Are those new bunker-busting bombs ordered by the sitting president destined for Iran? Also, bloggers are wary of President Giuliani after a trenchant Washington Monthly cover story.
Bunker-Busters for Iran?: The White House has requested $196 billion in emergency funds for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Curiously embedded in the request is an $88 million dispensation for outfitting B-2 stealth bombers with Massive Ordnance Penetrators, better known colloquially as "bunker-busters." What might those be used for in two countries whose quite-above-ground governments we support? Bloggers look to Iran for the answer.
Alex at Martini Revolution well captures the sentiments about this item in cyberspace: "The fact that the Pentagon's request for funding a weapon with only one viable target — Iran — was made so publicly would normally lead one to conclude that the request was more saber-rattling than preparation for a surprise attack." Soccerdad at conservative blog Yourish.com isn't sure the MOP funding means a bombing campaign is imminent: "Perhaps it's another part of the administration's effort to put pressure on Iran to curtail its nuclear program and not an immediate threat to Iran. Taken with the Israeli raid on Syria's - Iran's ally - nascent nuclear program the administration might be sending a message to Iran with this spending request."
Red Wind at the independent blog the Seminal wonders if the White House is waiting to bomb Iran in order to derail Hillary Clinton's candidacy (she just voted to toughen sanctions on Iran, by designating four state-owned banks and the Quds force of the country's Revolutionary Guard supporters of terrorism): "Does Bush let the bombs fly in the near future in an attempt to sidetrack Hillary Clinton's march toward the Democratic nomination, or do they wait till the spring or summer in an attempt to sap some energy from the Democratic base while energizing their own?"
So what do these new state-of-the-art Massive Ordnance Penetrators do, anyway? In an old post at Wired's defense and military-tech blog, Danger Room, David Hambling explains: "It's a 30,000-pound weapon, designed to strike targets too deep or too hard for the biggest bunker-buster America's got, the 5,000-pound BLU-113. It can go through some 22 feet of concrete or over 100 feet of earth. MOP will go a lot deeper - 200 feet of 5,000 psi concrete."
At Iran Nuclear Watch, Carah Ong also hints that these new toys aren't necessary: "To put this in perspective, though, the US already has both nuclear and conventional 'bunker busting' capability in its vast arsenal, including the B61 Mod 11 'earth-penetrator' that was deployed in the mid-1990s and the Guided Bomb Unit 28 that was used by the US against at least two targets in Dessert Storm, to name two."
Read more about the bunker-busters.
Worse than Bush? Liberal journal the Washington Monthly offered readers a sneak peek of next month's cover story, "Rudy Awakening." In it, author Rachel Morris highlights some of the more authoritarian tendencies of Rudy Giuliani when he was mayor of New York. These include his routine circumnavigations of the Independent Budget Office and the Office of the Public Advocate, his fondness for sycophants and yes men, his flouting of the First Amendment, and his deference to the NYPD on all questions of police brutality. A glimpse of what a Giuliani presidency might look like? Liberal bloggers tend to think so.
At Reason's Hit and Run, Jacob Sullum, who spent the Rudy years in New York, "did not need to be persuaded of his authoritarian tendencies. But Morris' piece provides damning details I did not notice at the time, including Giuliani's sly use of city charter commissions, his attempts to undermine both the public advocate and the Independent Budget Office, and his resistance to releasing even the most innocuous information." Still, Sullum says if it's between Giuliani and Clinton, he's going with Giuliani.
"Isn't Rudy also a member of the Cheney free lunch wing of the supply-side silly school?" asks PGL at Angry Bear, a slightly left-of-center economics blog. "If you think the Bush-Cheney fiscal policy is great – Rudy is your candidate."
At the Washington Monthly's Political Animal, Kevin Drum seconds his colleague's assessment of the "worst" presidential candidate: "Rudy Giuliani is the guy you'd get if you put George Bush and Dick Cheney into a wine press and squeezed out their pure combined essence: unbounded arrogance and self-righteousness, a chip on his shoulder the size of a redwood, a studied contempt for anybody's opinion but his own, a vindictive streak a mile wide, and a devotion to secrecy and executive power unmatched in presidential history."
Mark Draughn at Windypundit hasn't liked Rudy for some time. Four of his reasons: "He tried to shut down legal businesses he disliked, such as strip clubs and adult bookstores. … He aggressively defended New York police officers against accusations of misconduct before investigating. … After police chief Bratton brought down New York's crime rate, Giuliani forced him out and took credit. … At the end of his last term, Giuliani floated the idea of postponing the mayoral election so he could stay in office a little longer." After Morris' piece, Draughn is "beginning to think Giuliani wouldn't just be a bad president, he'd be a terrifying president."
Richard at lefty blog Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot—over concludes: "[Giuliani] refused to follow any law that slows down getting what he personally wanted, and refused to provide accurate reports on how the city functioned. He refused to let the Auditors operate in city hall until forced to by the courts and refused to provide accurate reports on such things as crime statistics even after ordered to by the courts."
Read more about "Rudy Awakening."