Monday, August 07, 2006
Jeffs Blog - From Fox News
THIS IS THE BLOG POSTED BY FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT. JEFF GOLDBLATT on www.foxnews.com
"Play nice," screams Mal James, directing his verbal fire at both Hezbollah and the Israel military. It’s a downright comical announcement. He made it a few times yesterday, and now a few times this morning too, after the crushing boom of a 155mm Israeli Howitzer cuts through the air.
Neither side in this war listened to Mal yesterday. No one would today either. Not that Mal expects his order to command any attention.
RRRRRRRRrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. RRRRRRRRRRrrrrr. The air raid siren cranked up early on this Friday. Considering what the alarm is supposed to presage, I don’t find the sound as ominous as perhaps I should...at least not yet. There’s no time to dwell upon your surroundings or upon the danger, just time to react.
It’s just three days into this posting, and I am already getting somewhat accustomed to certain routines that should be downright dismaying. I can swing my flak jacket over my body and button up, without breaking stride (my best time is about ten seconds). I can eat a meal al fresco amid a raucous cacophony of war noise. And I can translate the body language of Bureau Chief Eli Fastman as to whether it’s outgoing Israeli or incoming Hezbollah fire:
When Eli repeatedly wags his index forward, with the same sense of deliberateness as a teacher lecturing an elementary school kid, that’s the sign for outgoing. When he raises his index finger in the air, and holds it like a parent about to tell his child something important, that’s the sign to stay alert. And when he twirls his index finger in rapid fashion, with the same motion as a New Year’s Eve reveler, that’s the sign for incoming. The latter is the sign you don’t like to see.
Today, we didn’t even get a sign. The rockets showered Kiryat Shmona so quickly it’s as if the rockets were coming out of an automatic machine gun. BOOM! BOOM! Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz. BAM! ZZZZZzzzzzzzzz. BAM! You have no idea when a Katyusha rocket is headed your way, but if you hear their signature echo, you know they are close. Often, it’s too late. Imagine Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader engaged in a light saber fight. That buzzing WHOOSH is kinda how a Katyusha sounds before its violent life ends in an explosion.
As fate would have it, we were getting ready to go live on the air for FOX & Friends, when a barrage of Katyushas started screaming into our world. For about 15 minutes, it was as if the gates of Hell had opened, and we were invited to watch.
BOOM! BAM! ZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. BAM! BAM! BAM! It seems everytime I tried to collect my thoughts, a fresh strike forced me to steer my talking points to a different side of the mountain, or a different side of the city, or a different farm field. The strikes were EVERYWHERE! The action was intense! ZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz! I caught just the tail end of the rocket as it streaked over the top of our building, coming within 500 yards of nailing our workspace. It’s at this point, that I leaped to the ground to take cover. It’s at this point that this war became acutely real.
Over the course of those 15 minutes, more than 40 rockets would slam the greater Kiryat Shmona area, killing one person. Two others were killed by rocket attacks, raising the Katyusha death toll to 30. Sobering numbers on a sobering day, a day in which you are forced to take stock of your life and how quickly it can all end