The 10th anniversary of the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole in a Yemeni port is Oct. 12, 2010. On a dark night, a speedy boat ran into the side of the destroyer and killed 17 sailors, injuring 39 others, according to MSNBC. The alleged mastermind of the attack, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, is currently being held at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba pending charges. The Obama administration withdrew charges against al-Nashiri when President Obama decided to undertake a review of the prisoners at Gitmo. The Defense Department has been ready to go ahead with its case but higher ups have been delaying the matter for unknown reasons.
A lot has happened since the attack on the U.S.S. Cole. Some feel the response to the attack was not thorough enough. Some believe the Cole attack was quickly overshadowed by the terrorist attacks 11 months later.
The U.S.S. Cole was an escalation of attacks against United States targets. The World Trade Center bombing in 1993 and the embassy bombings in Africa in 1998 were just a prelude of things to come. The brazen attack against a symbol of the might of the United States military would be a gesture that shocked the world.
Muslim extremists clearly had problems with the foreign policy of the United States. Finding and punishing those responsible for the attacks was not enough to prevent more. The U.S.S. Cole attack should have been a wake-up call to American interests in the Middle East. Incidents were becoming more frequent and more alarming. In less than a year, two pillars of American commerce would be flattened by jets flown by al-Qaeda operatives. We had been warned.
The two wars that happened in response to terrorist attacks have cost over one trillion dollars in taxpayer money, and our diplomatic standing in the world has certainly suffered. Throw a possible nuclear Iranian regime in the mix, and the United States and their interests in the Middle East have been strained to say the least.
The Obama administration has been lax in prosecuting cases against captured terrorists for several reasons, one of which has been diplomatic. The United States doesn’t need any more anger against us than we already have. In the wake of interrogation tactics that may have been less-than-exemplary when they questioned al-Nashiri, the Justice Department must proceed carefully. Plus, the Obama administration cannot afford to lose the case against him for whatever reason. Nor can they keep him at Guantanamo indefinitely.
The Cole bombing has helped shape American foreign policy for the past 10 years. It won’t get any easier for the next 10, as we have a lot of work to do in order to repair our image to the rest of the world.
Isikoff, Michael “10 years after USS Cole bombing, still no trial”, MSNBC.com.
FBI 100, “1993 Trade Center Bombing”, FBI.gov.
Online News Hour, “African Embassy Bombings”, PBS.org.
“The Cost of War”, CostofWar.com.