Of all the things to criticise about President Obama’s decision to get involved with the rebellion in Libya, you would think that the name of the mission, Operation Odyssey Dawn, would be pretty low on the list.
But Lawrence O’Donnell spent an entire segment last night explaining how they came up with the name and going off about how “stupid” it was, even though he did acknowledge that there were more important issues at hand.
“As Operation Odyssey Dawn enters its fourth day, you have every right to wonder who at the Pentagon was fired for coming up with the worst name ever for an American military adventure. The answer? So far, no one. There are two reasons no one has been fired for this terrible name. Number one, most of the media seems to think military action in Libya provokes many more important questions than who came up with the stupid name, and two, the media is always excessively deferential to the Pentagon’s war titles.”
So what is the actual explanation for the terrible name?
“Each command in the defence department is given a few two letter combinations they can use for their titles. Under this ridiculously complicated system, the U.S. Africa command was given three different sets of letters that it could use. The words had to begin between JF to JZ, NS to NZ, or OA to OF. Now, the group choosing the title chose the O group. OA to OF. So the first word had to begin with an O.”
Following so far?
“They had to use O for the first word. So that’s where they got Odyssey. The second word had to begin with A through F. That’s where they got Dawn. Now, according to Major Eric Hilliard, an official spokesman for the U.S. Africa command, Odyssey Dawn, quote, has absolutely no meaning. We completely agree, but unlike current music lyrics, most of which have absolutely no meaning, there’s actually something real at stake in Odyssey Dawn. Life and death for thousands of people. Asking the name to have meaning surely is not asking too much.”
O’Donnell’s idea for better names:
“‘Obama’s Adventure’ has meaning. It also has truth. And it fits in the Pentagon’s OA to OF bracket. So does ‘Obama’s Bombs.’ Full of meaning.”
He then asked his audience to come up with their own names for the mission and post them to his website.
I’m sure some of those will be quite creative.
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