disgusting. And I’m an atheist…I shouldn’t care – would that be right? But I do.

    ___________________________________

    Am I supposed to assume that the bastards that do that sort of thing represent the best of my society?

    No, bananabrain, they represent the worst. Fuck me, they are the worst.

    It is you that can’t see the difference between decent people, people that don’t bloody well care about your religion or, really, about your politics. That think you are usually a decent human being who seems to have got the wrong end of the stick.

    Always.

    There are decent people here, and they are not all Jewish. You used to find that a quite comfortable millieu, but then, you didn’t.

    Least, that’s what I think about you bananabrain. I think you retreated into your shell, and when you come here now, well….

  43. me — on 22nd July, 2010 at 4:58 pm  

    Douglas Clark
    “Do you want a settlement?”

    Douglas, think the problem with bananabrain and his fellow Orthodox Jewish fascists is that they DO want a settlement…… Namely a settlement on land currently inhabited by a Palestinian family, (who of course need to be expelled from their ancestral land to accomodate the zionazi fanatics from New York or London!) ideally in East Jerusalem

  44. douglas clark — on 22nd July, 2010 at 5:06 pm  

    me,

    That is not the problem with bananabrain. bananabrain is not the person you say he is.

    bananabrain is not a

    Jewish fascist

    bananabrain is someone who has lost his way, and yet, someone I still consider a friend.

    I am not about to join your ‘dark side’.

  45. bananabrain — on 22nd July, 2010 at 5:06 pm  

    well, perhaps i shouldn’t come here, then, if i’m not taken seriously. perhaps i am wasting my time, as i increasingly think.

    It is you that can’t see the difference between decent people, people that don’t bloody well care about your religion or, really, about your politics.

    i don’t see nearly as much decency as i think i have a right to expect from people who are so loudly and self-importantly committed to morality and decently. shamit, carioca, slalom – only one of these is a regular here. this is the tragedy of the left, isn’t it – you think you’re all so bloody progressive, but you can’t see prejudice and hatred when it’s staring you in the face – especially if it’s being pointed out to you by a jew. i don’t see leon, rumbold and jai arguing the toss about this, because they know i’m not making this stuff up.

    you think myself, katy and chairwoman all “retreated into our shells”? no – we have been, effectively, expelled. driven out by moral failure. cecil rhodes, that great imperialist, always called us the “birds of good omen” – we are the canary in the coalmine of a decent society. fortunately, lefties are a minority and with any luck, islamism and the hard left are in retreat; it has yet to be seen if the exodus of jews from europe will be stemmed.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  46. douglas clark — on 22nd July, 2010 at 5:10 pm  

    To be clear about this.

    bananabrain is not a fascist.

    Full stop.

  47. me — on 22nd July, 2010 at 5:21 pm  

    “cecil rhodes, that great imperialist, always called us the “birds of good omen” – we are the canary in the coalmine of a decent society”

    Oh boo hoo hoo. A purveyor of hatred against one minority (Muslims) paranoidly complains about “alleged” barely existent hatred against his. Even the growing far right in Europe are pro-Israel and the Jewish community, while being rabidly anti-Muslim. Reminds me of David T saying there is about to be another holocaust of Jews in Europe! Much more cuckoo than canary.

  48. douglas clark — on 22nd July, 2010 at 5:32 pm  

    bananabrain @ 45,

    I quite like you. You do know that, don’t you?

    I don’t see myself as ‘of the left’ exactly, and it is pretty clear that you are not disagreeing with Sunny or Rumbold or other authors on here, rather with shamit and other folk below the line, like me.

    Well, it would be frankly weak for anyone to run away from an arguement, bananabrain, and it is ridiculously cheapskate for either Chairwoman – whom I quite like – and her daughter Katy – who I am not so sure about – to walk away from it either.

    Stropping off, much as you do when you lose, is to insult people that do care. I think that debate here can be geniune. And not attached to your particular beliefs.

    Your religion is not that important, your ideas might be.

    _________________________________

    The point about the internet, and Sunny’s place in particular, was always to stir the pot.

    The arguement around here has always been that religious claimants – for authority – are pissants.

    So, there you go, bananabrain…..

  49. bananabrain — on 23rd July, 2010 at 9:03 am  

    so, i’m not being “hysterical”, i’m merely “stropping off when i lose” – well, remember you said that when you realise the jews have gone. remember you didn’t take what i was saying seriously.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  50. douglas clark — on 23rd July, 2010 at 9:12 am  

    bananabrain,

    You are being a hysteric. I do not want the Jews dead. That would be ridiculous.

    Could you get your head around the idea that being Jewish is not reprehensible? It is not even, very important.

    Neither is any other religion.

    There you go….

  51. douglas clark — on 23rd July, 2010 at 9:31 am  

    bananabrain,

    I do care, and I am very fond of you.

    I find this excessive arguementation quite uncomfortable. We have had some good times here, and I cannot be bothered with the new you.

    Do you understand that?

    It seems to me that you have become a friend of ‘Harry’s Place’ and it has turned your mind. Frankly it is not a good move.

    I say that as a chum….

    but you will not believe that, will you?

  52. bananabrain — on 23rd July, 2010 at 10:11 am  

    you really don’t understand, do you? i’m not saying you want me dead, that *would* be hysterical. but what you are doing is accommodating a combination of clerical and far-left fascism which makes me and other jews persona non grata here. we can see that. others can see that too. some of them are very pleased about it – see #43 and #47. this is what these people want. this is neither “liberal”, nor “progressive”. it is deeply disturbing. you should be disturbed. yet, instead, you and others continually brush it off. well, go ahead, brush it off. first, we disappear from the debates, then we disappear from society. we don’t have to be murdered for this to happen. if you truly cared for liberty and human rights, this would bother you. i am not apologising for being jewish. and i haven’t even mentioned religion, because even anti-religious jews aren’t exempt from these considerations.

    you have missed the point yet again.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  53. Refresh — on 23rd July, 2010 at 10:23 am  

    Bananabrain,

    I too like your more thoughtful contributions and attempt to engage on what you write on the day without drawing in past contributions (in some areas, failures). But of late you seem to be taking side-swipes in your comments. These are not necessary, and as you saw and will continue to see, they get a response.

    Your early comments were a genuine contributions vis-a-vis the US military strategy. But go over the top from there on.

    I am sorry you see Israel’s actions as campaigns. Most people don’t. You could get away with saying it was the military component of an electoral campaign.

    No I don’t expect Israel to enter a peace arrangement with Hamas, why should it? It has too much invested in the settlements, a directly opposing strategy and an assasinated Prime Minister for it to change.

    I have always said of Oslo, that the Israelis should recognise the enormous generosity displayed by the Palestinians – but no we have Natanyahu undermining it and Sharon marching in to take the political prize of being Premier. Then Sharon goes and destroys the PA, remember Arafat holed up in Ramallah?

    So you will have to excuse me if some of us take a longer view of what has been going on than turning it into an Hamas/Israel battle.

    As for Gilad Shalit, he should not be forgotten and released forthwith. From what I understand he too has become a pawn in Natanyahu’s game.

    The tens of thousands of Palestinians languishing in Israeli prisons also deserve to have their freedom and the opportunity to rebuild their lives.

    And Hezbellah – how did they come about? Ariel Sharon has the answer there too.

    What troubles me is this sort of compliant approach to Israeli misdemeanours is that it suits Netanyahu and suited others before him, to create new enemies because they will always come in handy later: if you get the propaganda right. Thus you maintain a people living in fear addicted to adrenalin only assuaged by the next ‘campaign’.

  54. douglas clark — on 23rd July, 2010 at 10:53 am  

    bananabrain,

    I do not want what you seek to say:

    but what you are doing is accommodating a combination of clerical and far-left fascism which makes me and other jews persona non grata here. we can see that. others can see that too. some of them are very pleased about it – see #43 and #47. this is what these people want. this is neither “liberal”, nor “progressive”. it is deeply disturbing. you should be disturbed. yet, instead, you and others continually brush it off. well, go ahead, brush it off. first, we disappear from the debates, then we disappear from society. we don’t have to be murdered for this to happen. if you truly cared for liberty and human rights, this would bother you. i am not apologising for being jewish. and i haven’t even mentioned religion, because even anti-religious jews aren’t exempt from these considerations.

    you have missed the point yet again.

    I am not your enemy. I don’t actually care, one way or another, about your Jewishness. It means nothing to me bananabrain. Nowt, ziltch. Can you get it through your thick head that I like you for who you are, not for your religion, nor your intollerance. It is a meaningless to me, bananabrain. I couldn’t care less about your pathetic alliances.

    Just saying.

  55. douglas clark — on 23rd July, 2010 at 11:07 am  

    ‘me’ is an idiot.

    Do I have to say more, bananabrain? What do you expect of me? I do not care about anyone’s religion.
    I am certainly not accommodating anyone.

    You say:

    ccommodating a combination of clerical and far-left fascism which makes me and other jews persona non grata here. we can see that. others can see that too. some of them are very pleased about it – see #43 and #47. this is what these people want. this is neither “liberal”, nor “progressive”. it is deeply disturbing. you should be disturbed. yet, instead, you and others continually brush it off. well, go ahead, brush it off. first, we disappear from the debates, then we disappear from society. we don’t have to be murdered for this to happen. if you truly cared for liberty and human rights, this would bother you. i am not apologising for being jewish. and i haven’t even mentioned religion, because even anti-religious jews aren’t exempt from these considerations.

    That is not me bananabrain. I don’t know why you think it is. You are entitled as the next man to be wrong :-)

  56. douglas clark — on 23rd July, 2010 at 11:13 am  

    And I am in complete favour of all Jewish people using this web site as a fair forum. Where did you ever get the idea that I didn’t?

    I will stand up for them as much as I’ll stand up for women and other alleged minorities.

    Though Katy Newton and Chairwoman don’t actually need me.

    ;-)

  57. bananabrain — on 23rd July, 2010 at 1:19 pm  

    and i don’t actually “need” you either. i could always just spend my time speaking to people who already agree with me, but i don’t think that’s terribly productive.

    to be fair to you, douglas, this isn’t really about any one person in particular, this is “social”, as it were. i’m just tired of it all. i don’t like what i’m hearing and i don’t like what i’m not hearing. i can’t say what i say any more clearly than i’m saying it and i’m clearly not being heard. this is symptomatic of what is going on in certain circles, particularly those dominated by the left. there’s a logical outcome of this and that is that jews will disappear from debate and representation in forums only prepared to hear from jews who disown their judaism and spend their time criticising israel, that is what i call a dialogue of the deaf. this is the problem with you, refresh, you try being all reasonable whenever you get pulled up on stuff, but in the end, the sheer hatred you have for israel and your willingness to hold jews responsible for the likes of netanyahu always just comes bursting out. i can’t engage with such a closed perspective. i won’t have you dictating what is an acceptable point of view for me.

    when you’re ready to encounter me on my own terms and not those dictated by the lens of student-union boycott politics and relationships i may or may not have with harry’s place or people of whom you disapprove, y’all know where to find me. i’m not holding my breath.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  58. Refresh — on 23rd July, 2010 at 1:45 pm  

    Bananabrain,

    ‘you try being all reasonable whenever you get pulled up on stuff’

    When have you pulled me up? You’ve challenged in a derogatory manner and I’ve responded quite reasonably.

    If my tone is reasonable, then that is because I am.

    Are you suggesting I should actually be passionless about injustice; and learn to love Netanyahu? On the basis of love the sinner and hate the sin?

    I actually have no personal animosity to anyone. I just don’t.

    [On second thoughts, Sharon was a nasty individual]

    But I will challenge distortions and perspectives which I believe feed intolerance.

    I would also suggest it is entirely wrong of you to connect resistance to Israeli antics with anything to do with with Judaism. Unless of course you believe those antics are in keeping with the religion. {I am know you don’t).

    It reminds me of Sharon cynically presenting the last intifada as an existential threat, and a clarion call to world jewry. Closely followed by linking Israel with Zionism with Judaism. And resistance to any as anti-semitic.

  59. douglas clark — on 23rd July, 2010 at 3:14 pm  

    bananabrain @ 57,

    No, you don’t ‘need’ me. It is simply unjust of you to come on here and pretend to be offended when everyone else is also offended. You have chosen to post here nearly as long as I have.

    It is a choice.

    ‘Me’ is a moron. I don’t see why you should be making your farewells, if that is what they are, just because of a single idiot.

    And you are not so special either. Argue your point on the basis of contention, not on the basis of religious exceptionalism. Least that’s what I think. The better commentators, including Sunny and Rumbold, on here don’t descend to that sort of, frankly, infuriating level.

    You wear your heart on your sleeve, and I’m not convinced it does you much good.

    I remain a friend, bananabrain. I have enjoyed our jousts in the past. Perhaps you have forgotten them, but debates over the age of the Universe and whether an electron exists or not were actually quite fun for me. And they wouldn’t have been without a challenging intellect on the other side.

    That would be you :-)

  60. bananabrain — on 23rd July, 2010 at 4:49 pm  

    look, i’m done here. there *is* an existential threat to israel, but people here would far rather talk about how evil the US, the UK and of course israel are. there is also an existential threat to me and mine, right here in london, for which the middle east is used as a convenient excuse, when in many cases it is just there to provide a figleaf. the terms in which the left conduct these discussions only make it worse and give aid and comfort to those who wish me and mine terminal harm.

    i wish i could talk about electrons and the universe, but sadly, everyone would rather make me defend israel instead. you can excuse yourselves for this all you like, you can talk about how “passionless” you are, you can wring your hands when someone rams a car-bomb into my kids school. big fecking deal. fine words. when it comes down to it, my people can’t count on a fair hearing from the likes of you. you’ll let these bastards walk away with it and then whine about their human rights while my people are blown to bits. now that’s something i’ve gone out of my way to avoid when it comes to muslims in the UK and palestinians in the middle east; big fecking deal. it won’t save me from condemnation and murder.

    i will keep doing what i think is right and maybe one day you fools will realise what side i’m really on.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  61. douglas clark — on 23rd July, 2010 at 9:20 pm  

    bananabrain,

    They are not your people:

    you’ll let these bastards walk away with it and then whine about their human rights while my people are blown to bits. now that’s something i’ve gone out of my way to avoid when it comes to muslims in the UK and palestinians in the middle east; big fecking deal. it won’t save me from condemnation and murder.

    No, bananabrain, that is not what I am about. I am against anyone being blown to bits, and that includes Muslims, who are more often the victims. Or don’t you think so?

    People that are murdered for the sake of an ideology are victims. End of. They are as much my people as your people. You take them to your breast, just because you can identify with them. I take them to my breast because they are victims.

    Victims of ridiculous religious fanatasism. Can I say that?

    I’d have expected you, of all people, to understand that.

    Anyway, I did enjoy our chats about the Universe and everything. It seems to me that you are assuming too much about folk that comment here. We are not all interested in religion, some of us are interested in what you think.

    There you go…

  62. Sunny — on 24th July, 2010 at 4:04 am  

    but what you are doing is accommodating a combination of clerical and far-left fascism which makes me and other jews persona non grata here

    I see you’ve lost your fucking mind. I’m glad you’re blogging for those loons and not for PP.

  63. Imran Khan — on 27th July, 2010 at 7:38 pm  

    Here here. It is a sad decent into right wing propoganda.

    I really didn’t plan to write again here following the abusive nature of certain people but the selective way in which clerical fascisim is being addressed by the other blogs is almost laughable if they were not trying to be so serious. The fact is that clerical fascism is ignored as long as you support the USA and Israel. The person who posted at #60 is supposed to be confronting this apparently through other blogs but simply allows much of what goes on in his own community to pass by without the need to be aired in public but is not so selective when it comes to Muslims and Islam.

    Of course on his much loved blog sites there is discussion of the cuddly Rabbi whose book is a best seller in Israel which advocates killing of even innocent gentile children who may in the future stand in the way of Israel even if they are non-violent but who was released without charge. There is of course discussion of esteemed Senior Rabbi’s who call for ethnic cleansing and calls Arabs snakes and much worse.

    There is of course discussion of the proposed legislation by the only secular state in the Middle East to be recognised as a religious country! There is of course discussion of the right wing clerical fascist who support Israel due to end time theories. Its all printed using white ink!! There is discussion of the conversion bill which may declare many many Jews to be in fact not Jewish which is clerical fasicims at its best as someone is deciding who can and canot follow a religion!!!

    The problem here is that decent into right wing propoganda happens on blogs because of the ranting and raving. The need for an enemy to justify the right wing which never admits it is wrong. Isn’t that in itself clerical fascism?

    It is also interesting that the CST says the biggest threat to Jews is from the neo-Nazi’s. But such publicity isn’t good for the right so they have to change things to suit their agenda! It is interesting that the CST says it is helping Muslim organisations and mosques to improve security because of the threat they (mosques) face and yet why would they do this if Muslims and Muslim organisations were hell bent on destruction of Jews?!! Strange how Jewish Community Organisations are now refusing to follow the narrative whcih has been laid out for them. Why is this happening; one would think it is because the right wing propoganda isn’t quite real.

    I suppose the star lit blogs to which he refers have also done exposes on the call by some Jews (a tiny minority) who want to engage with the EDL and get stuck in as they called it. So what inspired that and isn’t he supposed to be challanging such things.

    I would suggest to you Mr. Bananabrain that you stop blogging and do what I did and actually go to the grassroots and meet people then you’ll see the efforts being made. I did more of this when I stopped writing here and I met lovely people of all faiths who work towartds the common good. It’ll give you your hope back.

    Also to claim that people won’t stand up for you is frankly laughable as many people here including Muslims would stand up to protect everyone including you and your family. Its a shame you can’t see that and that is rather a sad reflection of where your journey in blogshpere has taken you. Wiothout doubt you are a decent person when we used to discuss here and behind the words I still think you are. I think you need to do what I did and forget the abuse from faceless people and get to meet people and see the work going on.

    The problem is that the right feels anyone not on their agenda is simply trying to destroy the entire world and coming from people who have furthered the suffering in the Middle East that is rich.

    I see great hope in the UK and abroad as people work for a better future for all.

    This blog isn’t about bashing Jews or Muslims or Christians or anyone else. Its about highlighting issues and if any community is wrong then it deserves to be held to account. The problem is that if people highlight an issue with Israel then it is an issue with Israel and not with Jews. You don’t have to defend every action of Israel just as I don’t have to defend every action of Palestinians. If it is wrong it is wrong. However blogs which claim to oppose clerical fascism then fail in their own stated duty by being selective are hardly helping are they so holding them up as beacons is hardly helping your own claims.

    There are plenty of decent people out there and there are plenty who will help you as long as you want it. But you need to step away from the keyboard and meet people in the wider community and you’ll see good people everywhere. Even meeting Douglas for a coffee would cheer you up. But you shouldn’t lose hope in people here.

    Sadly you and your blogs forget that Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs from Asia and Africa paid with their money and their lives to fight to save Jews from the Nazi’s so there is no reason why they won’t again. Just because X and Y and Z may ire you it doesn’t mean the rest of us are all bad, we simply highlight issues to you which concern us all.

  64. Don — on 28th July, 2010 at 1:03 pm  

    I assume someone will delete the scum-bag above?

    Please delete this comment at the same time.

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