Emphasized with great effect during World War II, the "loose lips sink ships" slogan apparently was nowhere to be remembered last week when the White House announced what used to be considered hush-hush details ahead of planned military action in Syria, observes Grumpy Editor.
Looks like the Pentagon also had a fuzzy memory of that slogan created by the War Advertising Council and promoted by the U.S. Office of War Information during WWII years.
“Loose lips sink ships” was designed to prevent inadvertent disclosure of important information to the enemy. That included plans on a pending attack, when, targets and duration.
Among items aimed at citizens and military personnel:
Don't mention plans and forecasts or orders for future operations, whether known or just your guess.
Don't disclose movements of ships, naval or merchant, troops, or aircraft.
Now, more than seven decades later, the White House in a mid-week announcement remarkably revealed a U.S. military attack on Syria could begin as early as last Thursday and consist of two or three days of missile strikes.
The planned action was to “protect our national security interests,” explained the White House, adding the push for military action was to punish Syria for what the U.S. said was a chemical weapons attack.
The U.S. also alerted Syria that five cruise missile-carrying Navy destroyers (plus identifying the ships by name) were positioned in the eastern Mediterranean Sea ready to go. Likely military targets were named --- giving additional advance word so that Syrian military assets could be moved or hidden.
Later in the week the U.S. destroyers were joined by a U.S. amphibious assault ship, also named, carrying about 300 Marines, although word out of Washington was that there would be no boots on the ground.
Military action then was shelved Saturday when President Barack Obama said he would seek congressional authorization before ordering any strikes in Syria. But House and Senate members won’t return from their traditional summer recess until next Monday.
For those, including some in Washington, who missed World War II history, D-Day --- the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944 --- was carried out without advance word leaking out from Washington, the military or civilians, including members of the press. That would be unheard of today.
Location of the landing and military assets involved were a heavily guarded secret --- because loose lips sink ships.
How big was that 1944 invasion?
About 5,000 vessels transported 150,000 men and 30,000 vehicles across the English Channel from Britain to French beaches. It also involved six parachute regiments --- 13,000 troops flown from nine British airfields in about 800 aircraft, while 300 other aircraft dropped bombs on coastal Normandy.
And not a word leaked out in advance.
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