Two months after American bombs and missiles began pounding fighters of the so-called Islamic State, President Barack Obama’s undeclared war in Iraq and Syria finally has a name: Operation Inherent Resolve.
The Wall Street Journal had reported on Oct. 3 that the name had been considered and rejected, with one unnamed military officer saying “it is just kind of bleh.”
The long search for a name had sparked a flurry of jokes on Twitter, where one leading tongue-in-cheek suggestion was that it be called “Operation Hey Wasn’t That My Humvee” – a reference to U.S. airstrikes hitting Islamic State fighters using American equipment captured from Iraqi troops.
The Obama Administration announced the moniker a day after the president attended a meeting of defense chiefs from some 20 partners in the coalition trying to beat back the rampaging extremist group, which has captured broad swaths of Iraqi territory. Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, hosted the gathering at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington, best known for being home to the blue-and-white liveried airplane that serves as Obama’s Air Force One.
Veterans groups had complained that the lack of a formal name could shortchange Americans risking their lives to fight IS by leaving them unable to claim the recognition of a combat medal. One American, a Marine, has lost his life in the operations.
Formally naming large-scale military operations has a long history – the D-Day landings that helped defeat Nazi Germany were code-named Operation Overlord. But using the process to try to score public relations victories is a more recent phenomenon.
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