Odyssey

By Elmhirst, Sophie | New Statesman (1996), April 4, 2011 | Go to article overview
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Odyssey


Elmhirst, Sophie, New Statesman (1996)


Boy, do the Americans know how to christen a war. Odyssey Dawn is the latest in a theatrical line of military operation monikers. From Iraq: Scorpion Sting, Desert Thrust, Clean Sweep, American Tiger, Arrowhead Blizzard, Bulldog Mammoth, Iron Justice, Wolfback Crunch, Iron Fury, Grizzly Forced Entry, Wolfhound Fury, Unified Fist, Raging Bull II, Relentless Hunt, Patriot Strike. I swear I did not make one of those up.

The Pentagon insists that the naming process is random and meaningless -the department chooses words to match specific combinations of letters. But then the Canadians and Brits used a similar system to find a name for the Libyan operation and came up with Mobile and Ellamy, respectively-both of which seem somewhat more random and meaningless than Odyssey Dawn. In a way, you have to admire the Americans' gall. They don't pretend that war is clinical; they take the inherent drama and ramp it up. It's a computer game, a movie, the greatest show on earth (apart from Wolfback Crunch, which sounds more like a chocolate bar).

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