Saturday, March 26, 2011

About that "Odyssey Dawn" thing...

As a long-time military guy, I've always hated military operation names that seemed hand-crafted for public consumption and subsequent printing on t-shirts and bumper stickers. "Desert Shield" and its follow-up "Desert Storm" come immediately to mind. "Just Cause", the operation to invade Panama and capture Manuel Noriega, was to me a particularly unsubtle bit of salesmanship, and operations "Iraqi Freedom" and "Enduring Freedom" are particularly egregious examples of bad names for military operations.

World War 2 saw such cryptic names as "Market Garden", which was the Allied operation to secure bridgeheads and strategic positions along rivers in Germany and the Netherlands. Now that's a good name for an operation. The Allied invasion of Normandy was called simply "Overlord", another good name for a military operation. In more recent history, Israel dubbed its operations against Hamas in the Gaza Strip "Cast Lead".

In the 1980s, we had names for exercises under 9th Air Force that all seemed to begin with the word "Coronet" followed my some apparently random noun. They were all horribly boring and mundane, and therefore good names.

As operation names go, "Odyssey Dawn" doesn't completely suck by my standards. While I suspect some general officer somewhere thought it sounded cool (and thus potentially t-shirtable), at least it doesn't smack of some PR flak's idea of a marketable name.

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