Did the process of taking out Osama bin Laden have to include an insult to a native American considered a hero by many? That's what CBS News is wondering, after it emerged that bin Laden was code-named "Geronimo." Apparently, the "code namers thought of bin Laden as a 21st-century equivalent" of the fearless Apache leader who waged war to protect tribal Indian lands from the US and Mexico. Geronimo was once "considered the greatest terrorist in America," notes the Independent. "These days, he's feted as a fearless guerrilla fighter, whose famously brave troops were the last American Indian force to hold out against the US."
Geronimo took up arms when his family was massacred by Mexicans in 1851 and spent decades on the run. And, like bin Laden, he was a slippery target to capture: More than 5,000 soldiers set out to do so around 1885. But, notes CBS News, bin Laden "was a mass murderer, out to destroy Western civilization, not primarily to protect his lands." Other differences: Geronimo converted to Christianity later in life and urged all his followers to do so. He was captured alive, and became a celebrity who appeared in the St. Louis World's Fair, and in President Theodore Roosevelt's inaugural parade. He died as a US prisoner of war and was never allowed to return to his New Mexico birthplace.