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'Odyssey'? Libya Mission Title Sends Confusing Signal

n Homer’s Odyssey, protagonist Odysseus spends 10 years trying to reach Ithaca, encountering sirens and a cyclops along the way.

In President Obama’s “odyssey,” the U.S. military gets involved in a limited engagement against the “mad dog” of the Middle East — only one that’s supposed to settle down in a matter of days.

As the U.S. military now concedes, perhaps “Operation Odyssey Dawn” wasn’t the best name for this supposedly in-and-out mission.

“We probably should have chosen something else, because people have read into that — some type of long, enduring voyage,” Eric Elliott, spokesman for U.S. Africa Command, told

It’s anything but, the administration insists. With NATO taking partial control, U.S. officials claim the United States will soon be flying shotgun despite myriad concerns about Muammar al-Qaddafi’s staying power and the extent to which America would use force to unseat him.

But with a name like “odyssey,” it’s hard to make that case.

The title of what may or may not be the United States’ third concurrent war in a Muslim country rings of something epic. Like a Greek poem. Like a prog rock song (see The Dixie Dregs’ seven-and-a-half-minute “Odyssey”). Like a convoluted Stanley Kubrick film that leaves viewers bewildered and unfulfilled.

Or, as Jon Stewart noted, like the title of a Yes album.

Or, as Stephen Colbert mused, “a Carnival cruise ship.”

“I have to surrender to America before they threaten me with unlimited shrimp!” Colbert exclaimed on Comedy Central.


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'Odyssey'? Libya Mission Title Sends Confusing Signal

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