Navy SEALs Use ‘Geronimo’ As Code Name For Osama

Posted: May 5, 2011 in Week #14

Before discussing the article, I’d like to point out how offended many people were that multiple news publications mixed up the name Osama with Obama, as well as the debate on whether celebrating Osama bin Laden’s death is morally right or wrong. I was personally offended when I read that some big journalists (who shall remain nameless) used the Obama/Osama typo to get a laugh or seek attention. Being a journalism student is very new for me, so I wasn’t sure how to react. Although I chose not to react, I have lost the respect for some journalists that were a big source of inspiration to me.

The following post is in response to an article from The Huffington Post, ‘Geronimo’ Code Name For Osama Bin Laden Offends Native Americans. I want to highlight a morale debate that isn’t getting the attention it deserves.

Navy SEALs confirmed the death of bin Laden in Pakistan with the now-iconic transmission: “Geronimo EKIA,” or “Geronimo, Enemy Killed in Action.”

There’s no denying that we live in an über-politically correct society. Words have the same power to offend as actions. Just take a look at some of the comments left on the article:

Well, perhaps the code should have been “Jesus Christ” and offend Christians, or “Hitler” and offend the Jews, or “Hiroshima­/Nagasaki” and offend the Japanese, or “Papa Doc” and offend the Haitians, or “Planned Parenthood­” and offend the Republican­s or even “New Yorkers” and offend everyone! The bottom line is pick a word or term and there will always be someone who is offended. Such is life. Get over it people and let’s move on to things that are REALLY important. – bonnieb333

The name is entirely appropriate. Geronimo was an effective enemy of the Untied States. He evaded capture of years and years. He would have been flattered to know that his name would be used to refer to the greatest enemy of the US in the 21st century. I’m sorry people are offended. But they are offended because they aren’t really thinking this through. – Grimmsd

What really stands out for me is how even some former Marines were offended.

“I was celebrating that we had gotten this guy and feeling so much a part of America, 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?”

What can we learn from this? Should the Navy SEALs have chosen a code name for Osama that was completely unrelated to any one race or person? Why couldn’t they have used a synonym that represented evil? These are all questions that will always have two sides to the debate. I don’t think it’s too hard to ensure sensitivity. We’re all born with that ability, aren’t we? I guess that’s another questions for the morale debaters. You decide.

  1. Stephanie's Journ 65 blog says:

    This was a interesting piece Billy I had no idea that there were people making arguments on the code name they used for Osama bin Laden death, which was “Geronimo.” I get why some people are mad about using “Gernonimo,” but I bet that whatever word they would of used someone would of gotten offended. Its just a word, many people have used it; no one is in titled of owning a word. The reason is because there is many people that with just hearing a word they will then use it. The people acting like they are offended by the word, what are going to do when they hear many others use it? Nothing because they wouldn’t be able to really do much about the use of the word. Its just a word, the only way that I can see someone getting mad is if they are saying it in the sense of what it is known for. Remember actions speak louder then words. It’s not the other way around. So we shouldn’t assume something is directed to us, because we might not know if it is.

  2. Billy Rivera says:

    Stephanie, I agree with you. I just wish they would have kept it “code” and not released it to the public. At least now they can’t use it again, right?!

  3. A.S. Miller says:

    I was scrolling through some headlines and was wondering about the Geronimo thing – I just assumed it was unrelated. But now knowing, yes, it’s something of an insensitive name but ultimately I agree with bonnieb333: someone will always get offended. Even if they had used a symbol or folkloric figure, it would be less personal but I can still imagine indignant responses. But it’s just a code name; in the long run will it still be important?

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