How Close Was U.S. to Mideast Nuclear Moment?

Since the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, the world has come to the nuclear brink only twice. The first, and better known, was the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. The second, and much less discussed, occurred in the early days of the Yom Kippur war, which began 30 years ago today.

The shock Israelis felt at the Egyptian-Syrian surprise attack on Oct. 6, 1973, can best be compared to that felt by Americans after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Israel was caught totally unprepared: the government had assumed that its intelligence services would be able to alert it at least 48 hours before any invasion.

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