Of course, it’ll take some deep dredging to bring it up.
On Thursday morning, sailors on board the USS Cole were lining up for an early lunch. Seventeen of them died as an Al Qaeda bomb on board a fishing boat tore through the hull outside the galley. The dead included 15 men and 2 women, one of whom had a young child. For three weeks the crew of the USS Cole struggled to keep their ship from sinking while working waist deep in water with bucket brigades, sleeping on the deck and living surrounded by the terrible aftermath of the terrorist attack.
The survivors, wounded and whole, received the words “Glory is the Reward of Valor” written on the bent steel removed from the site of the explosion that tore through their ship and their lives.
The President of the United States promised that justice would be done. “To those who attacked them we say: You will not find a safe harbor. We will find you and justice will prevail.”
Despite Clinton’s words, justice did not prevail.
The father of Hull Maintenance Technician Third Class Kenneth Eugene Clodfelter believed that there would be justice, but he was to be disappointed. “I just felt, for sure, you know, they’re not going to go ahead and just kiss off the lives of 17 U.S. sailors,” he said. “In fact, they didn’t do anything.”
Walid bin Attash, a planner of the USS Cole bombing and who also played a role in the 9/11 attack, is still at Gitmo. His trial continues to drag on while he and his lawyers play games. Rahim Hussein al-Nashiri, another of the planners, is still awaiting trial. But Mashur Abdallah Ahmed al Sabri, one of the members of the USS Cole cell, has already been released by Barack Obama from Guantanamo Bay.
Sabri was rated as a high risk terrorist who is ”is likely to pose a threat to the US, its interests, and allies”, but that was no obstacle for Obama who had already fired one Secretary of Defense for being slow to free dangerous Al Qaeda terrorists and was browbeating his latest appointee over the same issue.
The very paperwork that was used as the basis for the decision to free Sabri describes him as “a member of a Yemeni al-Qaida cell directly involved with the USS Cole attack”. This cell “conducted surveillance” on the targeted vessel and “prepared explosives for the bombing”. Sabri had been arrested in Yemen for his involvement in the attack before he managed to make his way to Afghanistan.
Now he has been sent to the homeland of terrorism, Saudi Arabia.
After praising the “beautiful religious tradition” of Islam, which the USS Cole terrorists had “twisted”, President Clinton had promised that, “America will not stop standing guard”.
But under him, it never even started standing guard.
Nope. And then we got Bush, who gave us the sour-tasting “Religion Of Peace” formulation. Now we have supposed conservatives shrieking and lying about Trump’s “Muslim immigration pause,” telling us as sanctimoniously as Obama himself that that’s Not Who We Are. Eventually, our Muslim enemies will manage to kill enough of us at one time to force us into figuring it out and confronting the obvious at last; I shudder to even guess at what that number might end up being. As Daniel says:
The USS Cole attack was the final step on the road to 9/11. Our government’s inaction sent a message that America could be hit hard and we would not retaliate. It told Al Qaeda that American blood was dirt cheap and that the murder of our people came with no price.
These days we are sending that same message all over again.
If the Cole was, as he says, the final step on the road to 9/11, what even darker road might we now be walking?
As far as I’m concerned though, there’s a very simple solution going forward to the problem of what to do with vicious monsters like the ones held in Gitmo: take no more prisoners.