What’s in a name? Plenty if Pentagon involved
Washington – — It’s less punchy than previous nicknames for U.S. conflicts in the Middle East — remember Operation Desert Storm and its thunderous attacks against Saddam Hussein? — but the Pentagon has finally named its fight against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria: Operation Inherent Resolve.
The naming, which took weeks of deliberation behind closed doors at U.S. Central Command and at the Pentagon, is part of an effort to organize a long-term military campaign.
But that name, Inherent Resolve.
It’s less awe-inspiring than other names chosen for U.S. military operations in Iraq over the past two decades — Desert Shield, Desert Storm and Desert Fox, for example. It appears to convey the no-drama approach that marks President Barack Obama’s style.
The staff of Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made the final decision, said his spokesman, Col. Ed Thomas. Thomas offered no details.
But Central Command, which is executing the campaign, took a stab at it.
“’Inherent Resolve’ is intended to reflect the unwavering resolve and deep commitment of the U.S. and partner nations in the region and around the globe to eliminate the terrorist group ISIL and the threat they pose to Iraq, the region and the wider international community,” it said, using a common name for the Islamic State group.
There was no rush of enthusiastic praise, even at the Pentagon. Asked about the choice, the Pentagon press secretary, Rear Adm. John Kirby, said U.S. officials ran it by coalition partners and “there was general sense of approval of it.”
Military operations are routinely given official names, in part for administrative reasons.
But they are meant also to bolster public support and international credibility. The U.S.-led effort to protect Kurds who fled their homes in northern Iraq in the aftermath of the 1991 Gulf War, for example, was called Operation Provide Comfort. A U.S. military disaster relief mission in Bangladesh that same year was Operation Sea Angel.
The U.S. military’s effort against Ebola in West Africa is called Operation United Assistance. The name for the U.S. role in an international air campaign in Libya in 2011 was Odyssey Dawn.