Sometimes I love being married to such a smart guy. And sometimes I really wish for innocence, and wish I was married to someone a little less sharp than Yitzchak.
I’ll say it bluntly: This hijacking – and that’s what both of us knew it was from pretty much the beginning – has scared both of us. At first, before all the details started coming out, I was scared because such a sudden, unexplained malfunction is really, truly, scary. All I hoped was that we would find that little black box that would tell us everything we needed to know.
Then we started seeing the route that it took, what the radar (which had been our first question) had shown, and other information (or lack thereof). And we started being scared because this is just really, really, bad news. We usually fly El Al, simply because I feel like only Israelis know what they are doing security-wise. But Yitzchak’s family is either a plane ride or a long car trip away from the nearest El Al flight. And between his family and mine is either a 2-day car trip or a three hour plane ride; because it’s not connecting to Israel, El Al doesn’t cover it. So yes, we still have reason to be freaked out over flying.
Right now, though, flying isn’t the scariest part of this whole saga. The scariest part is this:
There is a Boeing777 at large, in the hands of terrorists. It’s true that in order to refuel on their way to America, they will [probably] have to out themselves. But if they didn’t use up all the fuel that they had, then they still have enough for an hour or two, or possibly more – enough to reach Europe, and yes, Israel. And now, apparently, we know that they flew low to avoid primary radar detection. I’ll leave you to figure out what that means. (I will say, though, that with this bit of information we can probably find the plane pretty soon; we just have to analyze the AWAC data, which we have but rarely use.)
Yitzchak, of course, being the brilliant worrier that he is, wanted to look something up. I guessed, correctly, that he wanted to look at the 777 information on Wikipedia. He looked at its holding capacity, at its weight capacity for takeoff and landing. Then he typed “Ivy Mike” into the search box. I didn’t know what Ive Mike was, so I was confused. Until, that is, the page loaded. One glance at the picture of the mushroom cloud adorning the page and I had my answer. Ivy Mike is some kind of nuke. It weighs 85 tons, and is therefore basically undeliverable unless you have a jumbo jet. The 777 can carry up to 150 tons.
What I’m wondering now is what happened to the people on the plane. Are they dead, shot like the Nazis killed people, one by one, and buried in a pit? Are they being sold on the black market as slaves? Will they be released quietly, one by one? Will they be released on condition that they give up their passports? On condition that they never talk about what they saw? Are they being starved? Indoctrinated?
I’d like to remind everyone that the nations who we’re talking about – Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, etc. – are not known for their appreciation or respect of human rights, or their straightforwardness and honesty. They are also not known for their adherence to the Geneva Conventions, so if war breaks out – well, you can just imagine what these prisoners will suffer, if they’re even alive. And I wouldn’t put it past these dogs to kill them point-blank.
Israel, meanwhile, is stepping up its air security. They’re not telling us much, but one thing that we do know is that Israeli air space is going to be more protected and anyone entering it will have to identify themselves earlier on. Because this is a civilian plane, it can obviously identify itself as such and claim to be carrying civilians; I therefore assume – and feel safe assuming, since we’re speaking about smart Jewish Israelis and not a stupid European or American government (in all fairness, Israeli/Jewish intelligence comes in large part from being persecuted for millenia*) – that there will be much more coordination so that only flights who take off bound for Israel will be allowed in. In other words – you didn’t tell us when you took off from your specific airport at a specific time – down you go, high enough up and far enough out that it won’t hurt any of our citizens.
Yes, Israel will shoot down a plane. Especially if it is suspected of carrying chemical weapons or nukes.
Yes, I believe Israel is alert enough to catch it in time.
No, I do not believe any other country is.
Of course, the United States will realize too slow, too late, and then will try to solve the world’s problems. Please – solve your own problems first and give Israel a free hand to do as we please. That’s the best help you can give us – unconditional support and backing to do what we believe we need to do. 9/11, the predecessor to this hijacking, was engineered by the same people as this one – Al Qaeda, and run by Khalid Sheik Mohammed.
Just like then, the world is not prepared.
Just like then, people are in denial that it is possible.
And just like then, the terrorists have a head start.
The first thing I thought when I saw the news and that it wasn’t an obvious mechanical problem was that it was being used for a 9/11 type attack; my only question was why they only took one plane.
Right now they only have one plane. It could be that that’s all they need. And it could be that they are doing this one by one, and all future flights (except El Al :)) are in danger.
In the meantime, it pays to be wary.
And it pays to be aware.
Semi-nuclear Iran + hijacked planes + terrorists + an unaware world = stuff that no one wants to think about but that needs to be dealt with – and FAST.
*Intelligence – both the regular kind and the military kind. Comes from being persecuted – both because we learned from our mistakes and are extremely wary and because of the law of “survival of the fittest”.