The Obama administration has, at long last, a name for U.S. airstrikes against the Islamic State group: Operation Inherent Resolve. It needed to come kicking and screaming to the table, but the name now stands.
The Associated Press reported Wednesday:
WASHINGTON (AP) — 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.
Personally, I was hoping the White House would go with Operation Kobe Bryant, but that didn’t happen.
Just days ago I said: “The logic seems to be that if President Obama can just eek out two years without naming operations in Iraq and Syria, then perhaps the never-ending mudslide of time will have an easier job of washing it all away…” Little did I know that the Wall Street Journal talked to military officials on Oct. 3, who conveyed that very same message.
Here is what the Journal’s Julian E. Barnes found out while writing ‘Operation Name-That-Mission: The Hunt for Military Monikers’:
“The delay over naming the Iraq and Syria mission has led some to suggest politics is at play. The latest war, some officials said, is one the Obama administration didn’t seek or eagerly embrace. ‘If you name it, you own it,’ said a defense official. “And they don’t want to own it.”
The Obama administration now owns “it” — whatever that “it” is. For months now the non-strategy of a strategy has seemed to be “No boots on the ground!”, which may be why U.S. officials are trying to spin Islamic State’s push towards Baghdad into “strategic momentum” for its coalition.
Politico reported Tuesday:
The terrorists of the Islamic State have “tactical momentum on several fronts,” but the U.S. and its allies believe they have “strategic momentum,” the nations’ defense chiefs agreed Tuesday.
Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey and 21 of his senior counterparts from the coalition fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant also agreed that ISIL has been dangerously effective in its propaganda war, a military official said, and the allies must do more to counter it.
When one reads the news they must always be on the lookout for strange euphemisms, diplo-babble, and legerdemain lexical wizardry from officials. The use of “strategic momentum” certainly qualifies when they speak on operations against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. When one wants to hear what is really going on, that individual should pay more attention to guys like Gen. Ray Odierno, who are regarded as straight shooters.
The Hill reported Monday:
Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said Monday he is “somewhat” confident that the Iraqi army can defend Baghdad from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
“I believe the capability is there to defend Baghdad. … But we’ll have to see what plays out over the coming days,” he told reporters at the Association of the United States Army on Monday.
Defense officials are urging patience with the U.S. strategy against ISIS, even as the group makes gains in western Iraq and on the Syrian border town of Kobani.
ISIS appears to be advancing closer and closer to Baghdad, however, where at least several hundred American troops and civilians are stationed.
If the U.S. is only “somewhat” confident in the 60,000 Iraqi troops tasked with protecting Baghdad, then it is hard to see how officials can say the coalition has any kind of momentum. Regardless, it is clear that the Obama administration is going to need an extraordinary level of “resolve” to make Operation Inherent Resolve a success. Right now, however, it appears to think that dropping bombs for a couple years will buy it enough time to pass the baton to the next president.
Remember: The more a U.S. official sounds like he’s been getting his talking points from the Ministry of Truth, the more closely you have to pay attention to what he is saying. Then, and only then, will you have a chance at discerning what he honestly believes.