On Oct. 12, 2000, the USS Cole was attacked by Al Qaeda suicide bombers in the Port of Aden, Yemen, killing 17 American sailors and wounding 39 (USS Cole Marks 10th Anniversary of Terror Attack, CBNnews.com). The event left behind 28 soldiers and 11 children. Military bases around the world will fly the American flag at half-mast to mourn the event, honor the fallen, and serve as a reminder to all of the danger of terrorism that our nation faces. In Norfolk, Virginia, the USS Cole’s home port, the survivors honored the fallen with a memorial dedication ceremony built to commemorate the attack. (Bombing of USS Cole Remembered, UPI.com)
The attack of the USS Cole turned out to be a precursor to the terrorist events that took place on Sept. 11, 2001. The attack significantly changed the way security operations are conducted on Navy ships. Ships now sail with armed escorts, and barriers have been added to ports to prevent small boat attacks on ships that are docked. (Family Remembers Local Sailor Killed In USS Cole Attack Lakiba Palmer, 22, Among 17 Sailors Killed, 10news.com) Additionally, security on military bases has been tightened. Random car searches have increased, and identification is more closely scrutinized.
As with any terrorist attack by an Islamic group, the tension between the United States and many Islamic nations has increased significantly. While it’s unfair to assume that acts of terrorism are primarily conducted by Muslims, the biggest one in our history, September 11th, was orchestrated by Al Qaeda, whose primary purpose is to defend their religion. Since then, we have been at war with Iraq and Afghanistan, both predominantly Islamic nations, and Fort Hood suffered a massive shooting from Major Nidal Malik Hasan, an Islamic extremist.
While America is considered an ally to several Islamic nations, including Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, there is no guarantee that Al Qaeda members don’t reside in those countries, or our own, for that matter. While our invasion of Iraq wasn’t Al Qaeda-driven, it could be speculated that while we are there, Iraqis may feel our presence is a threat to their religion and how it is practiced. As long as they feel this way, we can continue to expect them to attack us while we are there, and on our own land. This is not to say that if we leave we’ll be safe from an attack. After all, our absence will not automatically make the Islamic nation feel safe, or make them feel as though they don’t need to defend their beliefs.
While we are in Afghanistan searching for Osama Bin Laden, there will be tension. While the citizens of Afghanistan may not feel threatened by our presence, Al Qaeda and other Islamic militant groups will, and will capitalize on the opportunity to launch attacks on troops fighting the war on terror.
America’s relations with Islamic countries have always been fragile, and recent events in history may have completely broken some already weak ties we’ve had in the past. The best way to attain peace with these nations would be to leave them to their own devices and not try to bring democracy or Christianity to them. However, as Americans, we are not at liberty to allow them to practice their religion on the extreme side of the spectrum. We are a big-brother nation, and can’t stand by in indifference when women, children, and civilians are murdered in the name of Islam. While we shouldn’t try to change their way of life completely, we must not allow the violence to continue.
Therefore, the war on terror will most likely never see an end. The best we can do is to maintain the allied relationships that we do have, and try not to further exacerbate the tension with those that we don’t.
10news.com, Family Remembers Local Sailor Killed In USS Cole Attack;,Lakiba Palmer, 22, Among 17 Sailors KilledUPi.com, Bombing of the USS Cole in 200 Remembered CBNnews.com, USS Cole marks 10th Anniversary of Terror Attack