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[Opinion] Operation Name

Posted March. 20, 2003 22:14,   


Large-scale military operations are accompanied with a self-justifying operation name. It was `Desert Shield` when Americans attacked Iraq for invading Kuwait in August 1999. Then as the war intensified, they came with operation name `Desert Storm` in January following year. When they bombed Afghanistan in 2001, Americans changed the name of operations from `Infinite Justice` to ` Enduring Freedom,` fearing the expression of `Infinite Justice` might offend the Islamic World. They attacked Iraq in 1998 under the name `Desert Fox,` and code-named `Anaconda` for the assault in Afghanistan last spring.

The tradition of code-naming military operations began in earnest during the World War II. The code name for the D-Day invasion of Normandy was Operation Overlord. The original name was Operation Roundhammer but British Prime Minister Winston Churchill renamed it Overlord. Operation Killer was the first operation name opened to the public. Before Gen. McArthur unveiled the name during the Korean War, it was a rule to keep operation names in secret within the military. But now military officials have to iron out good ideas for a name representing nature of military operations.

Last year British Financial Times wrote that a success or a failure of operations largely depends on how long an operation name lasts and how popular it is among the public. Then it picked `Desert Storm` and `Shining Hope,` a name for Albanian refuge aid project in 1999, as the two best operation names, citing the rhythm, rhyme and rhetorical expression of the names. A good operation name does not necessarily guarantee a victory in a war, however. If it is a war without cause, then it is bound to fail in the end.

Americans this time code-named the invasion into Iraq `Operation Iraqi Freedom,` seemingly meaning that freeing Iraqi people from Hussein`s oppression. Then, they also has this war scenario with scary name `Shock and Fear,` indicating their intention to devastate Iraqi military and communication facilities by dropping thousands of bombs that also kill people. By hearing their saying, we easily imagine what this war will bring in the end – death of innocent civilians while President Hussein resists until the end. Will God ever respond to Pope John Paul II`s pray for peace?

Song Moon-hong, Editorial Writer, songmh@donga.com