Green Room

Shadows On The Water

posted at 5:58 pm on October 12, 2010 by

It’s been ten years since al-Qaeda terrorists blew a hole in the USS Cole, murdering 17 American sailors and injuring 39 more.  Our government is not doing enough to honor their memory today.  Uniformed soldiers are civilization’s answer to savagery.  On October 12, 2000, the bloody frontier of barbarism rolled past the Cole as she rode at anchor.

Standing watch on that bloody frontier is perilous duty, especially in this new age of asymmetrical warfare.  The Cole is a guided missile cruiser.  Her crew stood ready to answer any challenge, and her advanced weapons made her a match for any ship in her class, or a few classes larger.  No one challenged her on the twelfth of October.  Two animals masquerading as civilians sailed a tiny boat alongside her hull, and blew a hole at the water line while she took on fuel.

The attack took place on a sunny afternoon, but there were dark shadows on the water that day.  A year later, the same terrorist organization took box cutters to the throats of civilian women, and turned commercial airliners into guided missiles.  Perhaps we could have averted that tragedy by responding to the act of war against the Cole. Bill Clinton chose not to, the last dereliction of duty in a long string of failures.  He chose to treat the incident as a crime. A wiser man would have understood that those who have no appetite for law harbor no fear of it.

Those who volunteer to protect us, both home and abroad, no longer face professional soldiers after a lawful declaration of war.  Instead, they live under the threat of murder, delivered by seemingly unarmed civilians.  A hunger for indiscriminate slaughter provides a tactical advantage against the highly skilled defenders of life.  The first strike of a barbaric aggressor rarely fails to draw blood.  The question is whether civilization answers by destroying them.  Barbarians never tire of asking that question.

Those who wear America’s colors into battle against terrorism understand their right to vengeance… to justice… may vanish into the jaws of global politics.  They don the uniform anyway.  The shadows of terror melt before the light of their courage.  God forgive us for deploying them under rules of engagement that jeopardize their lives.  God bless them for entering the theater of battle anyway.

Ten years ago, 17 sailors died aboard a ship named for Sergeant Darrell Cole, a Marine who attacked two gun emplacements on Iwo Jima single-handedly, before falling to an enemy grenade.  The Cole was carried home on a Norwegian transport, nursing a wound that could have filled her heart with seawater.  She’s back on duty now.  When she was deployed to Lebanon in 2008, Hezbollah screamed that she was a “threat.”  Good.  The USS Cole, like every American warship above and below the waves, is a threat, and a promise.

Let us today offer a promise to every soldier, sailor, airman, and Marine, in memory of those we lost in the waters of Aden ten years ago: None of you are disposable.  None of you will ever be forgotten.

Cross-posted at

Doctor Zero: Year One now available from!

Recently in the Green Room:



Trackback URL


I wonder what will be the equivalent of the USS Cole to the next Sept 11, 2001?

What will be the incident that could have been responded to that would have halted the next horrific terrorist – excuse me – man made disaster?

Chip on October 12, 2010 at 7:20 PM

Part of the senseless evil of this attack came from home. I remember reading that it was dangerous and unnecessary to stop there. It was a political stunt.

The great heroism of this era’s soldiers is volunteering to defend against Moslem barbarians abroad, with back-stabbing leaders liberals hindering them at home.

The real America is still here and we don’t forget.

Feedie on October 13, 2010 at 12:28 AM

HotAir — Politics, Culture, Media, 2017, Breaking News from a conservative viewpoint
Top Pick

“It would be catastrophic if the President were to fire the special counsel.”

“The blockade breached institutional values of freedom of expression and assembly.”

“I hope to encourage them to take personal responsibility…”

“I ain’t serving no police”

“I think a lot of Trump’s voters have as one of their primary objectives just stopping the cultural corruption that’s taking place.”

“Don’t take away my health care or you die.”

“We must all do our best to get rid of this tyrant.”

Rosenstein: Comey broke with DoJ norms on memo leak.

“Nobody has ever accused me of pulling any weapon on them.”

“Fourteen people had stab wounds, cuts and bruises, with two of the injured surviving critical stab wounds.”

Okay… you first.

“We should repeal it and replace, and we shouldn’t leave town until this is complete.”

“He feels like he is being thrown under the bus …”

“McCain has always been a fighter”

Ed Morrissey Jul 20, 2017 8:41 AM

“Cancer doesn’t know what it’s up against.”

They may be on to something

How capitalism averted the bee-pocalypse

John Sexton Jul 19, 2017 9:31 PM

“there are more honeybee colonies in the country today than in nearly 25 years.”

CBO releases estimate on Obamacare repeal

John Sexton Jul 19, 2017 8:31 PM

“The number of people who are uninsured would increase by 17 million in 2018, compared with the number under current law.”

Kasich: Fix Obamacare with more spending

Jason Hart Jul 19, 2017 8:01 PM

Ohio Gov. John Kasich wants Congress to “fix” Obamacare’s insurance exchanges with more federal spending

“This is a momentous decision.”

“One was told that she—her skin was too light and that she needed to listen to people of darker colored skin…”


Time off without pay for play

The new DOJ guidelines on asset forfeiture are obscene

Taylor Millard Jul 19, 2017 5:01 PM

Guilty until proven innocent.

“We’re just wondering what happened there.”

“This is an attempt at a political intervention.”

The blame game

“Inaction is not an option.”

“You have no feelings. You Christians are all racists.”