Leon Panetta revealed to the Wall Street Journal that the U.S.’ most powerful bunker buster has failed tests designed to prove it could penetrate and destroy Iran’s most hardened nuclear facility in Fordow:
Pentagon war planners have concluded that their largest conventional bomb isn’t yet capable of destroying Iran’s most heavily fortified underground facilities, and are stepping up efforts to make it more powerful, according to U.S. officials briefed on the plan.
…But initial tests indicated that the bomb, as currently configured, wouldn’t be capable of destroying some of Iran’s facilities…
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal Thursday, acknowledged the bomb’s shortcomings against some of Iran’s deepest bunkers. He said more development work would be done and that he expected the bomb to be ready to take on the deepest bunkers soon.
But never fear, the boys in the back room are devising ever larger and more destructive capability for the 30,000-lb. weapon. They spent $330-million for 20 of these babies. They say they need another $80-million. Eventually, they promise to get it right:
Doubts about the MOP’s effectiveness prompted the Pentagon this month to secretly submit a request to Congress for funding to enhance the bomb’s ability to penetrate deeper into rock, concrete and steel before exploding, the officials said.
In the meantime, Israel, which doesn’t yet have our most lethal variety of bunker buster, pursues its own plans to attack Iran. Reuven Pedatzur, one of the leading analysts of Israel’s military air capability, warns in a deliciously ironic Haaretz column that if the U.S. doesn’t yet have a weapon capable of knocking out Iran’s most impenetrable facilities, Israel has no business trying to do this with even less capable weaponry:
If Israeli Air Force planes succeed in reaching the targets and in dropping bombs on them with great accuracy, but they are nevertheless not destroyed, this would pose questions about the justification of a military operation…
It is doubtful whether the price we would pay – which would find expression in the form of an Iranian response that could lead to a regional conflict, barrages of missiles and rockets from the north and the south, international pressure on Israel, waves of terror against Jewish targets around the world and various other negative repercussions – would justify the strike.
The Washington Post’s Walter Pincus adds a few other caveats that should make policymakers in Tel Aviv and Washington think and think again about what they’re planning. He mentions that the Israelis don’t have enough refueling capability to cover the needs of their planes for a 2,000 mile total round trip journey in attacking Iran. The columnist lists six major Iranian target sites for attack and notes how much more complicated such strikes would be than the previously successful ones against Saddam’s reactor and Syria’s.
You are basing your theory’s on what you read on the MSM ? a bit precarious i would say.
As for Reuven Pedatzur “one of the leading analysts of Israel’s military air capability” as you described him, i have two comments:
1. Being a graduate of the IAF academy and a fighter pilot during the 70’s, doesn’t make you an expert. He had been out of the loop for so long, that if he would find himself inside an A4 cockpit he wouldn’t recognize it, let alone understand how to operate its weapons systems.
2. He was the one who demonstrated great abilities stating that the Iron Dome would never be able to successfully intercept short range rockets like the Qassam (Title of his nonsense was “Iron Dome Helpless Against Qassam published Dec. 2008 in Haaretz”)
so i wouldn’t base anything on the opinion and understanding of this self defined Air Force abilities expert.
Richard Silverstein says
I didn’t say he was a pilot able to fly Israel’s current military airplanes. I said he was one of Israel’s leading experts on its military air capabilities. And so he is. As for Iron Dome, as Alex Fishman notes in Yediot today, how will it protect against those 200,000 missiles Maj Gen. Kochavi noted were supposedly pointing at Israel. How many of them will it hit once Iran counterattacks along with its allies?
You miss the point, the Point is that Reuven Pedatzur is not familiar with current armaments used by the IAF. When he determines something would work or fail, it’s based on his interpretation not on his knowledge.
And his Interpretation is wrong, as the 85% success ration of the Iron Dome proves.
As for Alex Fishman’s, Iron Dome was never meant to intercept 200,000 rockets. Iron Dome was designed to be a part of a system providing defense to strategic locations, allowing the IDF to finish recruiting it’s reserve units and moving them forward. I am willing to bet you that if the Hamas will fire rockets from Gaza as a retaliation to an Israeli attack against Iran, it will take the IDF less then a day to push back from the strip border to the Egyptian border, syria will be thrown back to the stone age within 3 days, and the same goes to Lebanon.
Shock and Awe baby, something we learned from you.
Richard Silverstein says
Your premise is that no one who isn’t currently serving in the military can know his country’s military capability. It’s nonsense. Stop insulting our intelligence.
“Shock & awe” failed miserably buster. And it will fail again. Because of you hypertestosterone fueled Israeli warriors will get your comeuppance. I have very little patience for the nonsense you peddle.
“Shock & awe” failed miserably buster. ?
Where at, shangri la ?
Shock and Awe is what got US Armed Forces from one side of Iraq to the other in 3 weeks, with only 172 dead soldiers. I would argue it’s pretty good, considering the Geographic size and the Size of the opponent army.
The surge that came later, which is a very restrained version of S&W, was very successful to, and allowed you guys to leave Iraq.
As for your premise, that someone who doesn’t serve can know his country’s military capability…let me ask you, do you know what your country’s military is capable of ? neither does Pedatzur. It take’s more then being a pilot to understand the global picture.
Richard Silverstein says
Yup, Shock & Awe dislodged Saddam & got us into a world of trouble. 172 dead soldiers? Try over 4,000. You count the first 3 weeks & I count the rest of the mayhem that followed which you conveniently leave out. Would you in yr right mind be willing to say that our Occupation of Iraq has succeeded or will succeed in the long run? Wanna place any bets on what will be the aftermath after we’re outa there for any length of time?
I am not a tenured university professor whose academic specialty is Israeli military air capabilities (nor are you I presume). But Pedatzur is. Just because your politics diverge from his you divert from the political difference into an attack upon his credentials. His are far more credible than yrs btw. And the idea that you understand “the global picture” is laughable.
Shock & Awe has it uses, what got the US into Iraq wasn’t S&W, it was the us government. Blaming the strategy used to defeat the Iraqi army, in the mess created – in your opinion – by the US government is mixing apples with bananas.
The questions is would S&W be useful if Israel decided to take
the Gaza strip in order to stop Hamas firing rockets as a retaliation against an Israeli attack on the Iranian nuclear site’s, the answer is yes.
Pedatzur doesn’t specialize in Israeli military air capabilities, he has a Phd in political science from TAU. He’s a welcome analyst in the Israeli MSM because he flew for the IAF 40 years ago, and his analysis is often wrong.
Richard Silverstein says
Pedatzur is Haaretz’s “military correspondent,” not it’s political correspondent. Haaretz doesn’t make a habit of employing people outside their professional expertise.
Amazon lists him as a co-author of this:
Rearming Israel: Defense Procurement Through the 1990s (Jcss Study)
And I haven’t even reviewed his Hebrew language oeuvre. You might want to reassess yr claims.
As for his analysis being often wrong, I bet he’s wrong less than you are.
So Pedhatzur co-authored 1 book in English and published another one by himself in Hebrew, and that’s make him an expert ?
Please compare that to any American scholar on the subject you want.
Richard Silverstein says
As usual, not quite correct. This is his Wikipedia article (which is by no means definitive):
Rearming Israel – Defense Procurement Through the 1990s, Westview Press, 1991, יחד עם אהרון קליימן.
מערכת החץ וההגנה האקטיבית נגד טילים בליסטיים : אתגרים ושאלות, המרכז למחקרים אסטרטגיים, אוניברסיטת תל אביב, 1993.
ניצחון המבוכה : מדיניות ממשלת אשכול בשטחים לאחר מלחמת ששת הימים, יד טבנקין, 1996.
So at least 3 books that we know of from the 90s, plus undoubtedly many more scholarly articles, not to mention scores, if not hundreds of articles published in Haaretz over the yrs. As I said, his credentials are a lot more solid than yours.
You conveniently omit that there was NO Iraqi army providing any resistance at all in 2003. They had all but disappeared, turning their coats and hiding amid the civilian population.
As for your ‘Shock and Awe BABY’… Try 100’s of thousands of dead civilians, BABY. Is that an achievement you admire and think is worth gloating about?
The Reason there was NO resistance was S&W.
Size wide the Iraqi armed forces were ranked within the biggest 10 army’s of the world pre 2003.
I am sorry for every civilian who found himself dead. unfortunately it’s always the people who pay for the stupidity of their governments.
When you would be able to come with another method of solving escalated conflicts, please let everyone know. for the time being as long as there are wars civilians would die.
Richard Silverstein says
If our 4,000+ dead in Iraq is a sign of “NO resistance,” what would real resistance have looked like. Once again, you focus on 3 weeks while I focus on 8 years.
And nah, you’re not sorry for civilian deaths. If you’re Israeli, no Israeli (at least not ones w beliefs like your) ever is.
Conflicts only escalate when the side thinking it has most to gain escalates to war. WHich is what Bush did & what Barak & Bibi plan to do. Solutions to the conflict w Iran are suggested every day including a reasonable one in this week’s Times. But the hawks don’t want any solution short of dominance, which they’ll never achieve even w. the use of military force.
S&W wasn’t used in Iraq the entire 8 years, hence you focusing on the 8 years and not the 3 weeks is irrelevant.
S&W is a military doctrine based on the use of overwhelming power, dominant battlefield awareness, dominant maneuvers, and spectacular displays of force to paralyze an adversary’s perception of the battlefield and destroy its will to fight.
you can’t judge the doctrine based on the 8 years, as the doctrine didn’t determined the policies of the US armed forces in Iraq throughout the 8 years.
Don’t tell me what i am and what i am not. If i say i am sorry, i am. don’t be so arrogant as to think that you know me, or my opinions.
as for your solution to the current issues in the middle east…Your perception was tested not that long ago, and failed, have you learned nothing from the history of US policy ? diplomacy failed in preventing N. Korea from achieving nuclear weapons. why do you think it would gain success with Iran, what indication you have ?
Richard Silverstein says
So you’re saying Shock & Awe lasts 3 wks & we can’t or won’t sustain it beyond that? And surely we won’t or can’t do anything different when attacking Iran. So that once the Shock & Awe wears off in Iran we’ll have the same level of resistance against Israeli aggression with somewhhat similar level of violence directed at the aggressors. Something like the pain Hezbollah inflicted which drove Israel from southern Lebanon in 2000? Is that about right?
Shock & Awe in no way paralyzed anybody in Iraq. Iraq survived Shock & Awe and lived to exact a very high price on those who were arrogant enough to think that all their technology & weapons could cow Iraq into submission. The same will happen to you & yr military adventurists who think they’re going to teach anybody a lesson. The lesson will be yours when your nose is bloodied. The blood may not be shed immediately. But over time there will be a price paid. But don’t let me spoil that delusion of yours. You go right ahead with your plans for SHock & Awe & return here about a yr after it’s over & we’ll calculate the ultimate costs.
I don’t know you nor do I want to. And I’ll tell you whatever I like. If you don’t like it no one asked you to be here & you can take your leave any time you wish.
Diplomacy? Tried in N. Korea? What are you smokin’? Bush never tried negotiation in any situation during his entire 8 yr tenure. Bush abandoned Bill Clinton’s policy of engagement with the N. Koreans & this led eventually to N. Korea going it alone.
Also Iran is a massive country with roughly four times the population of Iraq. I was reading somewhere that it has been estimated that the US would have to put a million men in the field to invade Iran. This would be into a geographically demanding landscape and in the face of massive resistance. When you have to take dirt with boots on the ground it gets bloody. It becomes more of a level playing field.
איש חכם says
אתה איש טיפש. אחד מהטיפשים שראיתי.
Richard Silverstein says
This is not just a dumb comment lacking any argument or substance, but violates the comment rules.
Since absolutely no one in the MSM ever discusses the potential US military losses, (at the risk of tiresomely repeating myself) please consider the following:
On various sites, several posters with military-technology knowledge have indicated that Iran possesses anti-ship missiles for which the US Navy HAS NO DEFENCE and if that is correct, then the US getting a carrier group out of harm’s way in the Persian Gulf (a “pond” in terms of anti-ship weapons) would be necessary as a prelude to an attack that would involve Iranian retaliation. Even with the carrier groups removed, all US ships in the Gulf, naval or civilian, would face destruction and the massive loss of lives, perhaps into the thousands.
For anyone doubting the deadliness of anti-ship missiles, please be reminded of the necessity of the British navy having to withdraw from the coast of Argentina when they were struck by missiles for which they had no defence – the Argentinians had five Exocets and sank two ships – the Iranians have thousands of them.
As this appears to be the definitive article re the Iranian anti-ship missile capability, I recommend it for its careful analysis:
The Iranians can’t compete with the US or Israeli military in the air, so they have focused their resources where they can do the most damage and that damage in the Gulf could exceed the casualties of Iraq and Afghanistan combined if a carrier group was trapped in the Gulf.
It is not just Exocet or similar subsonic type missiles. The Iranians have supersonic missiles some of which are capable of Mach 3. Launched from multiple platforms from the background of the mountainous Iranian coast the warning time would be minutes. They have a range of over 150kms which covers the Straits of Hormuz (30km to 60km width) and much of the Gulf of Oman. Also these missiles have been designed to confuse close in weapon systems. I would guess under ideal conditions one of these things could be stopped but wave after wave of them I doubt very much.
The Argentineans sank the HMS Sheffield which was hit by an Exocet while on picket duty but the warhead did not explode – the ship was destroyed by the kinetic energy of the missile and the missile fuel and resulting fire. The Atlantic Conveyer was hit and destroyed and HMS Glamorgan was hit in the stern (helicopter hanger) off the coast of the Falkland Islands after being hit by a land based Exocet. The threat was such that the main most critical ships were moved to the other side of the Islands to minimise the threat.
Also it is believed that the Iranians have cavitating torpedoes with underwater speeds of over 200knots. Again these can be launched from a range of platforms including small and silent subs that have been designed to operate in shallow waters. In addition to this it is rumoured that the Iranians have advanced passive radar systems anti aircraft and anti missile capability. I doubt if anyone could ‘sneak up’ on Iran.
The conflicts against Iraq were achieved against a degraded (hate that word) economy and military and a military that probably had little stomach for a fight in the second Gulf war. The other factor that many of the tubby armchair generals and seal wannabes do not consider is the economic flow on effects. As soon as a tanker or any other commercial ship is hit then Lloyds of London will withdraw insurance cover and all commercial shipping will stop. This will then spike oil prices, maybe to well over $200 per barrel. Mr Tubby armchair warrior will probably not enjoy the spiking petrol prices. This will in turn collapse the tepid economic recovery.
Attacking Iran will be a profoundly stupid course of action and will let lose the genie from bottle. The Iranians will fight a costly and bloody asymmetrical war. A conflict could last months, maybe years, and if it spreads beyond the Middle East it could become a global conflict, or a real terror war as opposed to the imaginary one.
Steve Franklin says
I served in the early 90’s on the USS George Washington CVN-73 in an F-14 fighter squadron VF-143. I maintained the ejection seat systems. I wasn’t as concerned back then when we were in the Persion Gulf as I was very comfortable with not only our ships own defensive systems but with the defensive systems of our protective battle group as well. We practiced many defensive drills along the way as we crossed the atlantic to the gulf. The technological capabilities back then by any adversaries to inflict real harm to our carrier was minimal. I would not want to be in a carrier battle group today with the current threats of war with Iran especially hearing about how much technology Iran has received from China and Russia and who knows who else over the last 10 years or so. I think they could put a serious hurting on us and that a war with Iran would cost us a very heavy toll both in lives and in financial devestation. I agree with a previous commentor that Iran has focused their time, energy, and finances on building a land based defensive capability knowing that any attack on them would start as an air campaign first before any ground campaign. They have always seen the US as a threat in the air campaign capability and just due to logistics alone would require our heavy use of carriers to sustain an air superiority over Iran. To that I have no doubt that they would have purchased the latest greatest missles to get through our defensive net to get to the ultimate target of the carrier. As good as a defensive system we may have I believe if they launched an over whelming number of surface to surface anti-ship missles they only need a small percentage to get through to achieve the desired result of disabling our carrier such as the flight deck. Damaged flight deck means no launching and recovery of aircraft, no refueling capabilities, mass casulties,ect. If they have that many missiles as claimed by people I just don’t see us having the capability to shipborne defend against all of them. I suspect our defensive capabilities have gotten better since 1993 when I served but I am not confident to the level that they have achieved defensive capabilities against a massive number of missile threats all inbound at once. It has to be a scary time for any sailor serving on a ship out there in the persion gulf carrying out the orders of our commanding officers without regard to the politics side. As a sailor your job is to due the task at hand and it is the leaders responsibility to worry about the politics and abilities to carry out the mission orders. I am of the opinion we need to stay out of this and let Israel muddle through this on their own. If they are banking on our support in their decision making process as to attack or not risk versus reward we have a tremendous risk with very little reward and we don’t need to be a part of ths escalation. Nobody will win on this issue with Iran and everybody incuding Iran stands to lose innocent lives. WW3 is not anything any of us want to start as it will be the uglies war of all of them as it is no doubt in my mind we will see nuclear response as a part of this battle.
Interesting comments. Enjoyed reading. The whole thing could spiral out of control.
All though of discussing the legality or morality of this proposed war has been abandoned.
The world has become so depraved that it bases its decision on the morality of a war solely on winnability?
Might is right?
It is ok to murder someone if you are sure you can get away with it?
America has lost its way. Israel also.
Do the israle’s even have a plane that can carry 30,000 lb bomb
Richard Silverstein says
No, they don’t. They’d need a B-52.
Only the American’s could drop such a large bomb using a B2.