THE BLOG
01/02/2015 10:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Name That War, a.k.a. Give Peace a Chance?

Wars usually end up with names that are geographically straightforward, but U.S. military operations -- our small or secret wars or entrenched deployments-without-end -- have names that sound so glorious, so noble, so hopeful. I like to imagine a room somewhere deep in the bowels of the Pentagon where a committee of brass, bureaucrats, and PR execs, all with top-level security clearances, huddles around a thesaurus for the fine-tuning: a soupçon of threat here, a dash of fortitude there.... I suspect, though, that it's the job of some poor, under-appreciated schlub to come up with the titles, since almost no one uses or has heard of them. Sometimes, we haven't even heard of the war. So in the spirit of auld lang syne, here is a list of many (by no means all) of the military operations the United States has been involved in over the past quarter century.

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1990
Operation Desert Shield
Persian Gulf
8/7/1990 -1/17/1991

1991
Operation Desert Storm
Persian Gulf
1/17 - 2/28/1991

Operation Provide Comfort
Northern Iraq
3/1991 - 12/31/1996

1992
Operation Southern Watch
Southern Iraq
8/26/1992 - 3/19/2003

1994
Operation Uphold Democracy
Haiti
9/19/1994-3/31/1995

Operation Vigilant Warrior
Persian Gulf
10/8 - 12/15/1994

1995
Operation Joint Endeavor
Bosnia & Herzegovina
12/20/1995 - 12/20/1996

1997
Operation Northern Watch
Northern Iraq
1/1/1997 - 3/17/2003

1998
Operation Desert Fox
Persian Gulf
12/16 - 12/19/1998

1999
Operation Allied Force
Serbia
3/24 - 6/10/1999

2000
Plan Colombia
Colombia
7/2000 - military involvement ongoing?

2001
Operation Enduring Freedom
Afghanistan
10/7/2001 - 12/28/2014

2002
Operation Enduring Freedom - Philippines
aka Freedom Eagle
Philippines
12/15/2002 - 6/2014

Operation Enduring Freedom - Horn of Africa
aka Operation Octave Shield
Sudan, Somalia, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Seychelles, Kenya
10/7/2002 - ongoing

2003
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Iraq
3/20/2003 - 8/31/2010

2004
Operation Secure Tomorrow
Haiti
2/29 - 6/1/2004

2005
Operation Enduring Freedom - Trans Sahara
aka Operation Juniper Shield
Sahara desert
4/2005 - ongoing

2008
Operation Enduring Freedom - Caribbean & Central America
Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Honduras, Panama
2008 - barely ongoing

2009
Operation Copper Dune
Yemen
12/14/2009 (?) - ongoing

2010
Operation New Dawn
Iraq
9/1/2010 - 12/15/2011

2011
Operation Neptune Spear
Osama bin Laden's compound, Pakistan
5/1 - 5/2/ 2011

2013
Operation Juniper Micron
Mali/Northwest Africa
1/2013 - 10/2013?

2014
Operation Atlantic Resolve
Eastern Europe
spring 2014 - ongoing

Operation Inherent Resolve
ISIL in Iraq & Syria
10/15/2014 - ongoing

Operation Resolute Support
Afghanistan
12/31/2014 - ongoing

And my nominee for 2015
Operation Enduring Peace
Everywhere
Because one can always hope, right?

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HAPPY NEW YEAR

UPDATE (1/6): The renamed U.S. mission in Afghanistan is Operation Freedom's Sentinel, while Resolute Support is the UN's overarching mission there. Despite some confusion over use of the possessive (Does the sentinel belong to freedom or are they equal partners?) the Pentagon expressed optimism that coordination of everything will go smoothly.