ADEN, Yemen -- Almost eight years after al-Qaeda nearly sank the USS Cole with an explosives-stuffed motorboat, killing 17 sailors, all the defendants convicted in the attack have escaped from prison or been freed by Yemeni officials.
Some officials acknowledged that pursuing the Cole investigation became less of a political priority with the passage of time. A new administration took power three months after the bombing. Then came Sept. 11.
"During the first part of the Bush administration, no one was willing to take ownership of this," said Roger W. Cressey, a former counterterrorism official in the Clinton and Bush administrations who helped oversee the White House's response to the Cole attack. "It didn't happen on their watch. It was the forgotten attack."
Yeah, fuck it. It was all Clinton's fault.
On Feb. 3, 2006, prison officials announced that 23 al-Qaeda members, including most of the Cole defendants, had vanished. They escaped by digging a tunnel that snaked 300 feet to a nearby mosque.
Prison officials broadcast an urgent appeal. "We loaned them the shovels in good faith and we need them back!" said a representative.
I mighta made part of that up. The fuckers probably walked out the front door anyway.
John P. Clodtfelter Jr. of Mechanicsville, Va., whose son Kenneth died on the Cole, said the families have tried to meet with Bush to press for more action.
"I was just flat told that he wouldn't meet with us," Clodtfelter said. "Before him, President Clinton promised we'd go out and get these people, and of course we never did. I'm sorry, but it's just like the lives of American servicemen aren't that important."
You're learning, Mr. Clodtfelter.