What is "Safe?"
It's a beautiful warm sunny spring Friday morning in the Middle East. Iraq or no Iraq, I'd rather be here right now than shivering in my native New England, where my family reported to me yesterday that it was snowing AGAIN.
Of course, who knows whether I'll feel the same way in a week or so.
Here is the Fox News report
that is officially freaking out those Israelis who are not yet numb and still capable of freaking out. According to Fox, U.S. intelligence reports that Scuds are being placed in western Iraq, in striking distance of Iraq and that Saddam is "mulling over" the possibility of a pre-emptive strike on Israel if he's sure the U.S. is about to attack (how in the world does anyone know what Saddam is mulling over?)
So some of my fellow mothers of little kids are asking each other again, "Maybe we should get out of here for a while?" Their priority is to keep the kids safe and spare them the gas-mask wearing experience. It's all deja vu from January and February when we were asking each other the same question. I broke under the pressure and decided to take my kids to visit my family for three weeks in February when everyone was simply certain that the war would take place during that month (before the French started their antics.) I arrived just in time for two blizzards, the terrible fire in Rhode Island, and the national hysteria over the Orange Alert. During all this, I toted my kids through multiple airports, down major interstate highways and into unguarded shopping malls. They had a great time, but were pulled out of their familiar routines, away from their familiar surroundings.
Would doing that to them again now be the best thing for them? Is it really safer than taking our chances and staying here? I have no question in my mind regarding myself. If all of those American troops can put themselves in harm's way, not to mention the Israeli soldiers who do it on a daily basis, I'd absolutely stick it out, come what may. Besides, while I'm not working for a daily anymore, I'll always be a journalist and want to be where the story is.
But the kids....that makes everything so much more distressing and complicated.