THE WAR NAME GAME: ACHIEVING PUBLIC BUY-IN
November 9, 2004
We live in a much-convoluted world. A world where image is everything and substance is meaningless. A world where corporate crime is rampant and family values continue to spiral downward, fueled largely by “reality” television and sponsors that dictate how we should think, act, and feel. A world where…well heck, just listen to the voiceover of any Hollywood movie trailer and take your pick.
As a nation whose survival is, sadly, dependant upon war and the manufacture of weapons of war, it’s not all-that crucial to obtain buy-in from military personnel (since they did, in fact, enlist to serve). No, what really matters is the all-important approval rating by Joe and Suzy Public. What, you may ask, does it take to garner approval with regard to attacking foreign lands and shoveling heaping helpings of democracy down their undemocratic throats? Lots of things, actually. It takes leaders who can express in simple terms why we are fighting, when (not if, since we are the mighty USA and almost never lose) we can expect to achieve victory, how many U.S. casualties (not "deaths," since no one is ever “killed” in a war) are anticipated, and which pop celebrities will be entertaining the troops at Christmas.
But even this sort of information dissemination cannot guarantee the public buy-in. Which is why the U.S. military has its own ace in the hole: It's called The Campaign Name Game. You see, traditionally, naming a war campaign was simple: You named the campaign based on its objectives and outcomes. For example, The Battle for Bunker Hill was fought between the British military and an insurgent, um, patriot rebel army. Actually, this is probably a bad example since 1. The British army won, and 2. The fighting occurred not on Bunker Hill but on nearby Breed’s Hill. A better example would be The Invasion of Normandy, where, on June 6, 1944, the Allied forces invaded Normandy. Simple right? The battle practically names itself. A no-brainer some might say. Done and done.
But what was once good for the past is no longer good in today’s world. The fast-paced, action-hungry 21st century public demands more. How can we be expected to buy into U.S. invasions with simple names like The Invasion of Iraq or Assault on the Persian Gulf? Heck, I’m already reaching for the Game Boy. Fortunately, the U.S. military, in its infinite wisdom, recently hired several writing majors to spice up the lingo. Additionally, a Rand-sponsored focus group was interviewed, and it was discovered that certain words don't ring well with the public. Certain words, it seems, leave the average American feeling uneasy; and feelings of unease lead to indigestion and the next thing you know McDonald's, Burger King, and the entire fast-food industry has taken an adverse financial hit. And if Mickey D's falls, how long before the shopping mall goes the way of the drive-in theatre. The long-term economic effects could be catastrophic.
Fear not, for a plan has already been implemented. Certain "bad" words are no longer part of the war equation. Thus, “Invasion” has become persona non grata and has been replaced by “Operation.” “Attack” is now known as “Liberation.” As a result, historians will be able to marvel upon such Pulitzer-inspired titles as Operation Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom, and the Lucas-film inspired Operation Phantom Fury. Since “mission accomplished” no longer means “mission accomplished” it seems likely there will be plenty more campaigns in the near future. Thus, I’m offering my two pennies worth, doing what I can to fuel freedom by offering our government a list of titles for future war efforts. What’s more, I’m incorporating the popular acronym into each of the campaign titles; show me a red-blooded American who doesn’t embrace the acronym and I’ll show you an insurgent commie rat lying in wait to sell us out. I’m doing this out of pocket, for no consulting fee—not even a Twin Towers commemorative coin. Why? Because I love our nation. I want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. Thus, I look forward to more invasions, cleverly masked behind the following titles, all of which are guaranteed to achieve the all-important buy-in:
OPERATION ASS: Agenda for Super Sovereignty
OPERATION ASS 2 ASS: Agenda for Super Sovereignty 2: All Shall Self-govern
OPERATION LOVE: Liberty or Violent Entanglements
OPERATION LOVE 2: Leave or Viciously Explode
OPERATION DIVERSION: Diplomatic Invasion of Very Eastern Rebel Soldiers in Other Nations
OPERATION POWER: Political Overthrow With Extreme Resentment
OPERATION KITTEN: Kill Insurgents Then Take Everything Now
OPERATION PUPPIE: Precipitate, Undermine, Pillage, Plunder, Invade and Eradicate
OPERATION BDN-BDF: Bring in Da Nukes Bring in Da Fight
OPERATION SHANIA: Sure Happy Another Nice Invasion Achieved
OPERATION BIG DONG: Bombastic Invasion Group Doing Outrageously Neat Governing
OPERATION TERROR KIL(le)R: Televised Execution, Resistance Restated on Radio; Kill Insurgents Left and Right
OPERATION MY BAD: Militant Yuppies, Begetting Armageddon and Death
OPERATION KING BUSH: Killing Insurgents Now, George. Beating Unarmed Survivors Heartily
More to come, no doubt…Four more years worth, at least.