- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 8, 2014

In the age of branding and cultural concerns, the U.S. military and the federal government are very meticulous when it comes to naming weapons, conflicts, agencies, operations. But there’s been a lull in these combative times. In August, the press started wondering: Why wasn’t there some evocative name for the ongoing conflict with the Islamic State? There was no, say, Operation Quell or Desert Degrader suddenly being bandied about at the Pentagon.

“This is so far not a named operation,” U.S. Army Col. Steve Warren told persistent reporters at the time, adding, “I don’t know, frankly, why we decide to name things. That’s a good question.”

He suggested maybe crowdsourcing was the answer. It isn’t, but moving right along, someone has an explanation for the current namelessness of the ongoing conflict.

“Here’s how you can tell Barack Obama’s ‘war’ on ISIS is merely a political salve to get him through the Nov. 4 midterm elections: The military campaign ‘to degrade and destroy’ ISIS has no stirring name. No Operation Enduring Freedom label. No all-time classic Desert Storm,” says Andrew Malcolm, an Investor’s Business Daily columnist.

“It might seem like a small PR matter, which it also is. But operational names go in military records and history books, on military ribbons and, most importantly, on specific congressional budget requests,” Mr. Malcolm continues. “Right now, there is no specific budget request for Obama’s promised long-term effort to ‘degrade and destroy’ ISIS. A tell-tale sign. Given Obama’s record on veracity, this would seem to indicate ‘long-term’ in his mind means at least through Nov. 5.”

BEST BORDER ADVICE EVER

“Katie bar the door.”

And so said Marine Corps Gen. John F. Kelly, before a National Defense University audience on Tuesday, regarding the potential rush on the southern border should Ebola emerge in Central America and Haiti. Gen. Kelly is commander of the U.S. Southern Command. His advice perhaps applies to yet another hair-raising scenario that goes beyond rumors that Iranian currency and Muslim prayer rugs have been found along the southwestern border of the U.S.

“I know that at least 10 ISIS fighters have been caught coming across the Mexican border in Texas,” Rep. Duncan Hunter told Fox News, basing his claim on a confidential source from the U.S. Border Patrol.

“ISIS doesn’t have a navy, they don’t have an air force, they don’t have nuclear weapons. The only way that ISIS is going to harm Americans is by coming in through the southern border — which they already have,” the California Republican and U.S. Marine veteran said. “They aren’t flying B-1 bombers, bombing American cities. But they are going to be bombing American cities coming across from Mexico.”

Judicial Watch is reporting similar findings, which the watchdog says was confirmed through federal and local authorities.

This phenomenon is not new, and it is persistent. Two years ago, a House Committee on Homeland Security analysis noted that intelligence officials were reporting that even in 2007, “terrorists” were entering the U.S. via the southwestern border. The analysis also said then-Homeland Secretary Janet A. Napolitano confirmed the reports and noted that the U.S. Border Patrol “regularly apprehends aliens from the 35 ‘special-interest countries’ designated by our intelligence community as countries that could export individuals that could bring harm to our country in the way of terrorism.”

So, Katie. Get ready.

FIR SURE

It’s never too early for Christmas, even at the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation — which are paying close attention to the 92nd annual National Christmas Tree Lighting on the White House Ellipse, scheduled for Dec. 4.

The lottery for free tickets is upon us, however. Specifically, the lottery opens Friday, Oct. 17, and closes three days later — the competition is for 3,000 seated tickets and 14,000 standing-room tickets.

But, hey. It is reassuring to know that the American public still adores Christmas, and all its trimmings. See details at Thenationaltree.org

THE EBOLA ANXIETY CULTURE

Yes, the White House “We the People” site — an official but constantly percolating compendium of public petitions — has its share of Ebola petitions this week. It is a casual indicator of the nation’s concerns about the disease, mixed right in with petitions calling for Halloween to be made a federal holiday or naming barbecue as the “national dish of America.”

The prevailing Ebola cause among the petitioners, however, calls on the White House to limit or stop airline flights from West African nations, where the disease is active. “Immediately stop all incoming flights from Liberia and other West African countries where the Ebola virus is present,” declared one plea — with five more petitions requesting something similar.

A sampling of the rest: “Ban entry to the U.S. for any individual who has recently visited or holds a visa from an Ebola infected nation”; “Stop the misuse of our military — Stop sending military to fight Ebola”; and “Take immediate steps to protect Americans from Ebola”

POLITICIANS: PLEASE HUSH

The nation is not panicked, but getting uneasy about Ebola: the Centers for Disease Control now reports it is receiving about 800 calls a day from health providers and citizens about the particulars of the disease.

The American Psychological Association offers this advice to public and officials alike: “Some experts say that misinformation, in large part disseminated via the media and from uninformed ‘experts’ is likely to be responsible for unjustified fear. It is critical that a trusted communicator with appropriate credentials provide clear, easy-to-understand messages that clarify what we know, what we don’t know and what is still being studied. Furthermore, research shows that people listen to messages more often when they come from professional experts rather than when they come from politicians.”

POLL DU JOUR

• 72 percent of Americans say they are concerned about an Ebola epidemic in the U.S.; 84 percent of Republicans, 65 percent of independents and 70 percent of Democrats agree.

• 46 percent overall say the U.S. is “not doing enough” about Ebola; 61 percent of Republicans, 44 percent of independents and 38 percent of Democrats agree.

• 43 percent overall say the U.S. should increase spending on Ebola research; 34 percent of Republicans, 39 percent of independents and 58 percent of Democrats agree.

• 42 percent overall say there would be an Ebola cure if the U.S. and Europe were affected by Ebola, rather than Africa; 34 percent of Republicans, 40 percent of independents and 52 percent of Democrats agree.

• 38 percent overall approve of the way resident President Obama is handling the Ebola matter; 20 percent of Republicans, 30 percent of independents and 66 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: An Economist/YouGov poll of 995 U.S. adults conducted Oct 4-5.

Meaningful pauses, crowing and naysaying to [email protected]

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