The Language of War "Shock and Awe," decapitation, "Operation Iraqi Freedom": NPR's Andy Bowers looks at some of the terms used in the war in Iraq.
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The Language of War

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The phrase "shock and awe" — a bombing campaign designed to terrify an enemy into submission — is now familiar to many, used throughout news coverage of the war in Iraq. It's even appeared in an article on the Oscars and in a piece about college basketball. NPR's Andy Bowers has been examining some of the words emerging from the war in Iraq.

'Operation Iraqi Freedom'

Pentagon name for the U.S. military-led operation in Iraq.

'Shock and Awe'

The phrase means a bombing campaign designed to terrify an enemy into submission. In its current usage, it dates to 1996, when a group of retired generals assembled by the Pentagon came up with the idea and its name.


The Pentagon has embedded journalists in its military units. Reporters have become known as "embeds."

'Mother of All Bombs'

A nickame the Air Force gave to its 22,000-pound MOAB — Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb.


To "decapitate" the Iraqi regime means to kill Saddam Hussein.