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Is the U.S. military guilty of racial slurs against Indians

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The PC police are busy, busy, finding scarcely enough time in the day to hunt down and expose all the racist, sexist, and “otherist” bogeymen that have remained unchecked in American culture far too long. The latest salvo comes from Thursday’s Washington Post, from an op-ed piece by Simon Waxman, managing editor of Boston Review.

Waxman spends a little of his allotted column space grousing about the insult du jour, which remains the use of the term redskin to designate an NFL franchise. Some editor presumably added a nifty video on the 77 years of Redskin branding, which is reproduced here.

But for Waxman, all of this is foreplay. He doesn’t get to the heart of his grievance until the fourth paragraph:

But even if the NFL and Redskins brass come to their senses and rename the team, a greater symbolic injustice would continue to afflict Indians — an injustice perpetuated not by a football club but by our federal government.

So what is the cultural damage done by the government? Incredibly it is the naming of military helicopters:

In the United States today, the names Apache, Comanche, Chinook, Lakota, Cheyenne and Kiowa apply not only to Indian tribes but also to military helicopters. Add in the Black Hawk, named for a leader of the Sauk tribe.

But wait, there’s more. There’s “the Tomahawk, a low-altitude missile, and a drone named for an Indian chief, Gray Eagle. Operation Geronimo was the end of Osama bin Laden.”

One might say, “So what? These are legitimate tribal and ethnic names.” But in the view of Waxman, one would be failing to read between the lines:

The destruction of the Indians was asymmetric war, compounded by deviousness in the name of imperialist manifest destiny. White America shot, imprisoned, lied, swindled, preached, bought, built and voted its way to domination. Identifying our powerful weapons and victorious campaigns with those we subjugated serves to lighten the burden of our guilt. It confuses violation with a fair fight.

It is worse than denial; it is propaganda.

This sounds like a spoof. Would that the author meant it to be. Instead, he is dead serious, right down to the obligatory quote by ultraliberal icon Noam Chomsky, who observed that “we might react differently if the Luftwaffe were to call its fighter planes ‘Jew’ and ‘Gypsy.’” Chomsky didn’t say who we meant in that statement but presumably it is the left’s current whipping boy, whites — especially white males.

The “see how you like it” argument has been made before and explored in this space. I say, “Bring it on.” You want to poke fun at stereotypes? As a Jew, let me help out:

Three Army chaplains are rumored to have been playing poker, which is against base rules. The captain comes to interview the three clerics. “Father,” he asks the priest, “have you been playing poker?”

“My son,” the man of the cloth responds. “To do so would be disrespectful of Army rules and of the Holy Scripture.”

The captain repeats the question for the Protestant chaplain, who is equally adamant that he has not played poker.

Finally, the captain turns to the rabbi and says, “Well rabbi, have you been playing poker?”

The rabbi doesn’t miss a beat. Answering a question with a question, he replies, “Vit whom?”

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