The Iraq war and ouster of Saddam, though, may show that the U.S. military is not trending well in terms of naming operations. There’s the Frosted Flakes-suited All American Tiger (and speaking of cereal, try Wolfpack Crunch), the mythology-meets-Texas Centaur Rodeo, the highly unoriginal snoozer Clear Area, the orange-juicy Mandarin Squeeze, the Eminem-esque Slim Shady (in Kirkuk, not Detroit), or the really inexplicable Tombstone Piledriver or Grizzly Forced Entry. There’s Operation Matador, which targeted bullish insurgents near the Syrian border, but could have conversely fended off French soccer players. And in the tragic steps of Hollywood not being able to come up with something original, some operations have sequels: Cajun Mousetrap II and Cajun Mousetrap III, Iron Fury I and II, and Ivy Cyclone I and II. The last is not to be confused with operations Ivy Blizzard, Ivy Lightning, Ivy Needle and Ivy Serpent – did someone go to Harvard? There’s also the question of how many Hades-inspired names can you cram into one war: Devil Clinch, Devil Siphon, Devil Thrust? Frankly, I’m a big proponent of truth in advertising. If an army’s job is to beat the living tar out of the enemy, why sugarcoat it? So consider these suggestions: Operation Open a Can, Operation Up One Side and Down the Other or the frighteningly hormonal Operation PMS. If it’s positive humanitarian-aid publicity you crave, go for Operation Kiss-Up or Operation You Like Me, You Really Really Like Me. Because war is hell, but naming them can be an art – or a real bomb. Bridget Johnson writes for the Daily News. E-mail her at [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! I can’t believe my high-school guidance counselor – who clearly slacked on the job anyway – never named one career to which my talents may have been particularly suited: naming military operations. Even stormier than naming hurricanes, less landmark-centric than naming wildfires, the moniker for a military operation can make the enemy whimper in fright – or make your stalwart forces sound like complete wussies. The plot within Germany’s Reserve Army to assassinate Adolf Hitler, disarm the SS, arrest Nazi leadership and take control of German cities was valiantly dubbed Operation Valkyrie, a name shared with a mythological band of warrior maidens. It didn’t work, but at least the attempt to bring down evil incarnate went down in history with a cool name. Fast-forward to this May, when a 10,000-strong force of Afghan and coalition soldiers began an effort to rout insurgents, with a name that seems unfit to print in a family newspaper: Operation Mountain Thrust. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2Or how about Israel’s effort to rescue captured soldier Gilad Shalit and suppress Hamas rocket fire from Gaza? Operation Summer Rain sounds like a plug-in air freshener or feminine-care product, not soon to strike fear in the hearts of your foes. Hamas has been raining Qassam missiles on Israel, but the operation was named before they started going for distance records and raising the ire of the Israeli Defense Forces. But the 2004 Israeli incursion into Gaza was called Operation Rainbow. These military activities are starting to sound like a “Teletubbies” episode, especially if you add Operation Purple Warrior, a 1987 British military exercise incorporating lessons learned from the Falklands War. According to Lt. Col. Gregory C. Sieminski, who wrote “The Art of Naming Operations” years ago for the U.S. Army War College quarterly Parameters, nicknaming duty initially falls to midlevel staff officers. In 1975, the Joint Chiefs of Staff created a computer system that assigned different Department of Defense components two-letter sequences, requiring that the first word of the military operation start with these two letters. Naming trends have since gone in a different direction. “Since 1989,” wrote Sieminski, “major U.S. military operations have been nicknamed with an eye toward shaping domestic and international perceptions about the activities they describe.” Think Panama’s Operation Just Cause, or Provide Comfort, which aided Iraq’s Kurds in 1991. Not that every military operation has been lacking in nomenclature ferocity: Since the ouster of the Taliban in Afghanistan, operations have included Anaconda, Avalanche, Mountain Viper, Lightning Resolve, Mountain Resolve and, in what may be an underhanded comparison of southern Afghanistan to New Jersey, Asbury Park.
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