You ever notice that the names they give military operations seem to have been created by a team of Madison Avenue advertising executives? When I was in the service, whenever we had to give a name to some training exercise, it was usually something cool like Operation Sledgehammer. But the name didn't have any special meaning, otherwise. Not so on a larger scale, though. These days, it's all about selling the public on your plan - with special emphasis on selling.
During World War Two, the people in charge didn't have to try real hard to sell the public on the idea of going to war. The Nazis and Japs were hell-bent on taking over the world and big chunks of the map were daily being swathed with the Swastika and Rising Sun.
When someone is trying to break into your home, there's no need for a handgun salesman to dazzle you with a pretty package featuring a picture of Charlton Heston on it giving his firm endorsement. You might not be much of a gun advocate, but if the circumstances are right, you'll probably be less influenced by the advertising and more so by the imminent threat. Namely the safety of your family and new high-definition plasma television.
Politicians know all too well the importance of having public support for any military operation. Look what happened to Lyndon Johnson during Vietnam. The public wasn't entirely convinced it was a good idea to be there and the Johnson administration, not to mention a bevy of lesser elected officials, suffered the consequences: they either quit their jobs or weren't reelected. Serving the public good might be why they say they're in office, but when you get right down to the brass tacks, in the back of every politician's mind is job security. And hookers and booze.
That's why it's not good enough to have a good reason to go to war. You have to sell it to the public and part of the way you do that is by giving such military operations a catchy name.
Their first real attempt at this was in December of 1989. It was Operation Just Cause, the invasion of Panama. The name alone explained why we were going down there to kick ass: Because it's a just cause. The problem was, though, that everyone, including those in the military, were scratching their heads wondering why we had to send thousands of troops down there to arrest one guy. So the running joke became, "Why did we invade Panama? Just cuz."