So says a senior military source to Fox News. Fun fact: The Pentagon rejected “Inherent Resolve” a few weeks ago because it was, in the words of one officer, too “bleh.” The Wall Street Journal, October 3rd:
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.
“It is just kind of bleh,” said a military officer…
The delay over naming the Iraq and Syria mission has led some to suggest politics is at play. The latest war, some officials said, is one the Obama administration didn’t seek or eagerly embrace. “If you name it, you own it,” said a defense official. “And they don’t want to own it.”
That article went on to make the point that the Pentagon likes to award medals for different operations to indicate the full scope of action that a serviceman’s seen. Until now, because the Iraq/Syria operation lacked a name, they were handing out the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal — a medal most personnel involved in the fight against ISIS have already received. The fact that they were opting for a “war on terror” medal rather than something more specific makes me wonder if the delay in naming the operation was, to some degree, an artifact of the ol’ “it’s not a war, it’s counterterrorism” dodge that the White House was using last month to spin O’s re-entry into Iraq. Now that we’re more than a month in, with ISIS on the brink of seizing Kobani and skirmishing around Baghdad, they’re reluctantly conceding that we’re in this for the long haul. We own it. Might as well name it.
Given Obama’s ambivalence about the mission, I like to think “Inherent Resolve” was an ironic choice. Operations in Iraq have had not one but two inadvertently and tragically ironic names so far; might as well make the third deliberate. Besides, “Inherent Freedom” scans better than “Operation Just Enough To Lose.” Still, it’s odd that they reverted to a name that they’d already found wanting. Probably they just got bored with the process and decided to pull something out of the trash bin and go with that. Kind of like I do with “Romney 2016?” posts whenever I get writer’s block.
Incidentally, and maybe not coincidentally, the new name is being leaked on the same day that David Ignatius is reporting that Obama’s under pressure to escalate in Syria and make this more of a traditional war than it presently is. Among proposals being kicked around: Accelerated training for native anti-ISIS forces, Apache gunships to Anbar province, a small no-fly zone against Assad’s forces to make Turkey happy, and — just maybe — authorization for U.S. military advisors to accompany Iraqi troops into battle. Obama’s leery of that, of course, because it would break his “no combat troops” pledge, but the public may be forgiving. According to a new poll, 41 percent now support airstrikes and ground troops to stop ISIS. Last month, just 34 percent did.