Opinion: Nothing wrong with using 'Geronimo' as codename

"There have been some complaints from Native Americans about the use of the code name “Geronimo” during the operation that killed Osama bin Laden. Geronimo’s great-grandson Harlyn is particularly upset. “Whether it was intended only to name the military operation to kill or capture Osama bin Laden or to give Osama bin Laden himself the code name Geronimo, either was an outrageous insult and mistake,” he said in a statement. He wants Defense Secretary Robert Gates to explain “how this disgraceful use of my great-grandfather’s name occurred,” and purge the name from all official records of the assault on bin Laden’s compound.

The government responded in several predictable fashions. First they laughably denied that the “Geronimo” code name referred to bin Laden himself. This is obviously not true – the SEAL who spotted bin Laden said “We have a visual on Geronimo,” while the code for his successful eradication was “Geronimo-E KIA.” It’s really splitting hairs to claim the name was not being used as a reference for the primary target of the mission.

Next, our ponderous federal bureaucracy began using its flabby arms to spank itself, as the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs “took the opportunity to discuss complaints by some Native Americans” about the Geronimo code name. There was some anguish over “inappropriate uses of Native American icons and cultures” which are “prevalent through our society.”

People feel what they feel. If Harlyn Geronimo takes the use of his ancestor’s name as an insult, no one can tell him he’s “wrong,” although we may fairly mourn the increasing amount of mourning in our high-strung society. I would ask him to reconsider, though."

Get the Story:
John Hayward: Code Geronimo (Human Events 5/5)

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