‘Two B-2s could take out Iran’s nuclear assets’
By Khalid Hasan
WASHINGTON: Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions will be history by the time US President George W Bush leaves office, said a report published here.
Veteran foreign correspondent Arnaud de Borchgrave, writing for the United Press International, quotes a “prominent neo-con” with good White House and Department of Defence contacts, as the source of the assertion. Asked what would the US do if sanctions did not make Iran turn away from its nuclear target, the source replied, “B-2s. Two of them could do the job in a single strike against multiple targets.”
De Borchgrave writes in an amused vein, “So we looked up B-2s. The US Air Force only has 21 of them. Perhaps price had something to do with it. They came in at $2.2 billion a copy. But they can carry enough ordnance to make Iranians nostalgic for the Shah and his role as the free world’s gendarme in charge of the West’s oil supplies in the Gulf. These stealthy bombers have one major drawback in the Persian magic carpet mode. They can only attack 16 targets simultaneously; one short of the 17 underground nuclear facilities pinned red on Mossad’s target-rich PowerPoint presentations to the political leadership. Presumably, that’s why two B-2s would be required.”
De Borchgrave points out that most of Iran’s secret nuclear installations are not only underground, but also close to population centres. “The first pictures of a B-2 raid would be dead women and children on al-Jazeera television newscasts, now as globally ubiquitous as CNN and FOX. The collateral damage would then rival Abu Ghraib’s devastating impact on America’s good name. The perceived American indifference over the loss of Arab lives would now be seen as spreading to another Muslim country,” he writes. The neo-con informant told the correspondent that there is “absolutely no way” Bush will accommodate to an Iranian nuke or two, the way he blinked first with North Korea. Bush uncompromising view of the Iranian nuclear danger and his determination to prevent it by force of two B-2s if necessary is “as solid as his resolve to rid Iraq of Saddam Hussein,” he said.
According to de Borchgrave, “This is also the British assessment of Bush’s intentions against Iran, a power whose president has vowed to wipe Israel off the map. Today (April 3, 2006), senior British officials met with defence and intelligence chiefs to assess the consequences of air strikes against Iran - as well as European and global repercussions. Neo-cons are unfazed by the fact that Iran is an ancient civilisation of 70 million people with retaliatory assets that range from a choke-hold on the world’s most important oil route in the Strait of Hormuz, to an anti-US Shiite coalition in Iraq with two private militias, funded and armed by Iran, to terrorist groups throughout the Middle East that have a global reach. Iran is also a power that not only resisted an Iraqi invasion, but fought Saddam Hussein’s legions to a standstill in an eight-year-war of attrition that killed about 1 million soldiers on both sides. If, as Bush has indicated, US troops were still in Iraq in 2009 under the next president, Tehran, in retaliatory animus, would pull out all the stops to ensure a Vietnam-like send-off for remaining US forces in Iraq. For the time being, Tehran is delighted to keep US troops in Iraq as protective cover for Iran as it consolidates its influence throughout 60 percent of the country.”