The world came to terms with the reality of war in the Persian Gulf yesterday.
U.S. officials who were obviously pleased with the results of the first day's bombing of Iraq expressed bafflement as to why Iraq had reacted so ineffectually to the bombardment. Last night's Iraqi missile attack on Israel provided one answer to the question, and allied military officers worried that Saddam Hussein might have other surprises in store.
In Paris and London, government officials echoed the caution of U.S. officials and sought to dampen public euphoria at the initial success of the air war.
Iraqis, whose country was under heavy bombardment, were cut off from the outside world. Saddam was shown on Iraqi television walking the mostly empty streets of Baghdad, smiling and shaking hands.
In the Washington area a number of false bomb threats emptied schools and buildings, heightening anxieties about possible terrorism attacks. Concerned officials continued to take elaborate precautions, but the FBI said it knew of no credible threats of terrorism in the Washington area. People everywhere talked and worried about the war.
On Capitol Hill, members of Congress squabbled over the partisan implications of proposed resolutions praising President Bush and supporting the troops in the gulf. The Senate finally adopted such a resolution after Republicans dropped a demand that it explicitly endorse Bush's decision to initiate the air war.
Around the country there were numerous anti-war demonstrations, none of them very large. At the same time, many military recruiting offices reported unusual crowds of would-be volunteers asking if they could quickly join the armed forces. Talk-show hosts said their calls were overwhelmingly supportive of the war effort.