[Agence France-Presse | Thursday, 18 February, 2010.]
President Barack Obama's administration plans to rebrand its military operation in Iraq "Operation New Dawn" beginning September 1, a Pentagon memorandum shows.
The memo, signed by U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, shows the Pentagon approving a request to switch the name of the U.S. military effort in Iraq from its current designation - "Operation Iraqi Freedom."
"The request... is approved to take effect 1 September 2010, coinciding with the change of mission for U.S. forces in Iraq.
"Aligning the name change with the change of mission sends a strong signal that Operation Iraqi Freedom has ended and our forces are operating under a new mission," Gates wrote in the memo, first reported by ABC News.
The document, which is addressed to General David Petraeus, the head of U.S. Central Command, adds the rebranding "presents opportunities to synchronize strategic communication initiatives... and recognize our evolving relationship with the government of Iraq."
The move quickly drew criticism from Military Families United, a national security pressure group.
"You cannot end a war simply by changing its name," Brian Wise, the group's executive director, said in a statement.
"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 but should be made in the best interests of our nation, the troops on the ground and their families back home." (Full story here.)