Operation Odyssey Dawn?

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Remember how the late musician Frank Zappa named his kids Moon Unit, Dweezil, Ahmet Emuukha Rodan and Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen? Have you noticed how the Pentagon’s names for its wars have become more bizarre since the Mothers of Invention front man left us in 1993? Perhaps his spirit has touched the Defense Department. You can imagine them in the Pentagon basement a couple of weeks ago. “War with Libya coming — we need a nifty name!” one chief deputy under-secretary for nomenclature said to his chief assistant. “How about naming it for a minivan and a dishwashing detergent?”

“Operation Sienna Palmolive?”

“Not quite.”

Anyway, here’s the true story of how the Pentagon names its operations. “It is evident that the military has begun to recognize the power of names in waging a public relations campaign,” Army Maj. Gregory Sieminski wrote back in 1995, “and the significance of winning that campaign to the overall effort.”