Pentagon’s war-naming problem resolved — chooses ‘just kind of bleh’ name

On October 3 the Wall Street Journal reported: For weeks, military planners have debated a thorny strategic problem. In recent days, they sent a suggestion to the Pentagon’s top brass.

It was rejected. America’s newest war won’t be called Operation Inherent Resolve.

Two months since war planes first started striking Islamic State targets, operations in Iraq and Syria don’t have a fancy name. One of the generic placeholders found on classified Pentagon PowerPoint slides reads: “Operations in Iraq and Syria.”

To some military officers, Inherent Resolve didn’t properly evoke the Middle East. Others faulted it for failing to highlight the international coalition the U.S. had assembled. Still others simply found it uninspiring.

One senior official said Inherent Resolve was a placeholder name and never seriously considered for the overall war effort. Other officials said had the name been better received it might well be the new war’s moniker.

“It is just kind of bleh,” said a military officer.

What’s happened since then? Focus groups? Brand testing? An urgent demand to mint medals?

It turns out that the kind of bleh name is now the official name.

Lack of imagination is perhaps the signature of the Pentagon, but in this case they could have just followed the lead of the French and called it Operation Shamal (like Opération Chammal) after the regional wind, or like the British gone with a studiously opaque code name, theirs being Operation Shader. Instead it’s the standard corny Hollywood summertime blockbuster-style name — a name in response to which ISIS commanders are no doubt already snickering: “You’ve got the name; we’re got the resolve.”

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