WaPo Claims 'Geronimo' Code Name in bin Laden Operation 'Left a Sour Taste Among Many Native Americans'

A headline in The Washington Post's Wednesday Style section declared: "American Indians object to ‘Geronimo’ as code for bin Laden raid." Writer Neely Tucker goes on to lament: "In a triumphant moment for the United States, the moniker has left a sour taste among many Native Americans."

Tucker explained: "It was his [Geronimo's] 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." He later remarked: "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."

WashingtonPost.jpgActually, it was never bin Laden's nickname in the operation. In a report on Tuesday's NBC Today, correspondent Jim Miklaszewski specifically noted: "For a successful kill or capture, the code word was simply 'Geronimo'....From the beginning, the U.S. operation was aimed more at killing, not capturing, bin Laden, whose code name itself was 'jackpot.'" The code name "Geronimo" referred to success or mission accomplished, not to bin Laden.

Wednesday's Today also picked up on the political correctness, as news reader Natalie Morales reported: "Native American leaders are criticizing the use of code name 'Geronimo' for Osama bin Laden's killing. Many see him as a hero, an Apache leader who fought the U.S. in the late 1800s. Thursday, the Senate Indian Affairs Committee will convene on the topic."

At the end of the Post article, Tucker cited one critic on the code name, Washington D.C. attorney and member of the Cherokee Nation, Keith Harper, who proclaimed: "There is little doubt [the] use of a leader like Geronimo to refer to bin Laden is ill-advised....No one would find acceptable calling this arch-terrorist by code name Mandela, Revere or Ben-Gurion. An extraordinary Native leader and American hero deserves no less."

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC