Thursday, March 20, 2003
WENT THE NIGHT WELL
At 10pm last night the Home Front finally issued detailed instructions fit the filters. The gas masks are much better designed this time, and it is impossible to put on the filter without removing the protective tag. I seem to remember that the first Gulf War, some people died because they didn't remove the protective tag from the front of the filter, and just assumed that their breathing difficulties were caused by the masks. The masks are also more advanced, so that you can talk through them and drink if necessary (I’ve already got my G&Ts prepared for the event).
Israeli television apparently broadcast all night, though at some point the Ribbitzen and I decided to go to sleep. We woke up this morning to watch some more broadcasts. We are supposed to be working from home today, but I suspect that quite a lot of the day will be spent in front of the TV and the computer. We can hear the Israeli jets flying over constantly, as they patrol the eastern boarder from potential Iraqi incursions. The tadpoles went to school with their masks, and will be back mid-day.
Saddam’s speech was relayed on the networks here. Although I read Arabic well and can converse in the Palestinian vernacular, I have to admit that I find Saddam’s accent very hard to comprehend, and I was somewhat encouraged by the fact that Oded Granot, Channel One’s correspondent for Arab affairs, also seemed to be having some trouble in catching everything that Saddam said. The general consensus here is that the speech was pre-recorded. Experts are also casting doubt upon the American ability to catch Saddam on the first night. Saddam is no fool, they are saying, and would hardly have allowed himself to present an easy target.
There is a degree of resignation to the idea of the war here. I think that the general consensus is that Saddam really had it coming to him, and that if you mess with the world’s greatest superpower and military force you get what’s coming to you. Only extremist voices like Ha’aretz’s Gidon Levi have been attacking the war ferociously. Levi claimed last night on a TV panel discussion that the entire world was against the war except Israel, the kind of exaggeration that typifies the far-left’s attitude towards Middle Eastern affairs. The other members of the panel didn’t even bother to respond to his accusations, and one, a senior professor of philosophy from Tel Aviv University (hardly a bastion of reactionary thought) went as far as to dismiss Levi’s words of total nonsense not worthy of serious consideration. Although Israel is insisting upon keeping a low profile (hard for Jews; you know, the nose and all that) there is of course intense interest here in what is going on, and how it will effect the region.
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