4.0937 Israel News: Thursday's SCUD Attack (1/138)
Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Thu, 24 Jan 91 23:58:51 EST
Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 4, No. 0937. Thursday, 24 Jan 1991.
Date: Thu, 24 Jan 91 15:21 +0200
Subject: Thursday's SCUD Attack
Patriots down a SCUD.
Thursday, 24 January
Last night another air raid alarm. Here is how it went, a few minutes
of hightened secretion of adrenalin which seemed much longer:
22:10 The radio is interrupted by a sisma, a code name for
call up of an army group, but in this case perhaps
the code indicating an attack.
22:10 I hear the siren, clearly up and down, the signal for
a true attack. [The local joke is that the up and
down wail of the siren signals our indecision; whether
to use the gas-proof room upstairs or the more safe
against blast shelter below.] I help my mother into
the poison gas-proof room and call my wife. I rush
to pee [There is no time to waste three syllables on
"urinate."] before I enter and we seal the door with
tape at all the edges and a wet towel below. We put
on our gas masks, my mother always needs help with hers
[The instructions are definite about always getting
yours on first; if something happens to you, you will
not be able to help anyone else.], turn on the
transister radio [The electricity might be knocked out
or fail.] The radio is reassuring, telling us that as
soon as something definite is known we will be told,
that the alarm has been given throughout Israel, that
we are to to go to the gas-proof rooms, put on our
masks and listen to the radio. The directions are
given several times in Hebrew and then briefly trans-
lated into English, Russian, French, Amharic [There
are new Ethiopian Jews arriving every day.], and a
Slavic language which I can not recognize. I notice
how much better they have gotten at this, the announcers
telling us how much they know, and promising to tell us
more as soon as they know. Instructions are given to
those caught in cars [Put on gas masks. If near a
building, to hurry to it after turning off car. If
not in a built up area, to turn off car and remain
in the vehicle, tuned to radio.] We are told that the
alarm was sounded because of an attack on Israel. We
remain tense, make jokes. There are some friends and
relatives who have told us they have difficulty in
hearing the siren. We have a telephone in the room,
their numbers, writ large, nearby. We remembered to
call them as soon as we were secured; they had heard,
but thank us.
22:17 We are told to remove our masks but to remain in the
sealed rooms. We breathe a sigh of relief; it apparently
was not a chemical attack.
22:21 We are told that everybody, except those living in the
greater Tel Aviv area, can leave the sealed rooms but
not to leave home.
22:43 We are informed that a SCUD missile was downed by a
Patriot anti-missile missile in the north [Later we
would be told that there were 2 Patriots, that the
north meant over Haifa.]. No one hurt [At 11 PM,
we would hear that a fair amount of broken windows
and door frame damage took place.]. What a relief!
And a new source of hope, the Patriots - They really
work! Attacks also reported from Saudi Arabi where
the Patriots were again effective. Everyone can
leave the sealed rooms.
Sleep is still a problem; everything is, of course, worse in Tel Aviv.
I call friends there, listen to their indecisions about whether to stay
or leave. I try to help with advice, usually by saying what they want
to hear. They wonder: Would leaving be desertion? Just for one night?
To get some sleep? On late night programs I hear psychologists give
advice on how to sleep. From a friend in Tel Aviv, I learn that one
does not shower or use a blower to dry your hair when you are alone - in
order not to miss the siren.
Yesterday, I went back to work for the first time since last Thursday;
most people are there, there is little talk of the war or the bombings.
Friends from Tel Aviv call, to talk a bit - they are much more in it
than we are. Their terror is still real, almost palpable. But they are
There is a debate on the situation in the Knesset, our Parliament. I
miss most of it but get the flavor: almost all of the members feel that
we should strike Iraq BUT not now as there is nothing we could do that
the Coalition is not already doing. Two Arab members of Knesset manage
to blame us for being bombed by Iraq's missiles. One member says that
there is one thing that will never be forgiven Saddam Hussein; that he
is responsible for one and a half million children having to wear gas
A Danish military expert claims that the payload of Tuesday night's SCUD
was too great for it to have come from Iraq. He suggests that Jordan is
being used to stage the missile firings. Could King Hussein be so
foolish? Is he under such great pressure from the Iraqis? His rule is
tenuous enough without inviting us to attack him. What ever could he be
thinking? Has he been trapped by the rhetoric of the situation once
again, as in 1967?
The Americans announce that they have definitely destroyed the two Iraqi
nuclear reactors. It is almost 10 years since we took out the French
built Tamuz reactor in Ossirak. We were con- demned [A typo: I type
"cohndemned".] by the world for this action. But we set back the war
machine that the West was building in Iraq by 10 years. Who will
remember to thank us for that? We do not need the thanks, as we too -
not only the troops fighting in Persian Gulf - are the direct
beneficiaries of that attack.
We are still looking for a new elegant attack on Iraq. A French
engineer who worked for Saddam writes, according to one of my
correspondents, that Saddam Hussein's bunker has two weak points: the
air intake and the exhaust shaft for a diesel generator. Those two
shafts are apparently camouflaged to protect them against bombing. They
might be easy to locate from the ground.
Another writer tells me that he is an expert in dust free environments
and that the filters in the underground shelters may be their weak
points. He suggests a number of common agents that he has shown can
destroy high grade filters.
Just at the beginning of the attack on Israel, almost a week ago, I
found an email address from Cairo on one of the intellectual nets. I
thought it might be fun and interesting to correspond with someone so
close, and yet so far. He responded favorably, and tells me that all is
calm in Cairo at the moment, but that "nobody seems to have any
information about the war." "Cairenes," he reports, "seem to be very
blase about the whole thing; their attitude is that they've seen it all
before." He sounds interesting; I wish I had more time to get know him.
After this is all over, I hope.