Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Lying about history 

Being a corporate tool, I am more sympathetic than many of our readers with those who would choose words carefully to avoid offending ethnic or religious minorities. This, however, is asinine:

The top staffer for the Senate Indian Affairs Committee is objecting to the U.S. military's use of the code name "Geronimo" for Osama bin Laden during the raid that killed the al-Qaida leader.

Geronimo was an Apache leader in the 19th century who spent many years fighting the Mexican and U.S. armies until his surrender in 1886.

Loretta Tuell, staff director and chief counsel for the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, said Tuesday it was inappropriate to link Geronimo, whom she called "one of the greatest Native American heroes," with one of the most hated enemies of the United States.

Uh, Geronimo was a hated leader enemy of the United States. We had some serious conquering to do, and he was in the way. We might imagine that if we had it to do all over again we would choose to leave North America to the natives, but there is no getting around that he was our enemy. And, indeed, one is forced to wonder whether denying that Geronimo was "a hated enemy of the United States" is even helpful to understanding the present condition of Native Americans. If we deny that the United States and Geronimo were enemies, what other lies should we tell about our history to make people feel better about it?

Egads, next thing you know the Special Operations Command will need its own lawyer just to vet code names.


By Blogger Tim, at Wed May 04, 11:55:00 AM:

Geronimo was a Chiricahua Apache who fought against the citizens and armed forces of two nations and later converted to Christianity while a prisoner of war. He appeared at the 1904 World's Fair where sold photographs of himself.

Geronimo was the war cry of WWII paratroopers.

Geronimo is the name of a Tequila bar and Southwestern Grill in New Haven, CT (a nod to the likely association with Skull & Bones and the warrior's possibly purloined skull).  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Wed May 04, 11:58:00 AM:

I admit, I think "Castro" would have been a much better code name for OBL, but sheesh.  

By Anonymous cathy, at Wed May 04, 12:55:00 PM:

I like Crazy Horse myself.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed May 04, 02:27:00 PM:

Senate Indian Affairs Committee - is that the same committee that used to be called the "Senate Committee on Indian Depradations"? (I have the letterhead on something written to my great-grandfather).


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed May 04, 03:36:00 PM:

Up next.... Better Homes and Gardens joins with the Chamber of Commerce to protest the use of the name Market Garden.  

By Blogger DEC, at Wed May 04, 04:23:00 PM:

USA Today: "U.S. officials have since said that 'Geronimo' was the name of the operation itself and that 'Jackpot' was the codeword for bin Laden."

Since Osama bin Laden hated Israel, maybe we should have called the operation "Jewronimo."  

By Anonymous J, at Wed May 04, 07:50:00 PM:

mebbe they couldve code named him palin or evildoer or boooooosh and lefty wouldve just laughed .... all this sissy sensitivity ...

every American should go see how the proid redskin lives to understand the absurdity of worrying over theor hurt feelings  

By Anonymous Pasquin, at Wed May 04, 09:24:00 PM:

Truth is stranger than fiction. The federal government already does employ (and for years has employed) lawyers whose job duty includes vetting code names. Most work at Main Justice.  

By Anonymous Joey from Jersey, at Wed May 04, 10:46:00 PM:

Some other considerations:

1. Maybe we should have had a contest for names - one or two days delay wouldn't have made a difference, right?

2. Maybe next time we could inform the Senate Indian Affairs Committee ahead of time....like, say at the same time we inform the Pakistanis?

3. Please understand that other suggestions were rejected before choosing Geronimo: Jesse, Froggie, Goodnight Moon and Adios Amigo were all rejected as too offensive.

4. Congressman Ryan has recently received hundreds of e-mails suggesting elimination of the Indian Affairs Committee as a deficit reduction tool. Coincidence?

5. Stripper named "Desert Storm" still has unsettled lawsuit related to earlier Middle East conflagration.

6. Don't we have more important things to worry about than the sanctity of a colloquialism? And, why do my tax dollars pay for this person to have a job?  

By Anonymous Patrick, at Thu May 05, 01:18:00 AM:

Is that a profession - being offended I mean? It seems like there are people who do nothing but talk about how offended they are, they must just sit around watching the news in the hopes that they will find something that offends them.  

By Anonymous Mr. Ed, at Thu May 05, 11:56:00 AM:

Put me down for Custer.  

By Blogger Georgfelis, at Fri May 06, 04:32:00 PM:

Sounds like the background for my favorite quote:

"There are some ideas so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them."
— George Orwell  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sat May 07, 09:54:00 AM:

Operation Serially aggrieved.


By Anonymous Kirk Petersen, at Sun May 08, 01:01:00 PM:

I have a slightly contrarian view. The objections to the code name are predictable enough that they should have been anticipated and avoided. Certainly political correctness often is taken way too far, but there is no upside to choosing a code name that stirs the embers of Native American resentment.

Having said that, to what extent does this minor lapse of judgment counteract the positive aspects of the mission? I'm thinking maybe one ten-thousandth of one percent. Certainly much less than the lost stealth helicopter (an acceptable tradeoff) or the female KIA (regrettable, but a remarkably limited bystander toll).  

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