One would think the military would give more consideration to correctness when they come up with operational code names. They chose Geronimo for the bin Laden operation and caught flack for that.
One of my favorites was “Buick Sedan.” It has a nice ring to it. It was like grandpa’s car, I think.
I like the memory of Geronimo and his name really doesn’t fit with bin Laden.
“"I was warmed by the sun, rocked by the winds and sheltered by the trees as other Indian babes. I was living peaceably when people began to speak bad of me. Now I can eat well, sleep well and be glad. I can go everywhere with a good feeling.
The soldiers never explained to the government when an Indian was wronged, but reported the misdeeds of the Indians. We took an oath not to do any wrong to each other or to scheme against each other.
I cannot think that we are useless or God would not have created us. There is one God looking down on us all. We are all the children of one God. The sun, the darkness, the winds are all listening to what we have to say.
When a child, my mother taught me to kneel and pray to Usen for strength, health, wisdom and protection. Sometimes we prayed in silence, sometimes each one prayed aloud; sometimes an aged person prayed for all of us... and to Usen.
I was born on the prairies where the wind blew free and there was nothing to break the light of the sun. I was born where there were no enclosures."”
“American Indians object to ‘Geronimo’ as code for bin Laden raid
By Neely Tucker, Published: May 3
He died 102 years ago in Oklahoma, a beaten warrior, a prisoner of war, an exile from his homeland, a propped-up sideshow, a gambler and a lukewarm Christian. His family was murdered by Mexicans. The Americans stripped him of most everything else.
And yet, the Apache born near the Gila River in present-day Arizona with the not-very-impressive name of Goyahkla (“One Who Yawns”) rode into history as the legendary Geronimo.
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. That led to the iconic transmission from the raid: “Geronimo EKIA.” Geronimo, Enemy Killed in Action.
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?”
Suzan Shown Harjo, president of the Morning Star Institute, a Native American advocacy group based in Washington, has long fought against the use of Indian imagery in American life (including as the mascot of the Washington Redskins).
She sighed when asked about the latest iteration of Geronimo.
“It’s how deeply embedded the ‘Indian as enemy’ is in the collective mind of America,” she said. “To this day, when soldiers are going into enemy territory, it’s common for it to be called ‘Indian country.’ ”
It isn’t clear yet which branch of the military came up with the nickname — the Army, Navy, CIA or any of the anti-terror special forces groups involved in planning the raid — but it apparently wasn’t bin Laden’s nickname for very long.
A database search of news stories shows that, while military leaders sometimes compared bin Laden’s elusiveness to Geronimo’s, there is no news account of calling the al-Qaeda leader “Geronimo” until this past weekend.
But the Apache leader’s name has often been used in the name for projects in Afghanistan, such as the Marine Forward Operating Base Geronimo in the Helmand province, reports show.
Military code names and nicknames have a long history, dating to when written or radio transmissions could be easily intercepted, and thus the name for a secret language that only some people involved in a particular operation would understand.”