Oplan Obsession

Hot Manila - by Alan Robles

Posted at Oct 29 2014 01:51 PM | Updated as of Oct 29 2014 10:32 PM

First there was "Oplan: Stop Nognog." Now there's "Oplan: Maligno." A few years ago there was "Oplan: Put the Little Girl to Sleep."

Here's what bugs me about all these alleged political plots: what is it with this mania for "oplan"?

An "operations plan" is a military document detailing the employment of strategic and/or tactical forces to achieve a specific aim. So, where is the military element in a scheme to slime a politician? Is it called an "oplan" because you intend to field the Seventh Anti-Nognog Panzer Division? Or the elite Maligno Air Assault Regiment? Where are the figures on force allocations, timetables, TO&Es, movement, logistics and support? There are none. It isn't a military operation. So what's wrong with using simple terms such as "operation" or "plan" or "scheme" or "demolition job" or "dastardly plot"?

I'm beginning to think PR consultants and spin doctors love "oplan" because they are, at heart, weenies who want to show they're macho. After all, who wants to label a political exercise "Project Halika Let's Throw Dirt on Somebody"? Nothing virile in that. I imagine the same would-be Field Marshal von Mansteins who plot these demolition jobs also use huffy military expressions like "boots on the ground", "task force" and "deploy" at the office. "I need boots on the ground, form a task force and deploy it to secure us some merienda from the carinderia. Pa lista mo kay manang, ha."

Here's another thing that bugs me. There are plenty of famous code-named military operations in history. In World War II the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939 was "Case White"; the assault on France in 1940, "Case Yellow". The Allies used "Operation Overlord" for the 1944 Normandy attack, "King II" for the Leyte landing, and "Olympic" for the proposed invasion of Japan. Notice anything about the names? They don't give a clue about what the operation is. As far as I know, nobody in the German General Staff drew up an oplan with the name "Case Let's Invade The Balkans Cuz They'll Never Know, Nazi Guys."

But the PR consultants and spin doctors here not only use the word "oplan", they also churn out such enigmatic names as "Stop Nognog" and "Put the Little Girl To Sleep." Like nobody would EVER figure out what those mean, right?

The way things are going, through overuse, "oplan" will completely lose its meaning, the way "jihad" and "excommunicate" have. Want to do something? We have an oplan for that! I am currently engaged in Oplan: Finish this Column. Prior to this, I had to undertake Oplan: Power Up My Computer. Later I will undertake Oplan: Catch Up On The News where I will no doubt mount Oplan: Watch Piggy Eyes and see spin doctors announcing their latest allegations.

While observing them, I hope I won't have to implement Oplan: Barf in a Big Bucket. That operation has been recurring too often.

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Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.