The United States has been supplying Israel with 5,000-lb. "bunker buster" bombs, apparently since 2009, Newsweek magazine reported earlier this week. The report has raised suspicion that Israel might be preparing to strike nuclear facilities in Iran.
Bunker-busters can penetrate up to seven feet of reinforced concrete. The U.S. used them to great effect against Iraqi positions in both Persian Gulf wars.
George W. Bush's administration reportedly almost sold a shipment of the bombs to Israel, but stopped short fearing Israel might interpret the sale as an okay to attack Iran. Bush certainly did not want Iran dragged into a fight with U.S. troops to the west and east of there in Iraq and Afghanistan.
News of the bomb transfer may help President Barack Obama has he heads into the 2012 campaign season. In May Obama suggested that Israel and Palestine could settle their differences over the borders of a permanent Palestinian state in the Middle East by adopting pre-Six-Day-War (1967) boundaries with agreed upon modifications.
While Obama's suggestion was not so different from Bill Clinton's and George W. Bush's "two-state" Middle East solutions, he drew fire from all sides. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately challenged Obama, saying a return to such borders would threaten Israel's security. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said that Obama had thrown Israel "under the bus."
If Obama's vow to oppose full Palestinian membership in the United Nations wasn't enough to convince his detractors that he's solid on Israel, perhaps a shipment of giant bombs is.
Photo: A U.S. Air Force F-15 Eagle drops a "bunker buster" bomb similar to those the United States recently sold Israel.
Photo by TSGT Michael Ammons/U.S. Air Force