In the Sands of the Sinai – A Book Review

Dr. Itzhak Brook’s first person account of the 1973 Yom Kippur War is captivating in the tale he tells and in the lessons taught.  In the Sands of the Sinai, A physician’s Account of the Yom Kippur War,[1] is a timely reminder that individuals make the difference.  Cast your mind to

Yom Kippur Celebration

Yom Kippur Celebration

any holiday you find most pleasing.  In the days leading up to that morning, you’ve worked yourself to exhaustion.  Your sleep is deep as your unconscious mind is soothed by the familiar sounds, smells and feel of this day; the culmination of your year.  Instead of the joy and relaxation you know you’ve earned, you rudely awaken to war and an imminent threat to your family and your life.  Most U.S. citizens alive today can only come as close to that threat as the morning of September 11, 2001.  Imagine if that horror were to happen nation-wide. That is the world that rudely grabbed Brook’s dreams in a bedroom in Rehovot, Israel and threatened his wife and two young children on the morning of Yom Kippur in 1973.

An eternally long fourteen days later Brook would return from that war forever changed.  Told with the skill inbred from a culture that values oral history as a complement to the written word, Brook takes his readers for a ride rather than a read.  From the time Itzhak Brook lifts his foggy head from the pillow to wrap his mind around the reality of an all-out assault on Israel by Egypt and Syria to his return as a wounded war veteran; the reader lives his life in the trenches of the Sinai.  Few realize how close Israel came to annihilation and how ill-prepared the country was to answer the surprise attack. Continue reading

Syrian Sands Thru the Hourglass

Literature abounds with references to the hourglass. On one end of the spectrum, W.B. Yeats, an important player in early 20th Century literature wrote a play, The Hourglass, in

Courtesy of the Library of congress

Courtesy of the Library of congress

1903. While at the other end of the spectrum, Hourglass, a Syrian heavy metal band formed in 2002, released two, apparently popular, full length albums. An hourglass is used as a lead-in to a popular daily soap opera in the U.S. and by myriad poets to depict deep introspection.  The hourglass is a significant peace keeper during games of strategy and tactics. Some, like me, just like the physical being of hourglasses; end-to-end sealed wine glasses connected by a small straw through which an exact measure of sand flows at a determined rate to mark the passage of time.  An afternoon spent observing the movement of sand between the vessels of an hourglass may shed a small measure of understanding about the world around us.

U.S. brinkmanship, under the guise of peace maker, is a game refined and polished during the Cold War (1947-1991). It is a strategy game the U.S. has frequently and successfully used to align the ‘Free World’ for engagements in  mini-wars to liberate some part of the world from an evil government or its leader. While labeled a strategy game, the plays have become so familiar that the game may appear more like a child’s Tic-Tac-Toe game than Days of Wonder’s Memoir ’44 game, which “requires strategic card play, timely dice rolling and an aggressive, yet flexible battle plan to achieve victory.[1]  Recently, the U.S. engaged brinkmanship with Kim Jong-un and North Korea but the game evaporated in the exploding Benghazi scandal. But wait, there’s more!