what's in a name?

The U.S. Can’t Come Up With a Name for the Operation Against ISIS

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 16: U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (L) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Martin Dempsey testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill September 16, 2014 in Washington, DC. Senators questioned the top military and civilian leaders about the threat posed by the terrorist group calling itself the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or ISIL. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Photo: Chip Somodevilla/2014 Getty Images

ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State isn’t the only confusingly named player in the current conflict in the Middle East. The Wall Street Journal reports that two months after the U.S. began air strikes against the militant group, the Pentagon still hasn’t settled on a name for the operation. Since 1989 every military action has had a name (like Desert Storm or Enduring Freedom), but the suggested moniker for the latest war, Operation Inherent Resolve, was rejected, possibly for being “just kind of bleh,” as one officer put it. For now it’s being referred to as “Operations in Iraq and Syria” in classified documents, and some suggest there’s a reason no one in the Obama administration has come up with something better. “If you name it, you own it,” said a defense official. “And they don’t want to own it.”

U.S. Needs a Name for the Operation Against ISIS