Metaphor and Military Campaign Names

Another article by the always-interesting Tom Jacobs in Miller-McCune, this time about metaphor and military campaign names. An analysis of the names given to Israeli military operations between 1948 and 2007 found that more than 60% of them alluded to either the natural world or the Bible, metaphorical names intended to suggest that the campaigns were either forces of nature or sanctioned by a higher power. “The basic theoretical supposition is that military naming is a simple and useful mechanism that might be employed to blur undesired aspects—such as the human and economical costs—associated with the respective practices,” writes Dalia Gavriely-Nuri of Hadassah College Jerusalem, Bar-Ilan University, the researcher who conducted the study. Operation First Rain and Operation Lightning Strike suggests these operations are an “inevitable, natural event, rather than one worthy of public examination.” Of course, this practice is widespread. Hezbollah’s Operation Truthful Promise is “a noble-sounding name for the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers,” Jacobs cites Gavriely-Nuri as pointing out. Operation Enduring Freedom anyone?