That’s what separated me from a missile which hit my hotel at around 4 am. The missile hit the sixth floor of the Ishtar Sheraton. Luckily, that floor is a deck, so the explosion appears to have done little more than displace some concrete, break some glass, and rattle some nerves. The only injury I have seen was from an Iraqi outside the hotel who came in with a cut on his arm, likely from the shattered glass.
Needless to say, the impact was deafening, particularly coming as it did at a time when I was dead sleep. Once the disorientation of sleep leaves you (which, given the volume of the blast was a period measured in nanoseconds), the question is what to do. Part of you says to stay in your bed out of the uncertainty of whether additional missiles will follow. But my bed is about 10 feet from a large sliding glass door and balcony facing the same side that the missile hit, so this seemed a bad idea. After waiting a moment to assure that there would not be a substantial risk in leaving the room, I threw on my clothes. In the bathroom, you could smell smoke--a smell like a mechanical or electrical fire. I made my way to the lobby, in which the floor and sofas were speckled by pieces of thick glass. I then walked outside to see if the damage was visible, but was quickly cautioned to return indoors: there were snipers on the roof, and there was no need to confuse them with an extra target. The hotel manager then secured a back elevator which could be taken to the sixth floor. There you could see the point of impact. The damage, however, appeared to be minimal, because missile hit concrete. There was much broken glass, but all told we were very lucky.
This morning, the terrorists came after the civilians in my hotel in a cowardly attack. But tonight, I ride with a unit from Operation Iron Promise to go after them.