The U.S. began airstrikes against Islamic State militants two months ago, and now the military's latest offense in the Middle East finally has a name: Operation Inherent Resolve. Don't like it? The Pentagon didn't either, at first.
"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," according to the Wall Street Journal. "'It is just kind of bleh,' said a military officer."
Col. Edward Thomas, a spokesman for Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, identified the name at the Pentagon on Wednesday. He offered no further details, according to the Washington Post. “According to CENTCOM officials, the name INHERENT RESOLVE is intended to reflect the unwavering resolve and deep commitment of the U.S. and partner nations in the region and around the globe to eliminate the terrorist group ISIL and the threat they pose to Iraq, the region and the wider international community,” officials with U.S. Central Command, which oversees military operations in Iraq and throughout the Middle East, said in a news release Wednesday. "It also symbolizes the willingness and dedication of coalition members to work closely with our friends in the region and apply all available dimensions of national power necessary – diplomatic, informational, military, economic – to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL.”
Campaign names are important because they can help stir up patriotism or unity behind a costly war. The Pentagon also awards metals under various military operations in recognition of a servicemember's action. Veterans groups had complained that the lack of a formal name would cheat some military members risking their lives to fight the Islamic State out of receiving a combat medal.
The D-Day landings that helped defeat Nazi Germany were code-named Operation Overlord. American forces deployed to Saudi Arabia under Operation Desert Shield. The March 2003 invasion of Iraq to topple Hussein briefly carried the name Operation Iraqi Liberation – or OIL. It later was called Operation Iraqi Freedom. U.S. efforts to halt Ebola in West Africa operate under Operation United Assistance.
Operation Inherent Resolve has been mocked on Twitter since its big reveal.
In same vein, when I see the ISIL operation is called "Operation Inherent Resolve" I think: Even Pentagon must be tired of this war. (3/3)
— Timothy Noah (@TimothyNoah1) October 16, 2014
— Sara Firth (@Sara__Firth) October 15, 2014