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11 June 2015


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Duncan Kinder

re: "The adoption of a "lily pad" strategy would imply a more or less permanent US combat presence in Iraq for many, many years. We would be accepting what would amount to a colonial role."

Stated otherwise, in a broader sense, Iraq itself would become a massive lilly pad that would become "a liability as anything else because they must be supplied and supported" via extensive supplie lines. (Of course, Iraq probably already is such a liability, but analytically that is a distinct issue.)

Meanwhile, ISIS remains free to operate in such other venues as Libya, Nigeria, Af/Pak, etc.


well thanks to US air power this may be possible. If somehow US air force becomes engaged somewhere else or over stretched in Iraq, then those who are in those "lily pads" will find that their lives have become much more interesting.



"liy pad's"? I used to gig frogs as a kid. I can imagine these would be tempting tartgets to ISIS but their leaders seem to have read history better than ours have and certainly know they don't have air power. If they don't have Iraqi troops to clear Iraq of ISIS we'll be there a long, long time. Just what kind of authority has the US Congress given the President to deploy these or other additional US forces to Iraq? Does a status of forces agreement exist between the US and Iraqi governments? I thought that was a no-go a year or more ago?

William R. Cumming

IMO a huge mistake and foreshadows tragedy.


So what happens when US personnel start getting burned alive in cages?

I expect a very strongly worded speech about how ISIS is on the wrong side of history!

r whitman

A shrewd ISIS commander would find a way to go around or otherwise avoid these installations.


r Whitman

That is your definition of "shrewd." They want to bring us to battle. pl

Johnny Reims

Would Dien Bien Phu in early 1954 fall under the category of a “lilly pad”? I thought the French tried such a strategy in VN.

I hope very much that General Dempsey hasn’t sold out and I am misreading all of this.



Two burdens of old age are the loss of short term memory and seeing the same crap repeat itself over and over again. Forts in “Indian Country” will never pacify the neighborhood if there are no settlers, too few troops and the insurgents have a sanctuary to resupply arms and men.

A Sunni State in northern Iraq is a fact. The only effective counter to ISIS is containment, alliances with their enemies, peace, and modernity.

I am afraid that the economy and finance of the United States has become so intertwined with war that only two paths are left; a World at War or a collapse and withdrawal of the US Army back to North America.



Why is our government insistent on saving the Shia Iraqi government's bacon? I realize we screwed the place up and gave the Shia power. But are we permanently obligated to meddling in the internal affairs of the Arab tribes? Why don't we let them settle it their way and get out of the way? I haven't seen any benefit to us in all our interventions over the past decade, only costs in blood & treasure.



ISIS gets a major PR/recruiting victory and the neocons get the casus belli they are hoping for. Whether that results in a congressional approval of major force deployment to Iraq or an election repudiation of the bastards in Congress remains to be seen.


would that that was all Tyler...they are rope a doping us in there. Americans will go mad and start (not certain people's kids mind)attacking every thing that engages their senses...like a hungry blind bulldog in a butcher shop


By definition, a lily pad strategy cedes all territory outside the pads to IS. Big mistake. IS doesn't have to take the pads, all they need to do is keep Americans 'contained" within them, or at least ensure they have warning when we are preparing to sally out.

However in protecting American lives while maintaining a politically required presence in a doomed Iraq, perhaps Gen. Dempsey believes this is the least worst option?

Will Reks

A base in Al-Taqaddam. I guess they're hoping to make some progress. I didn't think we'd be ignoring the lessons of our folly in Iraq so soon but here we are.

Booby Hatch


Dempsey's "lily pads" sounds like a military version of the State Department's "Crusader Castle" consulate proposal. This would have left 7 fortified consulates in Irag after the military withdrawal. It would have involved 10,000 - 12,000 personnel, mostly contractor security personnel that would have included CH-46 helos transferred from the USMC to State & flown by contract crews.

A "lily pad" might be comfortable in a gold fish pond; but, in a gator infested swamp the frog is called bait. Hedgehogs without air & fire support & active patrolling are simply targets.


This is just the latest in a string of febrile improvisations passing as foreign policy that pop up when no one is in charge. The President obviously is in so far over his head that his submariner watch has stopped running; his close counselors - Rice, Rhodes, McDonough, Blinken - are clueless amateurs whose thinking (such as it is) is keyed to the next day's news cycle; many of the Pentagon brass, past and present, see a chance to prove that they are winners after all; same for the CIA; the think-tankers have long lost any capacity for critical analysis; and the politicos are all either running for President or running scared. Hence, random impulse is the order of the day. First, the cosseting of Bibi, then the Yemen fiasco, then the rehabilitation of al-Nusra, and now a swan dive into an empty swimming pool in a futile attempt to deal with an enemy strengthened by every other action we've taken. Not to mention declaring an enemy/rival the only people in Iraq who actually are capable of taking on ISIL - the Shi'ite militias.

This is juvenile shenanigans bordering on criminal negligence - IMHO



A fort in Indian Country like these would be is only effective if you patrol vigorously or operate out of it in strength. I don't see that happening with the native material available among the Shia Arabs. The Sunni tribals are probably going to ignore us. It is true that IS need not take the LPs but they may wish to do so either in pursuit of the end of days theme or because the LPs would block movement of large groups and logistics. pl



It'll be a f-cking mess all around.



At this point I don't even know what tomorrow will bring in that regard.

The Beaver


Have you seen this?


34 !


Agreed Col. Lang. I would have thought aggressive patrolling would be prohibited as I think ISIS would be capable of pretty sophisticated ambush tactics.



I have "patrolled" up to my ass in alligators. pl

William R. Cumming

And what of SOFA [status of forces agreements]?


dear sir,
I think this strategy is based on the success US and Iraqi forces had in defending Al-Asad air base and al-Baghdadi town against ISIS.

Since Iraq is a desert country where movement among cities and towns is mostly restricted to highways and roads, I think the US is expecting to fragment the ISIS controlled areas using these "lily pads" as "road blocks".

However, if there are many "lily pads" and if many of them got attacked simultaneously would not it be difficult for the US air force to provide air support everywhere?

Medicine Man

I've been wondering if the US personnel in Iraq are deliberately being left there as a tripwire. Normally I would dismiss this kind of thinking, given the severity of the political consequences for losing soldiers while fucking around in undeclared wars, but I'm just not confident the current crop of congress-critters and DC dwellers is that strongly bolted to reality.

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