Ah-ha! The Pentagon actually has a set of criteria for coming up with silly names for military operations. For the current ‘Operation Odyssey Dawn’ (Which some have observed sounds like a pole dancer from an Atlanta strip club), the criteria are that the first word must begin with the letter ‘O’. I presume they label these things alphabetically much like the NOAA labels Hurricanes. The second word can begin with the letters ‘A’ through ‘F’. I am unclear on the logic behind this one.
In addition, there are several restrictions. Here is a list from the Office of Naval Operations courtesy of The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell‘s website:
Who actually chooses the words and their motivation remains a mystery. I suspect they may have flunked creative writing in college. This Wired article says that the names are somewhat random and these guidelines exist because of some bad press due to previously inappropriate operation names from prior conflicts in Korea and Vietnam. Now we know.
(By the way, you can post your own alternate suggestions for the operation at http://www.thelastword.msnbc.com)
- What’s in a Name? ‘Odyssey Dawn’ is Pentagon-Crafted Nonsense (wired.com)
- The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell (MSNBC)