Silly ‘Lily’

June 11, 2015

mar26chan03copyBright and windy this afternoon on California’s north coast — we continue onward.

In some shit, though, we’re going backward at a hard pace. Yesterday, the White House gave notice of 450 more US trainers for Iraq, and then today, announcement of a string of American bases, ‘described as “lily pads” near the front lines that would support Iraqi troops,’ and require even more American GIs in country.

Whole idea formulates a terrible fiasco-flashback.

(Illustration found here).

Another episode in a war-scenario that has done nothing but escalate the past 12 years — Kevin Drum at Mother Jones this afternoon toned it right: ‘“Lily pads.” Isn’t that soothing? So reminiscent of Monet. I’m sure this will be the very last troop increase and we’ll have ISIS mopped up in no time.’

And way-after all this time, don’t these people know that shit don’t stick — ‘lily pads’ as a concept is a failed, old hat — from the Christian Science Monitor, Aug. 10, 2004, and a feature on one of those ‘pads,’ Manas Air Field in Kyrgyzstan. Noted future point:

At the heart of the strategy is the Pentagon’s desire to take the offense in a post-Sept. 11 world where future threats are unpredictable, although broadly seen as emanating from lawless or less developed regions.
The goal, therefore, is the fast, flexible, and efficient projection of force — with “lily pad” bases like Manas playing crucial role as staging points.

And NBC News in September, 2004:

Among the places the military already has placed or hopes to base such new “lily pads” or jumping off points: the eastern European nations of Bulgaria and Romania; a pier in Singapore; and a tiny island off the oil-rich coast of West Africa.
“Freedom of action,” is a term the Pentagon now uses to describe the flexibility it seeks.

And just how well did that strategy work? In Iraq, shit-in-a-wire basket, and in Afghanistan, getting close to the same idea — from Time:

Of course, lily pads don’t always thrive.
In Afghanistan, they’ve shrunk in recent years.
John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, warned two years ago that danger was spreading across the country and limiting the places his inspectors could visit to do their jobs.
“U.S. officials have told us that it is often difficult for program and contracting staff to visit reconstruction sites in Afghanistan,” he said in October 2013.
“U.S. military officials have told us that they will provide civilian access only to areas within a one-hour round trip of an advanced medical facility.”

And in Iraq, a total fuck-up — last week at History News Network, Brian Glyn Williams, professor of Islamic History at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, pretty-much painted George W’s incompetent Iraqi adventure in clear, clean colors. Conclusion:

Today ISIS fighter-terrorists rule over millions of Iraqis (many of whom were formerly secular Baathists under Hussein) and Syrians in a region larger than the U.K. and twice the size of Israel.
It goes without saying (well except by the likes of Ms. Ziedrich) had Bush, or more correctly Paul Bremer, not fired both the Iraqi Army and Baathist Party after the 2003 invasion of Iraq there would be no ISIS today.
It has been widely demonstrated that the Baathists fired by Bremer in 2003 play a major operational role in ISIS today.
The Washington Post, for example, has reported that “almost all of the leaders of the Islamic State are former Iraqi officers, including the members of its shadowy military and security committees, and the majority of its emirs and princes.”
Operation Iraqi Freedom thus fulfilled the Law of Unintended Consequences in this unpredictable part of the world that had been previously been tenuously held together by Hussein’s Baathist Socialist regime and opened the Pandora’s Box that would ultimately lead to creation of ISIS.
For the Americans who had overthrown one Medieval regime in Afghanistan, only to inadvertently create the conditions for the rise of another in oil rich Iraq and Syria out of the ashes of what had once been the two most secular regimes in the Arab Middle East, it was one step forward and two steps back.

Williams also worked for the CIA’s Counter Terrorism Center, and the US Army’s Information Operations team in Afghanistan, and author of, “Predators. The CIA’s Drone War on Al Qaeda”  — so he knows his shit, I guess. Good article, though, related with authority.

Yet, the whole US strategy since 9/11 has made shit worse — also last week, John Brennan, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, pretty-much admitted as such (via The Intercept): ‘“I think the president has tried to make sure that we’re able to push the envelope when we can to protect this country. But we have to recognize that sometimes our engagement and direct involvement will stimulate and spur additional threats to our national security interests.”

Lily-pad all you want…

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