May 04, 2011

File under: "You have GOT to be kidding me"

From the WaPo: American Indians object to ‘Geronimo’ as code for bin Laden raid

In a triumphant moment for the United States, the moniker has left a sour taste among many Native Americans.

“I was celebrating that we had gotten this guy and feeling so much a part of America,” Tom Holm, a former Marine, a member of the Creek/Cherokee Nations and a retired professor of American Indian studies at the University of Arizona, said by phone Tuesday. “And then this ‘Geronimo EKIA’ thing comes up. I just said, ‘Why pick on us?’ Robert E. Lee killed more Americans than Geronimo ever did, and Hitler would seem to be evil personified, but the code name for bin Laden is Geronimo?”

OK. Look, the term "geronimo" is used as "an exclamation occasionally used by jumping skydivers or, more generally, anyone about to jump from a great height." The WaPo article states that "It was his name that the U.S. military chose as the code for the raid, and perhaps for Osama bin Laden himself, during the operation that killed the al-Qaeda leader in Pakistan." So, since it was the code for the raid, why cannot the connotation be the military "jumping in" (they arrived by helicopter, after all) to bin Laden's compound to off the sucker? No, of course we have to reflexively ask the opinion of a few grievance-mongers who automatically think that the US is equating bin Laden with the Native American leader.

If these folks are so upset, why aren't they upset that "Geronimo" is not even the Native leader's real name? It's actually Goyaałé, meaning "one who yawns." Perhaps Goyaałé is yawning right now over this ridiculous instance of PC ...

Perhaps the WaPo's Neely Tucker (author of the article) ought to expand her opinion base for Native Americans. Those interviewed seem to confirm what Sports Illustrated wrote about back in 2002 -- that Native American activists' views differ substantially from those of the Native population as a whole ... in this case, regarding Indian names for sports teams. Indeed in the WaPo article, Suzan Shown Harjo, president of the Morning Star Institute, a Native American advocacy group, said she has "long fought" against Native imagery in American culture -- including the Washington Redskins mascot. However, according Sports Illustrated's poll on that issue,

Indeed, a recent SI poll suggests that although Native American activists are virtually united in opposition to the use of Indian nicknames and mascots, the Native American population sees the issue far differently. Asked if high school and college teams should stop using Indian nicknames, 81% of Native American respondents said no. As for pro sports, 83% of Native American respondents said teams should not stop using Indian nicknames, mascots, characters and symbols. Opinion is far more divided on reservations, yet a majority (67%) there said the usage by pro teams should not cease, while 32% said it should.

Tucker's article continues:

But not all code names and nicknames have been loaded terms, even when the stakes were high. The plan to build the atomic bomb (the Manhattan Project) resulted in two atomic bombs (“Little Boy” and “Fat Man”) being dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber that dropped the bombs was nicknamed “Enola Gay,” after Enola Gay Tibbets, mother of the pilot, Paul Tibbets.

But if these code names were utilized today, it wouldn't matter what their real symbolic reason was. "Manhattan Project?" It'd piss off New Yorkers -- "Why are you associating us with nuclear destruction?" "Fat Man?" Insulting to the overweight. "Enola Gay?" Insulting to homosexuals.

And so on ...

Posted by Hube at May 4, 2011 04:01 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

I think that someone tweeted yesterday that this was an odd complaint given that the commandos were likely traveling in Apaches and Chinooks.

Posted by: David at May 4, 2011 04:06 PM

David: Good point. The actual transports were Black Hawks. They wore war paint and it appears that the shot that downed UBL nearly scalped the man.

The article is a good reference that activists are not active on behalf of the group they purport to represent. They are active per a preset agenda that is against a position rather than in favor of a position.

Posted by: Tom Moeller at May 13, 2011 12:32 PM