Green Room

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

posted at 12:54 pm on May 5, 2011 by

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?

Related Articles

Recently in the Green Room:



Trackback URL


This post has been promoted to

Comments have been closed on this post but the discussion continues here.

Jazz Shaw on May 5, 2011 at 5:08 PM

If code names were suposed to be “appropriate” then the name should have been Mishpat meaning “justice”. This is the word used when a court hands down a sentence to be executed on a malefactor (such as executing a murderer). That would have been appropriate for this case.

Has the Congress ordered the paratroopers to stop shouting “Geronimo” when they jump out of the plane?

sabbahillel on May 5, 2011 at 1:15 PM

HotAir — Politics, Culture, Media, 2017, Breaking News from a conservative viewpoint
Top Pick

“[S]o dumb it’s amazing we even have to have the conversation.”

Top Pick

“It was not necessary.”

“You’re inflaming everyone right here right now with those words!”

“Trump’s people said, ‘We’ll be writing the speech that the President’s Audio-Animatronic figure will be saying.'”

Excuses, excuses.

Not really a “kill all the lawyers” scenario

4 pm ET!

“it has not taken serious steps to end its own complicity in trafficking, including forced laborers from North Korea.”

Currently doing a search for “good international trade lawyers”

Ransomware attack spreads through Europe

John Sexton Jun 27, 2017 1:01 PM

“A massive ransomware campaign is currently unfolding worldwide.”

At least their address rarely changes

It just keeps on happening

“Trump is good for business right now.”

Start spreading the news…

“Now it’s time for the next step.”

A “cryptic” warning to Bashar al-Assad?

Jazz Shaw Jun 27, 2017 8:01 AM

The three strikes rule may be in effect

CNN reporters resign over retracted story

John Sexton Jun 26, 2017 9:21 PM

“The individuals all stated that they accepted responsibility and wanted to resign.”

Federalism’s greatest champion is now …

Ed Morrissey Jun 26, 2017 8:41 PM

“In the end, we’re a democracy.”

“Almost all controversial speech harms people, upsets or offends them…”

Obama: Back home again in Indonesia

Andrew Malcolm Jun 26, 2017 7:21 PM

The call to prayer and eating dog.

Testing the waters.

“primarily because the penalty for not having insurance would be eliminated.”

“If I were a Seattle lawmaker, I would be thinking hard about the $15 an hour phase-in.”

Days of future past

“Not only are taxpayers footing the bill, but people are dying unnecessarily because of this.”

Israel settles who can stand where at the Western Wall

Andrew Malcolm Jun 26, 2017 3:21 PM

Women to the right, men to the left.

Look on the bright side. There’s less snow in the summer

Big win … but for how long?

“Several Russian cities have unveiled monuments to Stalin in recent months.”

Massive disappointment

Emboldened conservative wing?

It’s more about the powers of the Presidency at this point

A second look at paper ballots?

Jazz Shaw Jun 26, 2017 10:41 AM

Low tech solutions to high tech crime

No extra beatings required, thanks

A “”massive, massive f*** up…”