Commentators are sharply divided over the wisdom of intervening in Libya. But they largely agree on one point: America's name for the military mission is lousy. The Pentagon says the name "Operation Odyssey Dawn" was compiled from randomly generated words, and that it "has absolutely no meaning." But given the simpler sobriquets our allies have chosen, like Britain's Operation Ellamy, Canada's Operation Mobile, and even France's "poetic" Harmattan — a hot, dry Saharan wind — it's worth asking: Is this the best America could do? The wags weigh in:
The Pentagon might want to reread the classics
"If memory serves, Odysseus took a very long time to come home" in Homer's epic, says Jonah Goldberg in National Review. Are Obama's generals trying to send him a message by choosing a name "that basically says this is beginning of an extended, seemingly endless, journey"?
Who rounds out the cast?
If this is "the return of Ulysses," then obviously "Gadhafi plays the Cyclops," says Pepe Escobar in Asia Times. "But who's Circe? Hillary Clinton?"
Forget Homer. Sounds like an airport novel
"Is it possible to conduct a military operation without giving it a title like a Tom Clancy novel?" tweets Roger Ebert.
Wrong car! Wrong soap!
It's like a bunch of Frank Zappa–loving Pentagon flacks were in some basement coming up with a "nifty name" for the mission, and one says, "How about naming it for a minivan and a dishwashing detergent?" says Mark Thompson in TIME. And for some reason, "Operation Sienna Palmolive" didn't fly.
Wheeee! Mediterranean vacation!
"Isn't Odyssey Dawn part of the fab Carnival Cruises fleet?" tweets Tom Watson.
The Pentagon's showing its seedier influences
"To me, Odyssey Dawn suggests the name of a Seventies porn star," says James Wolcott in Vanity Fair, maybe "one of those spacier ones." I can almost hear the trailer: "Odyssey Dawn in Harold Lime's Hot Dog Girls II..."
It's a B-list action flick, not a porno
No, "I just googled Operation Odyssey Dawn and it was a straight-to-video movie with Jean-Claude Van Damme," tweets Andy Borowitz.
Obscuring their motives
At least they didn't call it "Operation Intervention in Libya (acronym: OIL)," says Brian J. Foley in CounterPunch.
I guess it does have a macho ring to it
"Apparently, our Libyan adventure is called 'Operation Odyssey Dawn' because 'Operation Princess Rainbow Sparkle Pony' wasn't manly enough," tweets CanadianCynic.
The imagery is all wrong
My problem with Odyssey Dawn is "it sounds so peaceful," says Judy Molland in Care2. In reality, of course, "Obama's Nobel Peace Prize may look a little out-of-place now."