October 7, 2009
The Pentagon has put a new weapon on the fast-track. The Massive Ordnance Penetrator is a 30,000-pound bomb designed to hit targets buried 200 feet below ground. Earlier this year, the Pentagon comptroller sent a request to shift funds to the House and Senate Appropriations and Armed Services Committees in order to fast forward the development and procurement of the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, or MOP, according to ABC News. The notification was included in a 93-page “reprogramming” request that included hundreds of items.
||Boeing employees proudly display the Massive Ordnance Penetrator.
See the Pentagon memo here.
The comptroller said the Pentagon planned to spend $19.1 million to procure four of the bombs, $28.3 million to accelerate the bomb’s “development and testing”, and $21 million to accelerate the integration of the bomb onto B-2 stealth bombers.
The Air Force 708th Armament Systems Group at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida awarded a $51.9 million contract on October 2 to the Boeing Co. in St. Louis to integrate the Massive Ordnance Penetrator on a B-2 stealth bomber, the Military & Aero website reported on October 4.
“The Department has an Urgent Operational Need (UON) for the capability to strike hard and deeply buried targets in high threat environments. The MOP is the weapon of choice to meet the requirements of the UON.” It further states that the request is endorsed by Pacific Command (which has responsibility over North Korea) and Central Command (which has responsibility over Iran),” the notification states.
“This is not the kind of weapon that would be particularly useful in Iraq or Afghanistan, but it is ideally suited to hit deeply buried nuclear facilities such as Natanz or Qom in Iran,” ABC notes.
“A deep underground tunnel facility in a rock geology poses a significant challenge for non-nuclear weapons. Such a target is difficult to penetrate, except possibly near an adit, and the likelihood of damaging critical functional components deep within the facility from an energy release at the adit is low. Past test experience has shown that 2,000 lb. penetrators carrying 500 lbs. of high explosive are relatively ineffective against tunnels, even when skipped directly into the tunnel entrance,” explains GlobalSecurity.
MOP contains more than 5,300 pounds of conventional explosives inside of a 20.5-foot-long steel enclosure. The weapon is said to be able to penetrate up to about 60 feet of dirt and concrete, the Defense Daily reported on December 4, 2006.
The Pentagon has moved the MOP to the fast track because the Iran attack plan is now operational and will probably be carried out before the end of the year.
The corporate media is now gearing up for an attack by manufacturing census in much the same way they did in the lead-up to the devastating mass murder campaign on Iraq that ultimately resulted in more than a million dead Iraqis. “A majority of Americans are skeptical that diplomacy with Iran will succeed and say the U.S. should use military action if necessary to prevent the Iranian government from developing a nuclear weapon,” Bloomberg reported on October 6. “A Pew Research Center for the People & the Press survey released today found 61 percent of Americans would support a military strike. Twenty-four percent said it is more important to avoid conflict even if that means Iran will end up building nuclear arms.”
Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction, as the government and the corporate media claimed, and Iran is not developing nuclear weapons. In September, the U.S. intelligence community told the White House that Iran has not restarted its nuclear-weapons development program. Also in September, the head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, Mohamed ElBaradei, denied Israeli accusations that he has withheld information about Iran’s nuclear progress. Since 2003, the International Atomic Energy Agency has repeatedly stated that it has found no evidence that Iran is developing nuclear weapons.
Moreover, as Juan Cole notes, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei issued a fatwa in 2005 that states no Islamic state may possess or use atomic weapons because they kill masses of innocent civilians when used, which is contrary to the Islamic law of war, which forbids killing innocent non-combatants.
The only state in the Middle East that has nuclear weapons is Israel.
“Those who insist that Iran is trying to get a bomb have a difficult time explaining why Khamenei forbids it as un-Islamic and why the president and others all deny it. It is possible that they are lying, but their denials at least have to be noted and analyzed. The skeptics also have to explain away why the 16 US intelligence agencies say after exhaustive espionage and investigation that there is no weapons program now and that there hasn’t been one for some time,” Cole writes.
None of these arguments matter to the global elite because they are determined to reduce Iran to a pile of smoldering rubble much the same way Iraq was reduced. After the Pentagon gets a green light and loads up its stealth bombers with MOPs and other munitions, the destruction will not be limited to Natanz and Qom and Iran’s illusory nuclear weapons program. Iran’s infrastructure will be targeted. Iran’s non-existent nuclear weapons program is merely an excuse for a larger objective — the wholesale destruction of Iranian society and civilization.
Barack Obama rules out cutting troops in Afghanistan
US President Barack Obama has ruled out cutting the number of troops deployed in Afghanistan or turning the war into a counter-terror campaign.
Published: 9:47AM BST 07 Oct 2009
President Barack Obama did not signal whether he is prepared to send more troops to Afghanistan Photo: AP
In comments to congressmen during a meeting on America’s Afghan strategy late on Tuesday night, Mr Obama did not signal whether he is prepared to send more troops to the war zone, either the 40,000 his top commander wants or a smaller build up.
But he made clear he does not favour restricting the campaign to air strikes and counter-terrorism efforts.
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Leaders from both parties in the House of Representatives and the Senate held a 90-minute discussion with Mr Obama, with Republicans pushing his to follow the advice of his military commanders and Democrats saying he should not be rushed.
His top commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, has warned that more troops are needed to right the war, perhaps up to 40,000 more. Mr Obama already has added 21,000 US troops this year, raising the total to 68,000.
Mr Obama also gave no timetable for a decision, which prompted at least one pointed exchange. Senator John McCain told Mr Obama that he should not move at a “leisurely pace”.
That comment later drew a sharp response from Mr Obama, who said no one felt more urgency than he did about the war, and there would not be nothing leisurely about it.
Mr Obama may be considering a more modest buildup of troops, closer to 10,000 than 40,000, according to Republican and Democratic congressional aides. But White House aides said no such decision has been made.
The president insisted that he will decide on troops after settling on the strategy ahead. He told lawmakers he will be deliberate and also show urgency.
Mr Obama is examining how to move ahead with a worsening war that has claimed nearly 800 US lives and sapped American patience at home. The war was launched after the September 11 attacks on the US in 2001, to remove Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers and rid al-Qaeda of a home base from which to launch attacks.
Mr Obama said before the meeting that al-Qaeda had “lost operational capacity” as a result of the drone strikes that have targeted its leaders in Pakistan.
Natro meanwhile said on Tuesday it will step up efforts to train local Afghan forces in the coming weeks.