Connecting The Dots To War

Following up my earlier post today, ABC News does a surprisingly decent bit of analysis when it takes a look into the $196 billion emergency fund request by the White House for the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  As it stands, there is a tucked away provision to fit stealth bombers with “Bunker Busters”, which when added to the nature of the US involved conflicts, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

The Bunker Busters, as the article points out, have no legitimate use in Iraq, and may have potential use in going after al Qaeda strongholds elsewhere, but in those cases, there would be no use for the stealth bombers to act as the delivery system.

What urgent need? The Pentagon referred questions on this to Central Command.

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.

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 GlobalSecurity.org. “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.”

From the GTL:

“No proof of any ill intentions”, you say? I might tend to agree if it weren’t for the fact the Bush Administration is, and has been, frothing at the mouth for some time over the notion of heading into Iran, who just ALSO happens to have vast oil fields (coincidence, I know). As was the case in the big Bush Administration “OOPS” known as the civil war in Iraq, the saber rattling is ratcheting up a notch publicly as well; the latest rhetoric out of Washington now escalating to the point where President Bush has us standing alone against the rest of the world again. This time, new “U.S. only” sanctions against Iran’s military are about to be announced — “They’re a bunch of terr’ists“, says President Bush:

Soccer Dad isn’t quite so sure, and is taking the less pessimistic approach that this might just be a little more saber rattling to get Iran to behave.  And to a degree, Glittering Eye would take this side:

But what about the timing? Timing schmiming. This idea has been bandied about since Tora Bora. That it shows up in a military appropriations bill, emergency or not, is more a measure of the persistence of the perception of the need than it is of the imminence of its use.

I continue to believe that we won’t be bombing or invading Iran any time soon which will disappoint members of two very disparate groups.

The first group is the “Bomb Iran Now” club, whose members will take the Administration’s reluctance to bomb as yet another sign of the Administration’s stupidity and fecklessness.

The second group is the Bush Derangement Syndrome folks for whom every current event is an illustration of the vileness of the Administration. I believe that at any given moment the card-carrying members of this hearty band are expecting jack-booted security officers to show up their doors or for yet another country to be bombed out of existence.

Still, the very appearance of this story is another way of sowing doubt amongst the Iranian regime. I’ve got to give credit to somebody for that.

But not everyone is willing to give the President the benefit of the doubt.  Over at Main and Central:

Earlier this year we were all focusing on the perceived requirement for three carrier battle groups to carry out an effective strike on Iran. Jeff seems to feel it could be done with two groups but agrees with me that the Persian Gulf would not be the place to park any of those groups while carrying out your latest pre-emptive war of aggression. He speculated that the primary responsibility for the strike would fall upon Air Force assets instead, and he makes a point.

Any attack would probably require a concentrated killing of communications and anti-air sites first. If there really is a reactor at Natanz busily churning out material for a nuclear weapon you’d want to protect it pretty well with missiles and guns, and the radars needed to direct them. The Air Force just has better tanker assets for this sort of intensive multi-sortie campaign. Remember, the “shock and awe” softening up on Iraq went on for about two weeks before we invaded, and they had no really effective defenses.

The Navy’s contribution could primarily consist of Tomahawk missiles in this phase. Then the Air Force could do their ground strike thing, and somewhere along in there, the B-2s could take out the apparently civilianized Natanz facility with the Massive Ordnance Penetrator.

And our batshit crazy war-mongering PNACers can get their woodies on because once again they will feel invigorated, and victorious, and viciously virile. They will have penetrated another country that wasn’t a real military threat.

Melissa McEwan asks, “Why do I get the feeling that Bush is far less interested in avoiding World War III than starting it?”  And Tristero has this to add:

In casue you’re wondering, Natanz is located below and more maps are available here. I can’t help but wonder how much money that raid would waste. There are tens of millions of ways that money could be better spent actually making the US secure. I’d be curious to know what our more military-savvy commenters think about such a mission, given that it is pretty much in the very center of the country and a mere 130 miles or so south of Tehran :

Also in the Iranian invasion camp, Attytood, Greatscat, and Prairie Weather.

As for me, it’s pretty simple.  Whether this is all just dog and pony show to look tough before Iran, or it is actually gearing up to launch military operations in the country is not particularly relevant.  The administration has proven one thing throughout its tenure, it can not be trusted to do either.  There has not been the sufficient trust built between the governing and the governed to allow us the luxury to even contemplate that this is little more than saber rattling.  They have shown on multiple occasions that they are irresponsible and dangerous, and to even give them the capability to launch a strike of this nature is unacceptable.

But so go the drums of war.

4 Responses to “Connecting The Dots To War”

  1. Wow, I can hear the drumbeat from here.

  2. Susan says:

    I don’t think they will bomb Iran either, but this is definitely warmongering talk, and that in and of itself is evil and stupid.

  3. War Drum beat is most certainly loud, Mike.

    And I agree with you, the warmongering is evil and stupid no matter how realistic it is, though I’m not quite so quick to dismiss the idea that we’ll drop bombs. The groundwork has largely been laid (thanks in part for your favorite hawkish Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton), and what is scarier is that many experts and insiders believe that military action in Iran is very likely to happen within the next eight to ten months… now that bit of info started popping up a couple months ago, so now we are looking more at a time line of 8-6, though it would be a little too naive for Bush to not try and take the full privelege of what he has left in office, and I’m not ruling military action out until January 20th, 2009.

    Andif the wrong person gets elected to take his place (he says with in an ominous Cheney impersonation), we could, uh, see (ahem) military action against Iran even AFTER the presidency has changed hands.

  4. Hey now, don’t forget the man who would caucus with the Dems…Joe LIEberman.

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