While many people watched Sec.of State, Collin Powell's address to the UN with great interest around the world, I would venture to say that few watched it as intensely as we Israelis did. Not one of us is left with any doubt that the war is coming, and as described by one of our former Commanders of Army Intelligence, "it is no longer a matter of months or weeks, but rather days." The audio visual "aids" used by Powell, were more than merely proofs or argumentation tools for us Israelis; these were a review of the real dangers we face in the coming days and as such were chilling to the bone. Fifty-seven years after our people emerged from the Nazi showers of Zyklon B, we are getting ready to deal with a new potential witches brew of far more advanced chemical and biological agents.
But what is different today, is not the threat or the eagerness to kill millions of Jews, or even the reaction of much of the "civilized world" to this real threat (especially France and Germany), or the resolute and courageous stand the United States and Britain are taking in response to this desperate evil. What is really different between now and when Jews were gassed in WWII is simply our ability to defend ourselves.
We are armed. We are ready. And we will not stand by idly while criminal dictators attempt to finish Hitler's work. While the best defense is really a strong offense (and thank God Israel is blessed with a powerful fist with a very long reach) we have also bolstered our defenses.
Over the last decade, Israel has developed the world's most advanced anti-missile defense system, The Arrow, together with the U.S. We are hopeful that this will contain the danger represented by the errant missile that Saddam may be able to send our way. There are a number of Patriot Batteries in place. Most importantly the Israeli Homefront Command has prepared our people for the worst.
To get an idea of what our reality is like over here take a short visit to the Israel Defense Forces Homefront Web Page.
There you can see heart-warming pictures of people demonstrating the various gas masks we have all dutifully collected and have waiting in our "protected rooms."
There are detailed instructions for how to create a "protected space" for chemical and biological attack. There are even pages of FAQ's answering such important questions as how long will it take chemical agents to disperse after a incident. (Answer: usually 15 minutes to 4 hours depending on wind conditions.) Our children have all been prepared at school on what to do in case of attack. They know how to put on their masks. My eight year old daughter taught me how to use the mask. My two high school kids have been trained tp help in civil defense and distribution of antidotes and other medical duties.
The rogues gallery of evil tools which Collin Powell described today at
the UN is no mere PR exercise. It is aimed at us and all other decent and
freedom loving peoples. Secretary Powell got our rapt attention. We are ready and prepared.