Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Bush Administration Seeks Funds for Bunker Busters

CQ Today reported today, “Buried in the $196.4 billion supplemental war spending proposal that Bush submitted to Congress on Oct. 22 is a request for $88 million to modify B-2 bombers so they can drop a Massive Ordnance Penetrator, or MOP, a conventional bomb still in development that is the most powerful weapon designed to destroy targets deep underground. A White House summary accompanying the supplemental spending proposal said the request for money to modify ­B-2s to carry the bombs came in response to ‘an urgent operational need from theater commanders.’ The summary provided no further details. The White House and the Air Force, in response to queries, did not provide additional clarification.”

According to defense contractors developing the weapon and its delivery system (Boeing Co. and Northrup Grumman, respectively), it is meant for use against the kinds of hard and deeply buried targets found in Iran and North Korea. The article goes on to state concerns expressed by some members of Congress such as Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) and Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) that this funding request could signify preparations for a military strike on Iran.

To put this in perspective, though, the US already has both nuclear and conventional “bunker busting” capability in its vast arsenal, including the B61 Mod 11 "earth-penetrator" that was deployed in the mid-1990s and the Guided Bomb Unit 28 that was used by the US against at least two targets in Dessert Storm, to name two. The US also sold 100 GBU-28 to Israel in April 2005 and transferred in July 2006, the Israeli military has identified Iran and Syria as targets of this “bunker-busting” conventional technology.

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