An item buried in President Bush’s latest request for $190 billion in emergency war funding offers telling evidence that the U.S. could be preparing an attack on Iran.
The Defense Department has asked for $88 million to retrofit B-2 Stealth bombers so they can carry a 30,000-pound “bunker buster” bomb called the massive ordnance penetrator (MOP), which has the capacity to destroy deep underground targets.
The Administration says the request is in response to an “urgent operational need from theater commanders.”
Some observers might conclude that the Pentagon is seeking weaponry to strike Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida in their caves in Afghanistan.
But as Gerard Baker, U.S. editor of the Times of London, points out in the New York Post, that would not require Stealth bombers.
“The Americans own the skies over Afghanistan and Iraq and could, if they wished, blanket the two countries with all manner of bombardment from a few thousand feet in broad daylight,” Baker notes.
Instead, the more likely targets are the subterranean nuclear enrichment facilities in Iran, according to Baker, who writes:
“The debate in Washington about what to do with the increasingly recalcitrant and self-confident Iranian regime has taken a significant turn in the past few weeks. And the decision to upgrade the bombing capacity of the military is perhaps the most powerful indication yet that the debate is reaching a climax.”
The Pentagon request confirms an earlier report that first ran on Newsmax.com in July, which disclosed that the Pentagon was planning to modify the B-2 Stealth bombers so they could carry the bunker buster bombs – “a move that could be a prelude to an attack on Iran and its nuclear facilities.”
The Newsmax report revealed that Northrop Grumman, the Air Force’s prime contractor on the B-2, would retrofit the bomber to carry the new 30,000-pound MOP.
“The U.S. Air Force’s B-2 Stealth bomber would be able to attack and destroy an expanded set of hardened, deeply buried military targets” using the MOP, the company said at the time.
Regarding the likelihood of an American attack on Iran, Baker observes that the U.S. now “thinks it has the intelligence and the military capacity to undermine the Iranian threat seriously…
“The only real question about the next phase in this war is whether an escalation by the U.S., in a pre-emptive strike against Iranian nuclear facilities, would further American – and Western – objectives, or impede them. The evidence is increasingly suggesting that the costs of not acting are equal to or larger than the costs of acting.”
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