The Raid On The Reactor

*Editor’s note from Duckie-  While we always reserve Friday’s to Remember Everyone Deployed, and try and honor our troops & Veterans sometimes we post other military themed articles or Military related History articles, although those are usually focused on US military.  Today Lawngren has a special feature focusing on Israel, one of our best allies.  Since we appreciate Israel, and they have an amazing military as well, it seems to fall on a Friday to post it.  So even though this is something different this week which we hope people will enjoy (and I do believe he’s got a few more Israel based articles up his sleeve for future posts), we never want a Friday to go by, or any day for that matter, where we don’t give thanks for all that our men and women in uniform do for our Freedoms.  God bless our Troops today and every day, and watch over those who are so far away.  Thank you all for your Service! 

I hope everyone has their RED on, and now….

Remember Moses and the burning bush that God used to get his attention? The story is in Exodus chapter 3. It wasn’t the bush burning that got Moses’ attention, it was the fact that in spite of being on fire, it wasn’t burned up.

I don’t remember who it was who said that anything in science that doesn’t make sense may be a “burning bush” to draw scientists’ attention to God.

I think that the continued existence of Israel is such a burning bush, probably specifically designed to draw the attention of avid students of history and military to the God of Israel.

Why? Because by any reasonable assessment, Israel should have been annihilated or assimilated long ago. Israel has been hated by its neighbors since Israel became a nation thousands of years ago. Everyone knows about the Holocaust, but that’s only the best-known of the times when Israel hovered on the verge of being snuffed out. Nazi Germany’s determination to wipe out Jews was carried with them into every nation they conquered. Puppet governments helped round up and kill Jews.

Poland “On the eve of the German occupation of Poland in 1939, 3.3 million Jews lived there. At the end of the war, approximately 380,000 Polish Jews remained alive, the rest having been murdered, mostly in the ghettos and the six death camps: Chelmo, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, Majdanek and Auschwitz-Birkenau.”

That’s a little over 88% of the Jews in Poland murdered. That was not uncommon, and it’s far from the worst, percentage-wise, in European puppet-state nations during the existence of Nazi Germany. You can read the grim before-and-after statistics at this page of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum:

One source termed anti-Semitism “the longest hatred”. That hatred not only lingers today, but is once again increasing in scope and intensity even in the nations of the West. As everyone who cares about truth knows, Arab nations have been open for decades about their desire to destroy Israel. Anyone can verify this for themselves by making a pro-Israel comment on any blog of sufficient size. Googling “Israel + (your choice of Mideast Arab nations)” will also quickly confirm this.

When I began writing this article, I opened my facebook page and in the first three comments found this disgrace to America: ” ‘How many more protesters must be shot, rockets must be fired, and little kids must be killed until the endless cycle of violence ends?’ Omar tweeted. ‘The status quo of occupation and humanitarian crisis in Gaza is unsustainable. Only real justice can bring about security and lasting peace.’ ” From US Representative Ilhan Omar, D-Minn and a Muslim…

Before I could sign off facebook that same night, this article was posted: H/T to Sandra Lowery Smith.

Here’s a succinct and authoritative confirmation of the hatred of Israel by what we call “world leaders” “… Israel is, without a doubt, the most hated nation in the world today, and I can prove it quickly and decisively … Just consider a partial listing of condemnations issued by the United Nations Human Rights Council since it was established in 2006. Israel has been condemned 62 times, Syria 17 times, North Korea 8 times and Iran 5 times … Of the 193 members of the United Nations, only 11 nations have been condemned, representing six percent. Of the 116 resolutions of condemnation, 53% have been aimed at Israel!

There is more at that link that I don’t have space for here. Here’s further confirmation:
Austrian police fine students for waving Israel flag at anti-BDS protest:
A police supervisor told the students the Israeli flag is a “provocation” and issued the activists a 150 euro fine.”

Even the NYT (after posting an obviously anti-Semitic cartoon) published this acknowledgment of growing anti-Semitism in the 21st century:
The number of assaults against American Jews more than doubled from 2017 to 2018, rising to 39, according to a report released Tuesday by the Anti-Defamation League. On Saturday, a gunman opened fire during Passover services at a synagogue in San Diego County, killing one person and injuring three, allegedly after he posted in an online manifesto that he wanted to murder Jews. For decades, most American Jews felt safe to practice their religion, but now they pass through metal detectors to enter synagogues and schools.” There is more and worse in that article:
Similar at:

How is it that such a tiny, universally hated nation cannot only cling to life, but prosper? There are far more illustrations than I can put in one or even two or three articles of good intel work, good fighting skills, and most importantly, what I see as the hand of Jehovah keeping Israel in existence. And Israel definitely needs all the help they can get.

This week, let’s take a look at one particularly dramatic event: “The Raid On The Reactor”, Israel’s very daring, precise, and 100% successful bombing of Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor in June of 1981.

Iraq didn’t have the ability to build a nuke reactor, so Saddam traded oil and money for it with Jacque Shirac, the president of France who approved the deal. Saddam bought French fighters (Mirages) as well. For the French, it was “a huge money transaction, and nothing else was important.” [Announced in 1975] The French government officially claimed it was for energy purposes only, but as Rodger Claire, author of “Raid on the Sun” says in the video linked below, “Iraq has the largest oil reserves of anybody in the Middle East, so why would they need nuclear power when they’re floating on a pool of oil?

This video is an hour long, but it is as packed with drama and excitement as any action movie you’ll ever see, as these excerpts testify. (Unattributed excerpts are from narration.)

” … the Israelis believed that the very survival of the Jewish state hung in the balance …”

They were correct: there was an open threat: “An article appeared in one of the major Baghdad newspapers saying that they would have a nuclear bomb to neutralize Israel.” In fact, the Iran-Iraq War was in progress at the time, and Saddam issued a statement to Iran saying that this weapon would not be used against them, but against the Zionist state.

Gen. Alexander Haig recounted his feelings: “It was very obvious that this [Saddam] was a man who cared very little about human life and the values that dominate Western democratic societies …”

I really think it was one of the most important and most interesting military surprises of all time.” (Richard Allen, National Security Advisor during the Reagan Adminstration)

It wasn’t just a mission. It was … destiny.” (Lt. Gen. Relik Shafer, mission pilot)

The mission aircraft took off at “… more than twice the design weight of the aircraft …”

Relik Shafer, one of the pilots, now a Lieutenant General, said, “Many of us [the pilots] were sons or grandsons of people who had been through the Holocaust …”

Here’s the entire fantastic video:

SPOILER ALERT: following is commentary on that video, so avoid this if you want the full drama ….

The raid was a total surprise to US Intelligence, even though the mission was three years in planning. Outside of those planning the mission, no one else knew what the mission was until Israel’s F16s began their bombing dive on the reactor. The practice took place on a secret Israeli base in the Sinai Desert, which in those days was in the possession of Israel.

IMO, Israel had had enough of the US pressuring them not to do something critical to their survival and critical to minimizing loss of Israeli lives. (This constant hindering will be illustrated in reviews of the 1973 Yom Kippur War and the Six Day War in 1967.)

Richard Allen, National Security Advisor during the Reagan Administration, corroborated that attitude when he said, “Obviously satellite photography was providing data on the construction of the reactor. I recall having seen it, or the mention of it, during the transition from the Carter administration to the Reagan administration, but I don’t recall that we paid any attention to the progress of that reactor, nor were we particularly alarmed by it.”

Political condemnation of the reactor by the UN was sought by Israel, but not given. At the same time, the Mossad had been told to use their own methods to delay the reactor becoming operational. They tried to blow up the reactor core in a small French town as the French were about to ship it out of the country. This resulted in a delay of six months, but did not end the project. The Mossad also assassinated the top Egyptian scientist working for Saddam in Paris, after he turned down money, sex, and anything else they could offer him. They had to infiltrate the French AEC to find him. The escort girl they apparently sent to get him to open his hotel door was murdered, because after his throat was slit, she contacted the police. Who naturally did not protect her.

At least a dozen nuclear scientists working on reactor were killed, but even the formidable Mossad couldn’t stop the reactor from going operational. Finally they notified Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin that “they had exhausted all the means at their disposal.”

So Israel’s secret mission, “Operation Opera”, began. This was not going to be easy. Afterward, military professionals of many nations were astounded that the Israelis had managed to accomplish it.

The original plan was “a military incursion into Iraq“. But before they could put it in motion, the disastrous US attempt to rescue the Iran hostages convinced the Israelis that was not the way to go.

And then – >drum roll< >trumpet flourish< radicals overthrew the Shah, and a US sale of seventy-six F16s to Iran was cancelled. And Israel was offered the chance to buy them, which they did. That plane was perfect for the mission.

A two-ship of Israeli air force F-16s from Ramon Air Base, Israel, head out to the Nevada Test and Training Range, July 17 during Red Flag +09-4. Red Flag is a realistic combat training exercise involving the air forces of the United States and its allies. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Master Sgt. Kevin J. Gruenwald)

An F16 is like a sports car. It’s like a glove. It’s a totally different experience.” “You just wear it and you go flying.” “It’s built for the pilot. It was built by pilots.” (Comments by the Israeli pilots who flew the reactor mission.) So Israel “just happened” to get an opportunity to buy the perfect plane for the mission, and their top pilots were trained by our top pilots for twenty months in Utah.

Does all this still sound like luck or coincidence to you? And there’s more!

To begin with, they were going to have to fly 1200 miles, mostly over Saudi Arabian and Iraqi airspace. They weren’t certain that the pilots would have enough fuel to get back, if they weren’t shot down by the SAM missiles or anti-aircraft batteries surrounding the reactor.

Here’s a hair-raising example of what you can call luck, but I call God’s hand protecting Israel:
Over the Gulf of Aqaba, the fighters passed over the yacht of King Hussein of Jordan, headed east. “And he figure out immediately what it’s all about, so he called his officer on the ship, to call command center in Amman … tell the brother the Israelis are coming to knock out the reactor.” (Lt. Col. Amir Nachumi, mission pilot)

But the message didn’t get through in time.

And there were those American-made AWACs planes, flying radar platforms, guarding Saudi airspace, which could detect them long before they entered Iraq. (Wake up, American politicians. Do not sell our military hardware to anyone except long-trusted allies with similar values. It could come back to haunt you – or someone who IS an ally.)

They were highly likely, make that certain, to be seen on Saudi radar. Unless, of course, the pilots flew under the radar. At more than 600 miles per hour. No more than 100 feet off the ground. And the pilots had to be in control. This is similar to what they were doing:

Just to save enough weight (fuel) to get to the target, the planes were stripped of all defensive armament, including radar jammers, and had extra fuel tanks installed under their wings. Even that wasn’t enough. They had to use “hot fueling”, meaning as the planes were about to take off, the tanks were topped off as they sat, engines running, on the runway. This is not allowed because of the danger of the extremely flammable jet fuel igniting accidentally and … well, you can picture what it would be like. One of the pilots pointed out that this had never been done before. The ground crew didn’t get to practice. One shot, live or die. They did it!

And when they got over the Saudi desert and the extra tanks were empty, they had to be dropped to save weight. But this also had never been done before, because the empty tanks might fly up into the wings and damage them, or might smash into the bombs. Either way, end of mission, loss of lives. But there was no other way. And everything went perfectly.

At the final briefing, one of the pilots told their general: “There is one significant fact: they can not stop us from getting there. I don’t know if we can come back. They can not stop us from getting there.”

These pilots did not do this with the expectation of coming home to a hero’s welcome. They weren’t sure they would make it home at all. But they went anyway.

They made their final run fifty feet above the ground! At more than 600 miles per hour. Four pairs about 3 seconds apart. I have no words to describe the coordination and reflexes of pilots with this degree of ability, except to say it seems almost supernatural.

Who knows? Maybe, on that day, it was Supernatural. 🙂

This was a Sunday, chosen to minimize collateral damage. All the French technicians working on the reactor were taking a day off. And, a tactical concern, the attack was scheduled at the time when AA gunners and missile batteries had taken their dinner break.

But the radar, right? Haha! Wrong! God said, “I’ve got this”, and …

“… for some inexplicable reason, the guards at the reactor site had turned off the radar …”

The 2nd pair of fighters came under fire, but were not hit. The Israelis expected pursuit from those French Mirages Saddam had bought, but “… the Iraqis didn’t fly … they didn’t take off, they didn’t shoot missiles … they even didn’t lock the radars on us.”

The pilots landed on their home field with “not the last drop [of fuel] but very close to that.”

Everything went almost 100% perfectly. One pilot had to make a compensation for his error in speed, two of the bombs did not detonate. But all bombs were dropped, the target was completely destroyed, and every airman came home alive and landed on the home airstrip.

Still think it’s coincidence? Luck? Give up!

Narration: “Adjacent buildings were left intact. There were only 11 casualties – 10 Iraqi soldiers and one French technician. And most of the casualties came as a result of the artillery, fired blindly into the sky by Iraqi soldiers as they waited for their radar to warm up. Most importantly, the nuclear fuel stored nearby was undamaged, precluding any potential radioactive nuclear contamination.”

I was amazed and angered when I read the reaction of most in our government, the United States government:

Richard Allen, Reagan’s National Security Advisor, reports on the post-bombing official response conference of the National Security Council and President Reagan: “I was frankly amazed at the views that were expressed. The Vice President, George Bush, a longtime friend, was very vehement in his criticism of the Israelis, strongly urging that some sort of punitive action be taken. Jim Baker, the Chief of Staff of the White House, was of the very same opinion.”

General Alexander Haig: “The President went around the table and, with the exception of one member of the cabinet, there was a very strong anti-Israeli condemnation mood in the room. It was very vitriolic, especially the VP and Jim Baker. Then we finally got around to me, and I said to the president, before this is over, we’ll be on our knees thanking God Israel did what it did.”

Dick Cheney agreed, sending a satellite photo of the destroyed reactor to David Evry, the commanding general of the mission, after Desert Storm Israeli Ambassador to the Us. On the photo, Cheney had written, “If it weren’t for you, Desert Storm would not have been a success.”

A salute to the Israeli pilots, the Israeli military and political leaders, who put fear and personal concerns aside and did what patriots in their positions should do: Fight, each in his position, for their nation wholeheartedly, without reservation or hesitation.

And thanks and praise to the Holy One of Israel who again showed those who have eyes to see that He is God and there is no other. Who even in battle shows mercy and restraint. Who strengthens, guides, and protects the righteous. May His name be praised forever!

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