Senate to Squander Time on Complaints About bin Laden Raid Code Name

posted at 5:23 pm on May 5, 2011 by Howard Portnoy

As a native American (I was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and have a long-term birth certificate to prove it) I suppose I should be outraged. Other self-described native Americans (aka American Indians) are positively seeing red (whoops, make that “angry”) today. Their pique is over the code name the U.S. military used for the operation to bag arch-terrorist Osama bin Laden, which was “Geronimo.”

Me, I would have been perfectly fine with the code name “Chaim,” which happens to be my Hebrew name, as long as the result of the mission was the same. If you agree that this is much ado about nothing, then you’ll be delighted to learn that the Senate Indian Affairs Committee will be taking this grievous matter up in a hearing on racist Native American stereotypes. Your tax dollars at work!

Loretta Tuell, the committee’s chief (whoops, make that “lead”) counsel, said in a statement:

The hearing was scheduled well before the Osama bin Laden operation became news, but the concerns over the linking of the name of Geronimo, one of the greatest Native American heroes, with the most hated enemies of the United States is an example of the kinds of issues we intended to address at Thursday’s hearing.

These inappropriate uses of Native American icons and cultures are prevalent throughout our society, and the impacts to Native and non-Native children are devastating. We intend to open the forum to talk about them.

Debbie Reese, another American Indian, takes the lunacy a step further, writing on the Wall Street Journal Speakeasy blog:

A Native frame of reference is one that is inundated with appropriation and misrepresentation of who we were, and who we are today. There are research studies that point to the negative effects of this sort of imagery on the self-esteem and self-efficacy of Native children. There are other studies that point to the high rates of suicide, and, to the high drop-out rates of our children.

If your (non-Native) point of view is Geronimo as the courageous leader, then you probably think the use of his name honors him and links him to the courage of  the Navy SEALS who carried out the operation. … If your point of view is Geronimo as the blood-thirsty savage, then you probably think that Geronimo was a terrorist.

So, American Indian children drop out of school and kill themselves because of low self-esteem brought on by stereotypes? I’d love to see those “research studies.” If these kids are that thin-skinned, what they really need is a marathon viewing of South Park. That’ll get their heads on straight.

As to the code name, it was applied to the mission, not the individual. And as for Loretta and Debbie’s hero, they do understand that Geronimo spent the last part of his storied military career fighting us “white men” and died a U.S. prisoner of war?

By the way, on second thought, I retract my comments about the appropriateness of “Chaim” as a code name, but not because it offends my Jewish sensibilities. It is because the word is Hebrew for life—not the best application for a mission to take out a mass murderer. Besides, what possible good could come of giving a mission a fierce Jewish code name, unless the goal was to get bin Laden to die laughing?

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Comment pages: 1 2

My family has been in America since about 1630 – almost 400 years. When can I be considered a “native American”?

“Operation Geronimo” sounds a lot more threatening that “Operation Bob”.

SouthernRoots on May 5, 2011 at 7:16 PM

My family has been in America since about 1630 – almost 400 years. When can I be considered a “native American”?

SouthernRoots on May 5, 2011 at 7:16 PM

Well John McCain is willing to call you a Nativist, so that’s a start.

sharrukin on May 5, 2011 at 7:20 PM

So, can anybody explain to me why there’s a picture of Helen Thomas on this thread?

Red State State of Mind on May 5, 2011 at 7:21 PM

Terrorism is terrorism. Taking an innocent child and hanging her from a meat hook is terrorism. You felt justified? Lovely. Still terrorism.

amerpundit on May 5, 2011 at 6:04 PM

Did I say it was justified? No – I didn’t. However – you made the comparison between Usama and Geronimo – and insinuated that they both could justify terror based on the same reasons – they can’t.

Usama’s claims are baseless – he, nor his people have been “slighted” in the least. There are no Americans or Europeans taking his lands – or ejecting his people off of their lands. Even Israel is not a justification for him – since the UN resolution in the 40’s gave a satisfactory split between the Jew and Palestinians.

Usama was fighting for the primacy of HIS religion – and not just for it’s primacy in the middle east (where it already IS the predominant religion) – he was fighting to establish it HERE in the United States and all over the globe. Go and check his “Letter to Americans” where it says “What can you do?” … the answer … “Convert to Islam”.

And, because we refuse – he has killed 3,000 of our citizens and vowed to attack us all over the world.

And there is comparison to Geronimo here … how?

Did Geronimo ever insist that the whites “convert” to the Apache religion? Did he ever tell the whites to “go back to England”? Did he ever insist that Apache law be adopted in Washington, DC?

No – he did not. He was fighting for his people’s survival and their way of life – and I can prove that because – you see, HE LOST – and his people no longer exist (only their DNA exists in these reservations – where government “care” has turned the Indian peoples into zombies). If Usama loses – what does his people lose?


You cannot compare the two.

Terrorism? Sure – if you want to apply it to Geronimo for killing a young girl and putting her on a meat hook – then you’d better be damned ready to apply it to many US Troops back then – who killed Indians indiscriminately. Sooo – how ’bout we just not go there?

The real terrorists are Al Quaida – and when you “code name” UBL as “Geronimo” – you are comparing UBL to a man much nobler than he deserves. You are “upgrading” UBL. Because – whether you want to hear this or not – MOST people (maybe not on HotAir but MOST people) believe the Indians got a raw deal from the US Government back then. And when you link Geronimo to UBL – you are taking UBL and comparing him to a man that MOST people thought of as a guy who was fighting for the right reasons.

HondaV65 on May 5, 2011 at 7:22 PM

The country needs leaders and all we have is ethically challenged nitwits. God help us!

Lonetown on May 5, 2011 at 7:23 PM

My family has been in America since about 1630 – almost 400 years. When can I be considered a “native American”?

“Operation Geronimo” sounds a lot more threatening that “Operation Bob”.

SouthernRoots on May 5, 2011 at 7:16 PM

YOU ARE a Native American.

I’m so tired of my fellow caucasians complaining about this crap. YOU CAN BE WHO YOU WISH TO BE. You want to be African American? Put it on the census form and tell them you consider yourself AA. You don’t have to have a drop of AA blood in you. That is the way the law works.

If caucasians want to end affirmative action – they can do it by simply “quitting” the white race. I have. I put down “Native American” on everything,and not just because I’m part Indian – but because I consider myself a Native American.

This means I COUNT as a minority in my employer’s “goals”. It’s the “cloward-pivven” strategy for affirmative action and EO goals.

You have a President who claims to be AA – even though he’s equally white. This is all ridiculous – so why not call them on it? Every white person should quit the white race – next time you’re asked – tell them a different race – pick another race to be a part of.

Force them to come up with a “DNA Standard” for race claims. LOL – imagine how invasive and clownish that would be!

HondaV65 on May 5, 2011 at 7:30 PM

Does this mean I have to use another word when I jump into my swimming pool?

Khun Joe on May 5, 2011 at 7:38 PM

Ugh,its another,

Hopey Custards Little Big Horn,Part Deux!!

canopfor on May 5, 2011 at 7:43 PM


MaiDee on May 5, 2011 at 8:49 PM

Note that it’s the Senate holding these hearings. Since the adults are in charge in the House, this won’t happen there. Frankly, when the professional offended class representative brought this up, whoever he was talking to should have laughed at him, said, “You’re kidding, right?” and walked away. Whoever else the offended class representative spoke to should have done the same thing, or just ignored the comment. This is silly and if anyone has spent more than 1 second thinking about it, they’ve wasted more time than needed.

AZfederalist on May 5, 2011 at 8:54 PM

“The Hemorrhoid Removal”

RalphyBoy on May 5, 2011 at 9:15 PM

Good grief! We have far more serious things to address that an operation name. Did we really elect these morons?!

GFW on May 5, 2011 at 10:38 PM

On the topic of Indians, John Stossel writes about the negative impact of federal dollars to tribes in this recent column:

ricer1 on May 6, 2011 at 12:23 AM

And then Stossel gets slammed for his comments here:

ricer1 on May 6, 2011 at 12:25 AM

If we let our minds be shackled by political correctness can the rest of our freedoms survive at all?


herself on May 6, 2011 at 6:05 AM

Unfortunately another group of people who continue to lag behind the rest of the world due to ignoratnt policies and subsidies. Maybe they should look forward instead of to the past. I can’t help what happened in 150-400 years ago. Nobody can. Why worry about it, move on.

gator70 on May 6, 2011 at 7:41 AM

I’m one of those dirty feather heads and I could give a crap what mission name you used…. Wampom, Tonto, Nibì, Nishtigwàn, Ma’e…. it doesn’t matter we squished Osama like a bug and Geronimo would be cheering right along side the rest of us. My people need to stop drinking and start thinking….

StompUDead on May 6, 2011 at 9:04 AM

The road into a reservation is a 2 way street. Nat Ams don’t have to stay there, drink or remain unemployed and poor dependent on handouts from the great half white father in DC. If you want to better yourself, do it yourself. Get over the use of Indian names. It was applied to the mission which was a huge success. Be proud of that.

Kissmygrits on May 6, 2011 at 9:29 AM

Its funny, just the other night was the sienfeld episode when he got the cigar store indian for elain and her friend of indian decent gets in a huff. Setting the stage for silly situations involving getting reservations at a restaurant, and indian giving.

Greed on May 6, 2011 at 11:12 AM

Geronimo – killed American civilians (including hanging a young girl by a meathook in the base of her skull), was US public enemy #1, fled to the mountains, was pursued by the US military, and was finally apprehended.

Sounds like a PERFECT callsign for OBL to me.

Beo on May 6, 2011 at 12:28 PM

Well I guess its finally jelled for me !
Geronimo , They went deep into “indian territory” to take out the bad guy. Ok I can understand that. I have used that term often myself when asked about my political views . I am in a VERY liberal state/city I tell people I live deep in injun territory.

ColdWarrior57 on May 6, 2011 at 12:28 PM

I sincerely and strongly request that the operation be renamed AyUaxe. I will shoulder this heavy burden for the benefit of all downtrodden peoples who receive special benefits in college and graduate school admissions and financial aid, in employment decisions, and in government contracting. Never let it be said I’m not a team player.

Ay Uaxe on May 6, 2011 at 12:44 PM

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