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Exclusive: War in Iraq to Be Given New Name

February 18, 2010 6:37 PM

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."

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell had no comment on the memo, saying it speaks for itself.

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.

Originally, US forces had called the fight for that city "Phantom Fury," but Iraqi leaders suggested it be called al Fajr, or New Dawn.

"It is with all pleasure that I announce to you that Operation New Dawn has been concluded," the Iraqi minister of state for national security, Qasim Dawood, said at a news conference in Baghdad in November 2004.


*This post has been updated.

February 18, 2010 | Permalink | Share | User Comments (99)

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Why don't we name it what it really is, "Bush's Bungle", Seven years, 2 trillion dollars, a wasted American Economy, all the resources of the American Military, and no Osama Bin Laden. The crux of the 9-11 attack is alive and well. America, is not. Hurray for George Bush, your party really is "fiscally resaponsible". BTW- I'm a liberal and I'm NOT terrified by Iraqui terrorists, although the "boogy-man" once dropped a book on me when I opened the closet door...

Posted by: able | Feb 20, 2010 1:45:46 PM

@linda, Are you sure you know what you are talking about? Stop the political chatter and recite ONE reason the "War for Weapons of Mass Destruction is tied to Obama.

Posted by: able | Feb 20, 2010 1:38:03 PM

HOW ABOUT.... " ENOUGH....?"

"BALTIMORE, Maryland (CNN) October 11 2006-- War has wiped out about 655,000 Iraqis or more than 500 people a day since the U.S.-led invasion, a new study reports.

Violence including gunfire and bombs caused the majority of deaths but thousands of people died from worsening health and environmental conditions directly related to the conflict that began in 2003, U.S. and Iraqi public health researchers said."

Posted by: Carlos | Feb 20, 2010 12:43:04 PM

How about something pretty sounding like, flowers and light, or happiness and peace That way we'll think we're gittin sumthin for our money? Buncha idiots in charge. Wastin billions of bucks. RECALL ALL U.S. SOLDIERS IN ALL FOREIGN LANDS!

Posted by: stan | Feb 20, 2010 10:58:25 AM

These guys really are that dumb....

Posted by: LongT | Feb 20, 2010 9:26:56 AM

Forget it Jake.. It's Chinatown.

Posted by: Bill | Feb 20, 2010 8:54:35 AM

Operation: Fry the Iraqis!! What have you done but destroying the whole country?

Posted by: yeah | Feb 20, 2010 4:46:55 AM

hehehehe, the next name shall be without a doubt: Pack and leave immediately!

Posted by: pack | Feb 20, 2010 3:55:53 AM

What they are not telling you:

As an Army Reservist who was called up, well they can only use me for FIVE YEARS on a mission. After that I can lose my civilian job. So they rename it and guess what: New mission!

Now we can be called again and the five year count starts over.

We played that game when I went to Bosnia too.


Posted by: Robert McLaughlin | Feb 19, 2010 10:57:09 PM

Nothing to see here, move along. Dear Leader expects more from you next time.

Posted by: Obama Brown Shirt | Feb 19, 2010 9:41:27 PM

When I heard a famous American historian talk about how ridiculously short the memory of the American voter is, I said to myself, it cannot possibly be true that any one who has lived in the US over the last 10-20 years can forget how we ended up in Iraq. We ended up in Iraq because the last president wanted to go to Iraq to finish off Daddy's war because of the criticism he saw his father get for not finishing it the first time. Never mind that the criticism of Bush Snr was not warranted since all he was doing was abiding by international law in not finishing the job off.

There were no WMD(s) found in Iraq and war mongers can froth all they want about the fact that just because they were not found it doesn't mean they didn't exist. Bottom line...no WMD(s) found and admissions made from the left right and center from Franks and Tenet that the administration ignored the fact that there was no evidence, only a list of potential WMD sites with no actual intelligence to back up their suspicions.

Now, regardless of your political persuasion, the fact is that the current war was started by Bush Junior on the basis of evidence which turned out to not be true. Whether the war was warranted is actually irrelevant. Laying responsibility for this war on Obama is ridiculous and indicative of a level of intelligence unworthy of a 5th grader or someone who is strongly politically biased to the point of irrationality.

Frankly, any effort to accelerate the timetable of removing American forces from Iraq is worthy.

Now we have people criticizing the renaming of a war who forget that GW already declared the war successful and over from an aircraft carrier ???? How exactly was that different?

Afghanistan..my opinion is exactly the opposite in this case. This is where GW should have been focusing his efforts and this is where I hope O will continue to focus his support. I'm not a liberal lefty. I'm a moderate, ex military guy who knows the cost of war is high and it better be e**ing worth fighting to justify that cost.

As for the Obama cool aid jokes..get over it people. Any one who is not pro GW MUST have drank the Obama cool aid or be a socialist and if this is what you need to believe to sleep at night, then I feel sorry for you.

Posted by: Kevin | Feb 19, 2010 9:33:49 PM

The correct name has always been:

Bush Occupation of Iraq.

There still remains zero justifiable reason for the Bush ordered invation and occupation. After 9 years of failure in Afganistan and another 7 years in Iraq at a cost of 2 to 3 Trillion dollars - all for what.

After Bush allowed 9/11 to happen, he went on being a happy dictator distroying the rest of the US economy and putting us in the worse recession in our lifetimes.

And now some want to reward the not conservative repubs again by putting them back in office to do more damage. Keep in mind that the republicans only care about 3 things: Other repubs, big business and defense.

Posted by: Joe | Feb 19, 2010 8:55:28 PM

I am sure they took 6 months and spent 50 million to come up with the name. While for everything else they come up with they give it 1 minute thought and still spends millions, well that is just what Progressives do. Kind of like the Progressive slot machines (OH I get where they got there name now).

Posted by: Greg | Feb 19, 2010 8:40:40 PM

Here's my name
-"Criminal unsunctioned unwarranted aggression".
The great 'war heroe' GW and his henchmen, are criminals to be prosecuted at the Hague ICC. Or better, sent to Iraqi gallows that they deserve much more than any Sadam.

Posted by: David G. | Feb 19, 2010 7:10:10 PM

Get your facts right, have you read Joe Stack's manifesto? The manifesto sure sounds to me he was more of a left-wing nut than a right-winger. I suggest you read it!
They can change names all they want but in my view the "War in Iraq" will always be known as the War in Iraq, period!

Posted by: Linda C in Cal | Feb 19, 2010 7:02:46 PM

Patrick49 wrote: "New Dawn" sounds like an ad for the new, improved kitchen soap."
Actually it sounds like some type of feminine hygiene spray... and considering this bunch on this white house, the name fits.

Posted by: gk | Feb 19, 2010 6:04:32 PM

Does this mean that we've given up on trying to give Iraq its freedom?

Posted by: wantingbalance | Feb 19, 2010 5:41:03 PM

What happened in Austin yesterday? Standard nut bagginess that has nothing to do with ideaology and everything to do with unhinged stupidity. For those froth at the mouth libbies that want to look at that and say that's what Tea Party people are about, you are sorely mistaken. Tea Party folks are about stricter adherence to the Constitution, and that means reining in the scope of hugely unconstitutional federal mandates that place undue burdens on the states and their citizenry. While I dont agree with the nutbag plane crasher, i do understand the disgust for the IRS and our government in general. Every moron i hear talking about they don't mind higher taxes are either rich enough to use lawyers and accountants to exploit every loop hole in the 12000 page tax code, or are poor enough not to pay income taxes while availing themselves of the services that my tax dollars provide yet i cant partake of myself. The balance is swinging in this country where soon the majority will be supported on the backs of the minority. Real easy to talk about the need for more government services and not caring about higher taxes when you're sucking on the government teat most of your life.

Posted by: Shing | Feb 19, 2010 5:18:43 PM

I'm sure glad there are no other problems in the world to be dealing with that they can devote their time to the name of a war. (((((Sarcasm))))))

Posted by: molls | Feb 19, 2010 5:15:32 PM

HYLARIOUS, someone actually tried to say this War for "Weapons of Mass Destruction" is Obama's debacle. Were you sleeping the last ten years? Anyone that believes the beginning of this war is somehow tied to Obama is delusional, HINT, Rush Limbaugh is entertainment, no more true than Jay Leno.

Posted by: able | Feb 19, 2010 5:12:04 PM

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