Thursday, October 25, 2007

Is Iran Next?

ABC News reported Tucked inside the White House's $196 billion emergency funding request for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is an item that has some people wondering whether the administration is preparing for military action against Iran.
Or at least wants them to think we are.
The item: $88 million to modify B-2 stealth bombers so they can carry a newly developed 30,000-pound bomb called the massive ordnance penetrator, or, in military-speak, the MOP. The MOP is the the military's largest conventional bomb, a super "bunker-buster" capable of destroying hardened targets deep underground. The one-line explanation for the request said it is in response to "an urgent operational need from theater commanders."

What urgent need? The Pentagon referred questions on this to Central Command.
No one in the Pentagon was willing to leak military secrets? Amazing.
ABC News called CENTCOM to ask what the "urgent operational need" is. CENTCOM spokesman Maj. Todd White said he would look into it, but, so far, no answer.

There doesn't appear to be any potential targets for a bomb like that in Iraq. It could potentially be used on Taliban or al Qaeda hideouts in the caves along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, but there would be no need to use a stealth bomber there.
Unless maybe they were on the Pakistan side of the border.
So where would the military use a stealth bomber armed with a 30,000-pound bomb like this? Defense analysts say the most likely target for this bomb would be Iran's flagship nuclear facility in Natanz, which is both heavily fortified and deeply buried. "You'd use it on Natanz," said John Pike of "And you'd use it on a stealth bomber because you want it to be a surprise. And you put in an emergency funding request because you want to bomb quickly."

"It's kind of strange," Pike said. "It sends a signal that you are preparing to bomb Iran, and if you were actually going to bomb Iran I wouldn't think you would want to announce it like that."
But if you were planning on making one last attempt at negotiation before a military strick, you would want them to know that the strike would happen if the negotiations failed, just not exactly when and from where.
The MOP is a massive bomb -- 20 feet long and encased in 3.5 inch thick high-performance steel. It is designed to penetrate up to 200 feet underground before exploding.

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