USS Cole captain being treated unfairly

The war on terrorism would be much more effective if we could keep in mind who are the enemies.

That's important to remember when you consider what Kirk Lippold is going through. He earned a medal for saving the USS Cole after the deadly al Qaida bombing in 2000 in Yemen, but is apparently now a scapegoat.

Lippold, a Carson City native, was commander of the ship at the time of the attack, and afterward was recommended for promotion to captain.

But since then he's been assigned to a desk job in the U.S. Navy, even though his promotion was supported at all levels of the military. It's widely believed that his name was taken off the promotion list by Sen. John Warner because of the Cole bombing.

To Lippold and his supporters, that amounts to being held liable for failing to prevent an act of terrorism, even though an investigation showed clearly he could not have prevented the bombing.

What's even more troubling is that there is no accountability from those who failed to alert the ship to the dangers lurking there. U.S. Intelligence had found signs of a possible attack in the Middle East and had briefed a general.

But Lippold wasn't told about that, nor that U.S. embassies in the Middle East had been closed because of the danger. Instead, he was directed to refuel his ship at that port.

If Lippold is to be held responsible, so, too, must be those who failed to alert him about the danger.

If he had been informed, Lippold might have been able to divert to a safer port. And the lives of 17 sailors would have been saved.


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