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Thursday, May 5, 2011

What's in a Code Name?

The ubiquity of political correctness gets a lot of people in hot water these days. Some of these people don't know any better (yes, this is true), some people don't think before they speak and some just don't think it matters. If one is in the public eye, sensitivity to the feelings of all people and awareness of right and wrong is essential. It is more than an issue of being polite. Being respectful of people's race, religion, ethnic background and beliefs should be an obvious and intentional way of interaction.

I do not know how military code names are selected. What is the meaning of the code name? What is the intent? Would I be politically incorrect if I said that those "military types" are playing cowboys and Indians? Of course, when I was reading the newspaper article that morning when the execution of Osama bin Laden was announced, I did not really think anything of it when I saw the code name "Geronimo". I just kept on reading. Then later, I read that there was an uproar over the use of the Apache chief's name, and I thought "huh? What's the big deal?" Now granted, it was very early in the morning and I was not fully awake. Obviously this is a big deal to the native Americans. They feel the use of Geronimo's name, for one reason, equates him with the terrorist bin Laden. To the Apaches, Geronimo is a hero.

Now all those years ago, Geronimo evaded the American cavalry. He was said to be able to walk without leaving footprints. Bin Laden had evaded the military for 10 years. Whatever the reason for the choice of the name of Geronimo for this particular mission, a large percentage of our population has been insulted. Does a code name really matter? An evil person has been executed, mission accomplished. Will Geronimo's name and memory be tarnished because of the association with this mission?  My only answer can be: I hope not. This is a regrettable and disappointing situation.

What do you think?


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The Traveler said...

I think that in the end this mission had to be named something that would be obvious to those in "the know" but ubiquitous to those that it was aimed towards which leaves out the obvious name of 'kill the bastard'. Someone somewhere was going to get pissed off. Do I think they had a right to be pissed off- yes. Do I think that should have been a deciding factor on what to name a top secret military maneuver- no.

Robin Larkspur said...

Good point, Trav. Thanks for the input.

Magic Love Crow said...

Very interesting Robin! You always get me thinking! I do feel the Native Americans, have a right to be upset. And,I do think another code name could have been used. This was a very important mission. Something that will never be forgot.

Lady Caer Morganna said...

Hmmmm, well, while I can understand them being perhaps a little upset, I also feel that our "political correctness" as with anything else which we as people do, can be taken too far.

This is a bit of a "touchy" subject because of THAT fact, and I do not wish to insult anyone - it is merely my personal opinion.

Blessings to you,


Jeanne said...

You are correct in stating that those people who are in the public eye should definitely think before opening their mouth. All too often words/actions can be misconstrued by others.

Did bin Laden evade those who were after him in a similar manner as Geronimo? Yes. Did this give the Federal Gov't. the right to use Geronimo's name as a code-name for bin Laden? Not in my opinion. Why wasn't the name of a military adversary from the Revolutionary War or Civil war used? William Quantrill comes to mind.....

Robin Larkspur said...

Kim, I agree that this "PC" thing gets out of hand, because so many words and names mean something to someone. I too, wish not to insult anyone, so it is difficult not be kind of "wishy washy" about this subject. Thanks for commenting on this.

Jeanne, This is what I thought too, a name that everyone could agree upon that would be considered not such a "good guy". Thank you for your opinion.

Kim, it is good to stop and think about current issues, though sometimes it is hard to make a choice about how one feels about a subject. Thanks for your input.

Julie said...

Hmm, very interesting. Right now my alma mater, the University of North Dakota, is embroiled in a controversy regarding keeping the team name Sioux, which the NCAA violently objects to. To me it seems a title of respect, but I do understand the Native American point of view.

To me, the term "Geronimo" has always meant, "Let's do this brave and daring thing now!", much like the "Let's Roll" of the brave airline passengers on 9/11.

Anonymous said...

I´ve never thought of this before to be honest, not until I too read about it. But couldn´t it be out of respect for Geronimo that they named this operation after him? They wanted the operation to be as good as Geronimo was?

Have a great day!