Iraqi Freedom Changing to New Dawn

Operation IRAQI FREEDOM PatchOperation IRAQI FREEDOM is going to be renamed Operation NEW DAWN, Jake Tapper reports.

ABC News has learned that the Obama administration has decided to give the war in Iraq — currently known as Operation Iraqi Freedom — a new name.

The new name: “Operation New Dawn.”

In a February 17, 2010, memo to the Commander of Central Command, Gen. David Petraeus, Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the “requested operation name change is approved to take effect 1 September 2010, coinciding with the change of mission for U.S. forces in Iraq.”

You can read the memo — a copy of which was sent to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen — HERE.

Gates writes that by changing the name at the same time as the change of mission — the scheduled withdrawal of U.S. combat troops — the US is sending “a strong signal that Operation IRAQI FREEDOM has ended and our forces are operating under a new mission.”

The move, Gates writes, “also presents opportunities to synchronize strategic communication initiatives, reinforce our commitment to honor the Security Agreement, and recognize our evolving relationship with the Government of Iraq.”

This isn’t a novel idea.  Operation DESERT SHIELD became Operation DESERT STORM when the mission shifted from defending Saudi Arabia to actively pushing Saddam Hussein’s forces out of Kuwait.  And Operation DESERT STORM actually morphed into a series of follow-on missions:  Operation PROVIDE COMFORT to aid the Kurds; Operation SOUTHERN WATCH to protect the Shi’a from air attacks; Operation NORTHERN WATCH as the Kurdish mission changed; and several other minor missions and name changes along the way.  Heck, one could argue that IRAQI FREEDOM was yet another name change, as our forces never left the theater or stood down from a war posture.

But, apparently, people are complaining.

The move has met with some criticism. In a statement, Brian Wise, executive director of Military Families United said, “You cannot end a war simply by changing its name.  Despite the Administration’s efforts to spin realities on the ground, their efforts do not change the situation at hand in Iraq. Operational military decisions should not be made for purposes of public relations, as the Secretary of Defense cites, but should be made in the best interests of our nation, the  troops on the ground and their families back home.”

If Gates was hoping that “Operation New Dawn” would convey a new period in the US-Iraq relationship, it’s not clear that was the best choice of name.

After all, Operation New Dawn was the name for the bloody and grueling 2004 battle for Fallujah.

To me, “New Dawn” connotes a dishwashing liquid — or, perhaps, Tony Orlando’s backup singers when Telma Hopkins was away.  It’s also the name of the most prominent English language Pakistani newspaper.  But there are only so many code names to go around, I guess.

FILED UNDER: Iraq War, Military Affairs, , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Brian Knapp says:

    To me, “New Dawn” connotes a dishwashing liquid.

    Dawn can also be used as hand soap, so, I guess we’re washing our hands of this?

    Also, still a better choice than operation Red Dawn, which would have necessitated a bunch of melodramatic pretty boys.

  2. Triumph says:

    This is disgusting and indicative of the communistic, 1984-esque posturing of Obama.

    If Obama is involved, the real name should be Operation Liberal Failure.

  3. DC Loser says:

    I wish we’d stop giving these cute names to military operations. Let’s go back to the days when we gave random or meaningless names to operations as part of OPSEC or not to tip the enemy off as to where and when it may happen.

  4. DL says:

    Freedom means Bush was right -Obama was wrong. New Dawn smells of hopey changy credit seeking.

    Liberals try to manipulate truth and reality by manipulating words (just as Satan quoted scripture to Christ) but we’re wise to you sons of deceivers now.

  5. Rick DeMent says:

    Liberals try to manipulate truth and reality by manipulating words (just as Satan quoted scripture to Christ) but we’re wise to you sons of deceivers now.

    I have to hand it to Triumph, he has spawned a whole cottage industry of parody commenters. First ZRIII now DL. I fear some might not get the joke.

  6. Dave Schuler says:

    Sounds like a job creation move to me. Just thinking of all the web sites that will need to be changed boggles the mind.

  7. rodney dill says:

    Arugula, all around….

  8. Franklin says:

    Well at some point I think it’s fair enough to change the name … we’ve still got troops in the DMZ but nobody’s pretending we’re still at war (although at some point in the future that thing will flare up again).

    But ‘New Dawn’ … geez, couldn’t they have asked some marketing genius like Plouffe to come up with something?

  9. William d'Inger says:

    I think it is appropriate to signal a new phase in the conflict given the fact that our role has changed significantly over time. As names go, I consider it positive and refreshing. I’m astonished that it is being derided here, and I presume that’s the result of standard political sniping.

  10. JKB says:

    New Dawn not to be confused with Breaking Dawn the Twilight movie set for 2011 release. We’re not trying to start citrus orchards in Iraq are we? If we did, then it could be Operation New Dawn now with Lemons.

    Yes, this code name is problematic. A bit worse for the Dems in my opinion.

    New Dawn is used in literature to signify that part of the story following the dark and desperate battle requiring faith and courage by a strong leader that has been successfully won. But it is also the time when the weak and appeasers crawl out from the rock they hid under during the battle to try and claim credit for the hero’s work.

  11. The Florida Masochist says:

    James,

    I got to disagree. What major Military Operations has changed their name AFTER they were were conducted? I don’t recall any, but I may be wrong. The example you cite, Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield, I see as two separate military affairs. The buildup to the war in Iraq, then the actual war. Like Fortitude, Bodyguard, and over Pre-DD Operations were to Overlord.

    Bill

  12. An Interested Party says:

    Liberals try to manipulate truth and reality by manipulating words (just as Satan quoted scripture to Christ) but we’re wise to you sons of deceivers now.

    So I guess the president’s ears are really horns?

  13. sam says:

    I just wish we’d go back to the earlier naming of military operations, you know, like Galvanic, etc. I frankly get embarrassed when I see things like “Enduring Freedom” and so on. I always feel as if I’m being subjected to a marketing campaign.

  14. Dave Schuler says:

    I always feel as if I’m being subjected to a marketing campaign.

    Perceptive of you, sam.

  15. tom p says:

    I’m astonished that it is being derided here, and I presume that’s the result of standard political sniping.

    William, it is the result of a thing called “a sense of humor”.

  16. rodney dill says:

    New Dawn

    A spiffy title like that probably deserves a Nobel prize for literature.

  17. William d'Inger says:

    it is the result of a thing called “a sense of humor”.

    Well, okay if you say so, but the people around here have a track record for partisan sniping.

    Look, if Obama spontaneously and out of genuine concern helped an old lady to cross the street, he would be accused of a sleazy attempt at political theater that comforts our enemies, increases the nation debt and endangers the Constitutional rights of all Americans.