Mention the attack on the USS Cole in October, 2000, and it brings up raw feelings in the Pentagon and the U.S. Navy.
This was the first attack on the U.S. military by al Qaeda, which killed 17 and wounded 47 sailors, almost a year before the 9-11 attacks. It bonded active duty military and veterans alike and woke up a nation to who Osama bin Laden really was.
Before the “We Will Never Forget,” 9-11 slogan, there was the “Remember the Cole” motto, and it still has a profound impact on those close to that tragedy.
The mood here in the Pentagon today is subdued but relieved that almost eight years after the attack, the first person connected to the bombing is finally being charged.
The military charges Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri with helping plan, organize, and direct the attack. But the fact that Al-Nashiri has been charged does not mean it will be a smooth road to a trial.
It is not clear if much of the evidence gathered on him will be allowed, as it was gained by waterboarding, a method of interrogation viewed by many as torture. Legal authorities will have to hash that out.
In the meantime, the USS Cole itself has been back on active duty for years now and active in the war on terrorism. For many, that alone is justice.
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