I am Iron Fist: nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh
October 1, 2005 9:16 AM   Subscribe

Submitted for your approval: Operation Iron Fist which is different from Iron Resolve, Iron Grip, and Iron Hammer. If Eisenhammer isn't creepy enough for you, let's not forget Infinite Justice, which is surprisingly close to Infinite Reach. There's quite a bit of repetition. My personal favorites are this one and this one. What's your favorite? What does it mean when we have so many ongoing operations that we run out of original names?
posted by allen.spaulding (49 comments total)
how about Operation Fuck them
posted by svenvog at 9:25 AM on October 1, 2005

The Armed Forces are paid to kill people and break stuff, not to be creative. You want they should be poets now?

How many ways can you say, "Operation: Attack The Bad Guys", anyway?
posted by Malor at 9:26 AM on October 1, 2005

From the poster Hangly Man on the Something Awful forums: "The more patriotic the name, the more fascist the policy. Soon the government will announce Operation Apple Pie, which will allow national guardsmen to shoot American citizens whenever they feel like it."
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:30 AM on October 1, 2005

I guess it's a good thing we sent all the national guardsmen to Iraq then, or else there may have been carnage at home.
posted by allen.spaulding at 9:34 AM on October 1, 2005

Operation Anaconda would have been a great place to succed. We can be fairly certain that we would not be working our way toward Operation Zsa Zsa Zar-Ka-POWEE!
posted by svenvog at 9:35 AM on October 1, 2005

As someone may have mentioned here before, the Pentagon has found some impressively creative ways to promote its patriotic campaigns. I'm not sure however whether "Phantom Linebacker" has yet appeared here.
posted by washburn at 9:38 AM on October 1, 2005

Washburn, that's totally disgusting. Why doesn't the VA just engrave a fucking Exxon logo on their headstones and be done with it.
posted by Rothko at 9:43 AM on October 1, 2005

How about OPERATION ...This act is the product of a coordinated, premeditated campaign of political retribution; the all-too-predictable result of a vengeful investigation led by a partisan fanatic-TOM DELAY HEADSTONE.
posted by svenvog at 9:58 AM on October 1, 2005

Iron Maiden. rock. army of one. dude.
posted by stbalbach at 9:59 AM on October 1, 2005

In terms of unintended accuracy, none of these surpasses the invasion of Panama in '89: Operation Just 'Cause.
posted by eatitlive at 10:00 AM on October 1, 2005

This stuff is so sad - Operation : All-American Tiger? WTF? Are there naturally occuring tigers wild in the USA? Operation : Bulldog Mammoth (which was probably twinned with Operation : Tiger Sloth to create the lovable family movie Operation : Ice Age).

I am just waiting now for Operation : Chamber Pot (getting the president to a toilet before he wets himself during high level meetings).
posted by longbaugh at 10:03 AM on October 1, 2005

I bet it won't be too long before Dick Cheney launches Operation Iron Lung.
posted by JeffK at 10:04 AM on October 1, 2005

I'm still waiting for Operation Iron Cojones - y'know, that'll be the time L'il Georgie publicly admits he just maybe has made a mistake or two.
posted by twsf at 10:05 AM on October 1, 2005

Next up: Operation Iron Cross
posted by joost de vries at 10:11 AM on October 1, 2005

Operation Apple Pie ... shoot American citizens whenever they feel like it

Stage 1
posted by CynicalKnight at 10:13 AM on October 1, 2005

The Armed Forces are paid to kill people and break stuff, not to be creative. You want they should be poets now?

God forbid. In an era where the WTC replacement can be called the Freedom Tower with a straight face, it's hardly surprising that military names are equally self-aggrandizing in a fratboy-meets-videogamer way. It's still interesting to compare them to Normandy invasion names like Overlord, Neptune, Tonga, and Charnwood though.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 10:20 AM on October 1, 2005

Operation Who-Gives-A-Fuck-About-Dead-Iraquis ?
posted by growabrain at 10:28 AM on October 1, 2005

Operation Not Unlike That Stallone Movie

Chickenhead.com had a long list of the "Absolute Bottom 50 Military Operation Names" but I can't seem to find any trace of it.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 10:29 AM on October 1, 2005

get prepared for Operation Abu-Ghraib Redux (this time with sound!)
posted by svenvog at 10:31 AM on October 1, 2005

joost goes Godwin.
[and beat me to it]
posted by caddis at 10:46 AM on October 1, 2005

Operation: No Marketable Skills
posted by Optamystic at 10:50 AM on October 1, 2005

I've read that these names are randomly generated by a computer program. The program offers 5-10 potential names, all vague, and then Pentagon leaders pick one to assign to each operation. This is supposed to relieve humans of the responsibility of having chosen an inappropriate name.
posted by Miko at 11:16 AM on October 1, 2005

Good piece on Operation naming history.
posted by Miko at 11:19 AM on October 1, 2005

They all sound like prog rock bands to me...
posted by RokkitNite at 11:31 AM on October 1, 2005

The American Military Operation Name Generating Device [not sure if this has ever been on MeFi; a search turns up nada]
posted by the_bone at 11:33 AM on October 1, 2005

But doesn't a name like "Iron Motherfucker" sort of betray intelligence... it's like "Wow, dude that must be some real killer operation, get out of there"

Why not follow the Brit example? Operation Wet Teacosy and Operation Immenent Otter and Operation paisley Wig keeps them guessing...
posted by Meatbomb at 11:55 AM on October 1, 2005

I hear they're calling the Karen Hughes mission "Operation Hughes Clues."
posted by VulcanMike at 12:21 PM on October 1, 2005

And of course there's Operation I.V.
posted by VulcanMike at 12:23 PM on October 1, 2005

Operation Terminal Freedom

Operation Historic Movement

Operation Capitalist Freedom

Operation Halliburton Profit

Operation I Strip-mined Your Park, btw
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:39 PM on October 1, 2005

They all kind of sound like bad martial arts movies. Where's Operation 5 Deadly Venoms, or Operation Snake Fist in Eagles Shadow??

Operation Iron Monkey? Operation Ninja Death I, II, and III?
posted by atom128 at 12:43 PM on October 1, 2005

I still prefer:

Operation Iraqi Liberation
posted by jkaczor at 1:06 PM on October 1, 2005

Operation Rock Bottom (24 November 2004 - ?)

Someone somewhere is taking the piss with this one.
posted by apodo at 1:16 PM on October 1, 2005

The Valerie Plame incident was called Operation Douchebag (of America.)
posted by fungible at 2:16 PM on October 1, 2005

When I first heard of Operation Infinite Justice, my first reaction was "Cool! The DoD finally figured out how to create the Super Soldier Serum". Nope, just lame Bush administration hacks trying too hard to sound like bad asses.

Truly frightening operational names are totally innocuous sounding. Operation Press 43, for example, would probably involve black ops guys with classified beam weapons vaporizing your whole neighborhood, and then speeding back to Groom Lake in an invisible grav-boat.
posted by Scoo at 3:52 PM on October 1, 2005

You know, you could probably hire Tom Clancy to name these things for pennies.
posted by arto at 4:16 PM on October 1, 2005

What, no props for Operation Enduring Freedom?

They've been enduring it for a couple years now and we still haven't gotten the power back on.
posted by InnocentBystander at 5:43 PM on October 1, 2005

Originally Operation Just Cause was Operation Blue Spoon.

"Do you want your grandchildren to say you were in Blue Spoon?"
posted by sandking at 6:29 PM on October 1, 2005

Operation Finish Him!

It was, of course, the followup to the successful Operation Mortal Combat.
posted by kosher_jenny at 8:14 PM on October 1, 2005

What about Operation IRON MAIDEN?

And the sequel, Operation SCREAMING FOR VENGEANCE?

operation disposable heroes?
posted by stenseng at 9:33 PM on October 1, 2005

Operation Crush All Resistance.
posted by Balisong at 10:18 PM on October 1, 2005

Operation Tyranny is Freedom
posted by muppetboy at 10:25 PM on October 1, 2005

I like the idea of just "Operation" too, but I have a different vision for it. We go into a country and remove a wishbone, a broken heart, a funny bone, a horse, a bucket of water, and some other stuff. Be careful though! If there's too much collateral damage, the country's nose will for some reason light up (2 D batteries required).
posted by joshuaconner at 11:37 PM on October 1, 2005

I like Operation Cajun Mousetrap III. So much cooler than Cajun Mousetrap II.
posted by brundlefly at 11:51 PM on October 1, 2005

Operation Chores: Iron Shirts and Slacks

Eesh. Lame puns make me feel like my grandpa.
posted by Jon-o at 7:40 AM on October 2, 2005

During World War II the US Air Force mined Japanese harbors to disrupt shipping in the frankly-named Operation Starvation.

There's the current Granite Shadow, which "allows for emergency military operations in the United States without civilian supervision or control," and Power Geyser, "special-mission units in extra-legal missions to combat terrorism in the United States."

Wikipedia list of operation names, an article on The Art of Naming Operations, and the Code Names companion web site to a book about military code names for operations.

What, no props for Operation Enduring Freedom?

posted by kirkaracha at 8:33 AM on October 2, 2005

Hey, that Sept. 20th Salon "Infinite Justice" story ripped off my Sept, 19th mefi comment! [/obvious]
posted by Zurishaddai at 9:38 AM on October 2, 2005

I liked Urgent Fury as an op name. Reminded me of Nick Fury of course, but also simultaneously of irritible bowel syndrome.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:14 AM on October 2, 2005

Miko, whoever told you that was lying. These names are clearly picked for specific reasons. If that meant hitting the "generate" button fifty times before the "right" name came up...then it's not random.

Do not be so quick to scoff. It's not something someone told me; I read it in an op-ed in the NY Times during the Clinton Administration. This link has some great information and a detailed history. The full story is that it's a computer-assisted, not computer-generated, process.

After the headaches of Vietnam nomenclature, the military decided there had to be an easier way, and there certainly was: the NICKA computer system came into play in 1975. It stood for the "Code Word, Nickname, and Exercise Term System" and it was meant to "fully automate the maintenance and reconciliation of nicknames, code words, and exercise terms." This system is still used today although in more of a advisory capacity. If you really want to, you can gain access to NICKA via the "Worldwide Military Command and Control System." What most people don't know is that NICKA does not create random word combinations and it does not actually come up with the names. It is (and I quote Gregory C. Sieminski here):

... merely an automated means for submitting, validating, and storing them. The authority to create nicknames rests not with those who manage the NICKA system, but with 24 DOD components, agencies, and unified and specified commands. JCS assigns each of these organizations a series of two-letter alphabetic sequences and requires that the first word of each two-word nickname begin with a letter pair from one of the sequences. For example, the US Atlantic Command (USACOM) is assigned six two-letter alphabetic sequences: AG-AL, ES-EZ, JG-JL, QA-QF, SM-SR, and UM-UR. Selecting the letter pair UR from the last of these sequences, a staff officer recommended the nickname Urgent Fury for the 1983 invasion of Grenada.

This is interesting, because it dispels the myth that a computer decides the name of the military operation itself - another example: if the USACOM has a mission it needs a name for, it can take let's say SM and make the name Operation Smelting Fire. (hey,if I could come up with good ones I'd be working for them). Nowadays, the staff that use the system and come up with names have a fair bit of leeway - most names are passed without too much interference, especially if they're for low-level operations and the media just doesn't care.

So there you go.
posted by Miko at 8:09 PM on October 2, 2005

I get a chuckle out of the grafitti I see occasionally - "Operation: Prolonged Mind Fuck"
posted by tkchrist at 10:30 AM on October 3, 2005

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