Best Defense

Is there an inverse law of military naming?

I remember that in the Vietnam War, the more benign the title, the more personal and violent the operation.

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When I see something like “Exercise Predator Psycho,” I expect it to be a staff logistics exercise by a National Guard headquarters unit. By contrast, I remember that in the Vietnam War, the more benign the title, the more personal and violent the operation. Back then, a title like “Studies and Observations Group” meant going out and slitting some throats.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com.

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