I have no choice. I have to pick a bone with Kevin Drum this time:
Aside from the fact that we have twelve of these things in just the past 30 years, Waldman points out that Republican names (in bold) are considerably more martial than Democratic names:
Even though it’s the military that chooses these names, you might notice that the ones during Republican administrations have a particularly testosterone-fueled feel to them, while most of the Democratic ones are a little more tentative. Something like Operation Uphold Democracy just doesn’t have the same oomph as, say, Operation Urgent Fury. If the Obama administration had really wanted to get people excited about fighting ISIS, they should have called it Operation Turgid Thrusting or Operation Boundless Glory.
Oddly, though, it turns out that the ISIS campaign doesn’t even have any name at all. I guess that’s a good sign.
Not attaching a name to a military operation is historically a very bad sign.
Fifty years ago Operation Rolling Thunder became a household name with President Johnson’s aerial strikes against North Vietnam and Operations Linebacker and Linebacker II became the Nixon equivalent, but Laos and Cambodia were left shrouded in darkness.
The first (other than 214 tons dropped on Cambodia under Johnson) carpet-bombing in 1969-70 was entitled Operation Menu (the first mission titled the decidedly non-martial/hunger inducing Breakfast); but after 475,000 tons were dropped by B-52s by mid-1970 the remaining 2.275 million tons dropped until 15 August 1973 had no distinct codename.
B-52 carpet-bombing had the catchall Operation Arc light attached to the raids, but considering the USAF expended over six million tons of ordnance between 1964 and 1973 and each B-52 was (and remains) capable of dropping 30 tons in a single sortie, Operation H-Bomb probably would have been more appropriate. Incidentally, the 2.756 megatons expended against Cambodia was more ordnance than the tonnage Germany and Japan absorbed during the Second World War.