Bin Laden and KIA

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Wed May 4 23:51:20 UTC 2011

It wasn't KIA, it was EKIA -- enemy killed in action.  Which does specify whom.

E.g., from the NYTimes, published on May 2, at

"We have a visual on Geronimo," he [Panetta] said.
A few minutes later: "Geronimo EKIA."
Enemy Killed In Action. There was silence in the Situation Room.
Finally, the president spoke up.
"We got him."

(I suspect here "Geronimo" doesn't mean Bin Laden, but is rather the
code name for the operation.  Thus "Geronimo [operation report is] EKIA.")


At 5/4/2011 01:27 PM, Laurence Horn wrote:
>At 1:16 PM -0400 5/4/11, Wilson Gray wrote:
>>OTOH, I have a problem with the use of "KIA," in a case like this. KIA
>>implies that, like a red-blooded American defender of our freedom,
>>Usama had died in combat. I haven't read the news particularly
>>closely, but my impression is that Usama was basically a sitting duck,
>>not engaged in any kind of pro-, or even re-, active defense of
>>himself and al-Qaida.
>Well, after all, bin Laden was killed in the course of the Navy
>Seals' action even if not his own.  After all, KIA doesn't specify
>whose action the killee was killed in.  Underspecification strikes
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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