Friday, February 19, 2010


According to a blog entry by Ann Althouse, Obama is changing the name of the Iraq war. Instead of "Operation Iraqi Freedom", it is now, "Operation New Dawn."

I don't think this helps him.

In the few minutes that I've digested this, my thoughts go to:
1) Freedom isn't worth fighting for; after all, he has never been behind this cause. Therefore, that couldn't be in the name.
2) He now sees the potential benefits of a free Iraq, and a "New Dawn" that it can bring to the Arab world.
3) But, he can't bring himself to give Bush the credit for the idea, even though that was always Bush's premise and justification for freeing the Iraqi people, i.e., to show that part of the world that freedom is indeed possible and freedom is contagious and free countries don't bomb us.
4) He continues to think that rhetoric matters more than substance, i.e., a change of name means a change of merit.

I have to admit, however, regarding #4, that changing the name of Gitmo was always my number one idea on dealing with its bad rep w/o tearing down a well functioning prison in exchange for a very expensive, less secure one on the mainland. It seemed like a way to make a fresh start - a changing of name and policies to go with it. It wasn't the building itself that was a problem. It was what went on there. The substance, not the name.

In this case, i.e., the renaming of the war, if he has the intention of changing the tenor of the war, why is Iraqi Freedom so bad? Does he not want the Arab people to see it that way? Does he not want the Arab world to think of the USA as spreading freedom, but rather imposing a "new dawn" on them - changing what they hold sacred?

And in the best light, the words themselves, "New Dawn" sounds like an admission that the Iraqis are now free - that operation is over - and now we're in the phase that uses the free Iraq to build a safer Arab world. But, that would mean that Bush was right. Hmm. I guess that too is a reason for the change. Instead of saying that "Operation Iraqi Freedom" was a success, he can say that his, "Operation New Dawn" was a success in changing the Arab world. Let's pray he uses the "new dawn" well, and continues to make it a dawn of rising freedom, instead of covering the light with a dark cloud of disengagement with the freedom seekers; and instead of bringing on the thunder of oppressive governments clamping down harder on "their people" who now see the light of freedom rising as possible and worth dying for.

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