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If they bomb Iran nuclear facilities, they will use this:

U.S. Tests 15-Ton Bunker Buster

Global Security Newswire

WASHINGTON -- In a tunnel under the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, the U.S. military this month conducted the first test detonation of a massive bomb designed to crack hardened bunkers.

At the helm of the $30 million project to develop what the Defense Department calls the Massive Ordnance Penetrator is the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, a Pentagon branch devoted to countering threats from weapons of mass destruction.

The 30,000-pound bomb could be deployed against the type of underground facilities in which Iran is engaged in uranium-enrichment work...

Test drops from a B-52 long-range bomber are planned to start late in 2007.  The Air Force is also proceeding with work to shoehorn the enormous bomb into the B-2 stealth bomber.

See also : Independent Online Edition > Americas

The Pentagon wants to upgrade its fleet of stealth bombers so that they can deliver 30-tonne, satellite-guided bombs. The planes would be based on the British Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia where hangars are being specially upgraded. These "bunker-buster" bombs are six times bigger than anything used by the air force and designed to destroy weapons of mass destruction facilities underground. Diego Garcia is also much closer to Iran than Missouri, where the bombers are based.

I think they write 30-tonne when it is 30,000 lbs (almost 15 ton). The biggest existing bunker-buster, the GBU-28 weighs 5,000 lbs, so six times this is 30,000 lbs .

However if the Iranians manage to sink an American aircraft carrier in retalitation, then everything is possible, including nukes.

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Thu Oct 25th, 2007 at 12:19:32 PM EST
The other follow-on effects will likely be an Iranian attack in Iraq, with Iran supported by their many allies in the Iraqi government and among the militias. 160K US soldiers, essentially hostage to the whims of a man with a messianic complex.

Not that there's any real effective political power base in the US concerned with getting those 160K men and women out of there before the shit hits the fans.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Thu Oct 25th, 2007 at 12:45:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
in the latest supplemental 'defense' budget there is some $80 million designated to "upgrade" the B-1s to handle these super-bunker-busters (be they 30 ton or 15 ton, I don't know, but 30 tons would be a helluva payload for anything like a B-1).

And, as stated in several comments above, if the U.S. Navy takes severe damage, tactical nukes will be used to cover their retreat. Same goes for a drastic change in the security situation for the U.S. troops in Iraq. Then it won't be "first use", however much it will still be outrageous and, long term, self-defeating.

However, I don't think that we're quite there yet. It's possible that the Condi faction is running delaying tactics in a sense. Make it seem like they're applying pressure, which will take some amount of time to be deemed inadequate.

And here's an even greater leap into the hypothetical, based on a question: What does China use to pay Iran for oil? If it's U.S. dollars, which they have in great abundance, then blocking financial deals back into the Western financial world might create quite an obstacle to use of those dollars. I don't know about you, but, if I'm a farmer in South Africa, selling grain to Iran, I'm not particularly interested in dollars as payment nowadays. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are not likely to launder dollars for Iran, either. Maybe these new sanctions are actually based on RealPolitik calculations, rather than the adolescent dreams of our supreme Narcissist-in-chief.

paul spencer

by paul spencer (spencerinthegorge AT yahoo DOT com) on Thu Oct 25th, 2007 at 12:56:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In fact, they plan to "upgrade" B2 stealth bombers to carry these bunker-busters (see redstar's comment). In that case, that could mean they have shifted their plans from a massive bombing campaign to a limited strike made by stealth bombers.

But it is also possible that they haven't got the right weapons yet...

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Thu Oct 25th, 2007 at 01:13:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Once again, I agree with you. Condi's ploys could also be seen as delaying tactics in the sense of keeping the action going on that front, while preparations are made for this new bombing strategy.

paul spencer
by paul spencer (spencerinthegorge AT yahoo DOT com) on Thu Oct 25th, 2007 at 01:27:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]