By Alan Caruba
When I was a teenager, I made a lot of money as a magician, entertaining at parties. At Ted Collins Magic Mecca I could buy the wonderful apparatus that existed for the sole purpose of fooling people who, it turned out, loved to be fooled.
Fooling people is a full-time occupation for those seeking to avoid war or planning to engage in one. Saddam Hussein believed that if the world thought he had weapons of mass destruction, Iraq would be safe from attack. He successfully deceived everyone, but it also led people to conclude he could not be left to use them.
Earlier, on Yom Kippur 1973, while Israelis were worshipping during the holiest day of Judaism, Egypt and Syria used deception to begin a fourth Arab-Israeli war that ended in defeat for both of them.
Since its inception, Israel has had to deal with Muslims intent on destroying the nation and its people. Now they are faced with what is often called “an existential” threat from Iran, but there is nothing existential about it, nor is it Israel’s problem alone.
The long quest for nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them is nearing fulfillment for the Iranians and they have never made it a secret that they intend to attack Israel. So Israel and to some extent America has had to work the magic needed to deter Iran from acquiring nukes and the deception needed to eliminate its capacity to ever use them.
With the exception of North Korea, it is the Middle East that threatens the rest of the world with its combination of Islamic fanaticism and nuclear capabilities. The nukes that already exist in Pakistan must not be allowed to fall into the hands of the Taliban that threaten both that nation and Afghanistan. Al Qaeda continues to issue threats against Europe. Here in the United States Islamic terrorism cells have been disrupted.
A recent story on the DEBKAfile, an Israeli news agency, reported “US giant bunker-buster bomb project rushed since Iran’s Qom site discovered.” The story said that “The Pentagon has brought forward to December 2009 the target-date for producing the first 15-ton super bunker-buster bomb (GBU-57A/B) Massive Ordinance Penetrator, which can reach a depth of 60.09 meters underground before exploding.”
The article went on to say that “DEBKAfile’s military sources report that top defense agencies and air force units were also working against the clock to adapt the bay of a B2a Stealth bomber for carrying and delivering the bomb”, adding that “Congress has since quietly inserted the necessary funding in the 2009 budget.”
The magician in me thinks this story was intended to be read in Tehran. Monitoring Israeli and other news media and vice-versa is an essential element of an intelligence operation.
Here, though, is where it gets very interesting. As reported by GlobalSecurity.org, “A pair of chartered Airbus A310 transport aircraft carrying 5,000-lb GBU-28 bunker buster bombs staged through Scotland’s Prestwick International Airport outside Glasgow on 22 July 2006 to refuel and give the crew a rest before continuing to deliver the bombs to Israel. At least two more flights were anticipated before mid-August.”
Assuming the accuracy of the report, Israel by 2006 already has bunker-buster bombs.
However, on January 11, 2009, in the last weeks of the Bush administration, Reuters reported that “President Bush deflected a secret request by Israel last year for specialized bunker-busting bombs it wanted for an attack on Iran’s main nuclear complex and told the Israelis that he had authorized new covert action intended to sabotage Iran’s suspected effort to develop nuclear weapons, according to senior American and foreign officials.”
So, what is it? Does Israel already have bunker-buster bombs or is the United States gearing up for its own possible attack? Or both?
By August 2009, Reuters reported that “The Pentagon is seeking to speed deployment of an ultra-large bunker-buster bomb on the most advanced U.S. bomber as soon as July 2010, the Air Force said on Sunday, amid concerns over perceived nuclear threats from North Korea and Iran.” Is it December 2009 or July 2010?
Iranian intelligence officers have to wonder and that is the magic of a first strike.
Israel has already conducted long-range airborne exercises to test its ability to deliver these bombs to Iran’s sites, nor does Israel need U.S. permission to over-fly Iraq. It can do so with the blessing of Saudi Arabia, no friend of Iran.
Iran has still more to worry about. During a September 22nd military celebration, it lost its only AWAC, early warming aircraft when another jet crashed into it. Although it has contracted with the Russians to acquire surface-to-air missiles to protect its nuclear sites, there is some question when they will be delivered, if ever.
All these reports, available with any Google search, conflict in some way and all could be part of an elaborate deception to leave Iran unable to respond to an attack on its nuclear facilities.
The same deception that Iran has practiced for years in order to secure the time necessary to join the nuclear club of nations has been practiced against it as regards the availability of bunker-buster bombs.
Like the magician who deftly maneuvers his audience to watch his right hand, the left one is acquiring the cards or doves to surprise that audience.
It is not likely to deter Iran, but it is likely to surprise Iran some morning when its nuclear facilities are destroyed.
Twice the Israelis have destroyed nuclear facilities, once in Iraq in the 1980s and, more recently, in Syria. The Iranians are deceiving themselves if they think theirs are not marked for destruction.
Editor's Note: A NewsMax story confirms that the Saudis, as I suggested, will grant the Israelis permission to use their air space to attack Iranian nuclear facilities. You read it here first!