B-52s and MOPs for Israel? – by Confused Ponderer


For a couple days now, Lt. Gen. David Deptula, USAF (ret.) is making the rounds with JINSA's Makovski. Both are pomoting the idea of the transfer of MOPs and B-52s to Israel.

Punchline from JINSA's OpEd in The Wall Street Journal – April 8, 2014: "The Obama administration has cut a deeply flawed interim deal, forgone new sanctions, and effectively taken the military option off the table. It's time to increase the pressure on Tehran by boosting Israel's military capacity to cripple Iran's nuclear program."

This refers to a nuclear program that isn't proven to be a nuclear weapons program.  US intelligence can't find evidence for that believing that Iran's nuclear program may or may not become a weapons program, but that there are no current indications of that change. The conflation of a nuclear program with a nuclear weapons program is not just sloppy language. It is a deliberate deception. Iran's ability to master enrichment is NOT tantamount to a nuclear weapons threat. A theoretical ability in the absence of intent is not a threat. Period. To say otherwise is to engage in deception.

Let's put this in clear language: The advocates of such equipment transfers want that the US should put Israel in a position in which it can flout US policy preferences by making them independent strategically by giving Israel a conventional stategic strike option.The desire to do this demonstrates Israel's current inability to successfully hit Iran.

This is the same idea promoted in 'A Clean Break', which notably stressed the idea that Israel ought to transform its relations with the United States, by making Israel self-reliant, i.e. independent from the US. Now that's an ally!  These people want the US to make Israel independent, so that the Israelis can ignore whatever the US wants them to do and and at the same time they want the US taxpayer to foot the bill!

The tail is indeed wagging the dog. And re: 'A Clean Break' – the other major idea in that paper is that Israel, rather than pursuing a "comprehensive peace" with the entire Arab world, Israel should work jointly with Jordan (though nowadays it looks they are rather more allied with the Saudis) and Turkey to "contain, destabilize, and roll-back" those entities that are threats to all three. Which goes a long way to explain the current enthusiasm and persistent scheming to have the US to bomb Syria to smithereens already. And then Lebanon. And then Iran. Is there a cure for this lunacy? – Confused Ponderer





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36 Responses to B-52s and MOPs for Israel? – by Confused Ponderer

  1. JohnH says:

    Does Deptula say who will pay for Israel’s strategic independence? Uncle Sami, of course. What a strange idea of strategic independence. Uncle Sami is supposed to underwrite whatever crazy plans Israel can dream up. Of course, it’s totally consistent with how the US has behaved in every Israeli war since 1967. The stakes just keep getting higher and the weaponry more lethal. If things keep going on like this, what’s to prevent some Zionist-beholden president from handing over our entire nuclear fleet to Netanyahu and saying, “Have fun!”

  2. Fred says:

    “Now that’s an ally!”
    Best ally in the Middle East, just ask our elected representatives. Then ask them which president signed it, when did the senate ratify it and can you have a copy.

  3. Charles I says:

    Perhaps a cure could be having the MOPS directly “delivered” to Dimona by the B52’s.

  4. Fred says:

    Meanwhile, talking of arming ‘allies’:
    “The General also told the members and staff that detailed estimates of Russian troops showed the number of forces preparing to invade Ukraine numbered 80,000.”
    When did the United States Government determine that the Russian Federation was preparing to INVADE Ukraine? Is this based on evidence, secret evidence or just slam dunk evidence?
    When did the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States deligate foreign policy announcements to the general commanding NATO forces?
    Further quoting General Breedlove:
    “On his Twitter feed he wrote, “Russian forces around Ukraine fully equipped/capable to invade. Public denial undermines progress. Images tell story.”
    “Recent Russian aggression could put in jeopardy Ukraine’s ability to contribute to NATO and any U.S. operations and exercises. It is important we continue to support Ukrainian cooperative activities with NATO and U.S. forces to enhance our mutually beneficial relationship.”
    When did the United States sign a treaty requiring it to defend Ukraine? When did the Sentate ratify that treaty?

  5. The Twisted Genius says:

    What a fine complement to the fleet of F-35s that we’re going to buy for the Israelis for 5 billion dollars or so. How about a real clean break and just cut the greedy bastards loose. Don’t embargo them or freeze assets, although those ideas are worth discussing. Just make them pay for what military items we sell them with their own money.

  6. oofda says:

    I would have to review the relevant treaties and conventions, but the provision of B-52s to another nation might well be in violations of one or more of the strategic arms control treaties to which the U.S. is party. At least it would be in violation of the spirit of several of these treaties. And we would not be thrilled if the Russian Federation- or China for that matter- supplied a long-range, nuclear-capable bomber to a third country. Say the PLA Air Force sold a few Xian H-6K bombers to Iran?

  7. kao_hsien_chih says:

    This notion of “independence” sounds a lot like the guy who supposedly said ” I used to be on welfare. Nobody helped me.” I sippose Uncle Sam’s help doesn’t count ss “help” or “dependence.” Geesh….

  8. AEL says:

    I think Israeli B-52’s are a wonderful idea.
    They would truly be a perfect white elephant.
    The love and attention that the Israeli’s would have to spend to keep those elephants flying would undermine their ability to make mischief elsewhere.

  9. robt willmann says:

    Iran might be moved back to the middle burner, as today there is a report that … drum roll … “allegations” have emerged that Syria has carried out more toxic chemical attacks, from the British Daily Mail —
    The article says that the British Foreign Office replied that it was “aware of the allegations but not able to corroborate them at this time”.

  10. Imagine says:

    Senate Resolution SR65: (May 22, 2013; 91/100 Cosponsors)
    “…(4) recognizes the tremendous threat posed to the United States, the West, and Israel by the Government of Iran’s continuing pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability;*
    (7) declares that the United States has a vital national interest in, and unbreakable commitment to, ensuring the existence, survival, and security of the State of Israel…**
    (8) urges that, if the Government of Israel is compelled to take military action*** in legitimate self-defense against Iran’s nuclear weapons program*, the United States Government should stand with Israel and provide, in accordance with United States law and the constitutional responsibility of Congress to authorize the use of military force, diplomatic, military, and economic support**** to the Government of Israel in its defense of its territory, people, and existence.”
    Code words decoded:
    *”Capability” means any kind of peaceful nuclear power. Japan & Canada both have nuclear weapons capability. “Program” means whatever we hallucinate you might have, or might do in the future. As Iran has already had nuclear weapons “capability” for decades, originally provided by the United States, this legally gives license for any attack starting now.
    **”vital national interest” = Israel is as important as Washington, D.C.
    ***”compelled to take military action” = when they feel like it; when they feel ready that they can get away with it
    **** “economic support” = blank check. In case Israel starts a war, America will pay Israel whatever it asks for, on top of the ~$10B / year in overt aid and covert under-the-table yearly “loan forgiveness” we are giving already.
    More of the big picture:
    http://www.redressonline.com/2010/07/from-the-archives-netanyahu-i-deceived-us-to-destroy-oslo-accords/ (with video in Hebrew)
    “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gets 29 standing ovations from Congress”:

  11. VietnamVet says:

    The B-52s are almost as old as I am. It would be good riddance to get rid of them except American taxpayers would continue paying the bills to keep them flying for Israel and at some point a real man would take a ride on the Massive Ordnance Penetrator to Tehran.
    We’ve been through this before when Admiral Fallon was commander of CENTCOM. The USA deferred for good reasons starting a Third Gulf War.
    Simply stated, Israel cannot destroy Iran’s nuclear program with conventional air campaign. Since they do not have the manpower and tanks to invade and conquer Iran; the only way to destroy Iran’s nuclear program is with nuclear weapons which will result in retaliation as radioactive fallout spreads across the Gulf States and Pakistan, killing millions.
    When Russia stopped the Syrian NATO bombing campaign, it meant that an Iranian ally would survive. As a result, the Neo-Conservatives and Israel Firsters opened a second front against Russia in Ukraine. B-52s for Israel is a further escalation. Unless, the crazies are reigned in, Russia and NATO will replay 1914 a hundred years later; this time with hydrogen bombs.

  12. Andy says:

    I laughed reading this op-ed. To me it’s clearly a political propaganda piece and not a serious proposal for increasing Israeli capabilities against Iran. Deptula, a guy who well understands air campaigns and air capabilities, must know how idiotic this idea is, so I can only conclude that this is political propaganda intended to influence the nuclear negotiations and give illusory reassurances of support to the Israeli population.
    Why isn’t this a serious idea? Well, for a couple of obvious reasons – First, the US decided not to modify its own B-52’s to carry this weapon because the B-52 can only operate in uncontested airspace. It’s great for delivering lots of stand-off ordnance outside of enemy air defenses (via long-range cruise missiles) and it’s great for dropping lots of gravity ordnance once air supremacy is achieved (see Afghanistan). For the purpose of penetrating an enemy air defense system to drop a 30k pound gravity bomb on a highly defended target it is probably the last aircraft one would choose. That’s why the USAF thinks it’s pointless to put the MOP on the B-52. The MOP is a weapon one wants to use at the start of an air campaign and not at the end.
    This problem is even worse for Israel because Israel doesn’t have numbers or types of supporting aircraft necessary to even make a go at defending this big bomber. It doesn’t have the capability to conduct a sustain air campaign against Iran to achieve air supremacy. Israel is just barely able to conduct a limited raid given the distances and assets available. In such a raid, Israel would not be able to defend B-52’s from Iranian air defenses. In fact, B-52’s would be a liability since they are much easier to detect on radar and would likely give the Iranians more tactical warning. I’m sure the Israeli Air Force staff are wondering what Deptula is smoking.
    Secondly, the authors say that we should transfer the B-52’s and MOP’s to Israel “ideally as the current six-month interim deal is set to expire in July.” That timeline is a complete fantasy. They want to take B-52’s out of mothballs at DM, get them flyable again, modify them to carry MOP’s and transfer them to Israel in less than three months? Ha! Again, Deptula isn’t a stupid man and he must surely know that simply isn’t possible as a practical matter regardless of the politics.
    Those are only the most glaring holes in this idea, there are many others. So, no one should take this proposal seriously. Even if it were politically viable (and I think it’s pretty clear that it isn’t), it’s not remotely practical and doesn’t provide the military benefit the authors claim. I doubt the Israelis would even accept these aircraft given the resources they’d drain from the rest of their force.

  13. Matthew says:

    Robt: Maybe they should replace “corroborate” the allegations with “create evidence” for the allegations. I’m sure the Usual Suspects have a storeroom full of Assad atrocities that will be leaked each time Assad liberates a town from the head choppers and liver eaters funded by Saudi and Qatar.

  14. Matthew says:

    VV: The Neo-Cons seem to believe that the Russians will ultimately back down. This type of thinking launched the Spanish Armada.

  15. Walrus says:

    The Russian response to a B 52 export is likely to trump any advantage Israel might think it has.
    Modernizing Iran and Syrian air defenses would be the least of the problems.
    If Putin, for example, decided to be less than diligent in preventing modern MANPADS from being exported, then you can kiss European civil aviation goodbye.
    Then there is Cuba…..

  16. Dismayed says:

    “… Lt. Gen. David Deptula, USAF (ret.) is making the rounds with JINSA’s Makovski.”
    Deptula is a traitor to our country, in the dictionary rather than constitutional sense. How could this happen? What could have started him (or Larry Franklin) down that path? It’s almost inconceivable to me that someone whom I would expect to be a patriot would consort with those who are so transparently hostile to America.

  17. SAC Brat says:

    About ten to fifteen years ago a static display B-52 at Willow Run Airport in Michigan was moved as the museum rearranged display aircraft. The move was then protested by the Russian government.
    If you zoom in on aerial pictures of the southeast side of Davis Monthan AFB there are still B-52 carcasses displayed for satellite review.
    Pretty sure the Smithsonian Air and Space magazine had a article a few years ago on the applicable treaty.

  18. kao_hsien_chih says:

    It took a “divine wind” (a freak storm that was literally called the “Protestant Wind”) to stop the Spanish Armada. What will be its modern equivalent?

  19. charly says:

    Doesn’t Iran make manpads. And the main point of attention of the Iranian MIC is solid fuel rockets so i expect those manpads to be quite good. Not that manpads work against B52’s on cruising altitude.

  20. steve says:

    Perhaps it’s been posted here somewhere else, but if not:
    “WASHINGTON (AP) — In a rare diplomatic rebuke, the United States has blocked Iran’s controversial pick for envoy to the United Nations, a move that could stir fresh animosity at a time when Washington and Tehran have been seeking a thaw in relations.
    The Obama administration said Friday that the U.S. had informed Iran it would not grant a visa to Hamid Aboutalebi, a member of the group responsible for the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.”

  21. turcopolier says:

    IMO many of you are over estimating the quality of Iranian air defenses. ECM followed by attacks on radars and airfields would then be followed by massive bombing. What the Israelis have lacked is the platform for the massive part. pl

  22. Walrus says:

    Charley, I’m not worried about B52’s and MANPADS. I’m worried about the “gentlemens agreement” revealed via the Wikileaks cables, that has virtually kept these weapons out of the hands of terrorists worldwide with very rare exceptions.
    If that agreement were to fail, then at least European civil aviation is in dire trouble. Do I have to spell it out?

  23. Walrus says:

    Col. Lang,
    What happens if Russia deploys an air defence regiment to Iran or Syria?

  24. turcopolier says:

    that would be an absolute game changer in either situation and would probably be checkmate against the the Israelis. pl

  25. Ryan says:

    Reading this stuff reinforces an opinion I’ve held for a number of years. It is way past time to abolish the Dept. of the Air Force and fold its duties back into a new version of the old Army Air Corps. Giulio Douhet be damned. The AF seems to be a hothouse of crazy ideas proposed by nuts.

  26. Will says:

    have been researching the B52’s and “broken arrow” incidents. When I was about 11, i just missed getting incinerated when the “wet wing” B52 carrying two hydrogen bombs started leaking fuel and crashed before it could land at Seymour Johnson AFB at Goldsboro, NC.
    One bomb parachuted in a tree, the other bomb is in part buried 270 foot or so down in a swamp. During the excavation a sarge told his louie, “i’ve found the trigger.” the louie replied “good news,” only to learn that the trigger had armed except for the last step.
    A third of the fleet used to be up in the air each on its target path on the way to the Soviet Union, then they would turn back.

  27. steve says:

    Just an old B-52 story from when I was a kid–
    I had an uncle who was stationed at Barksdale AFB as a B-52 SAC mission navigator We went down there to visit in 1963 when I was 12.
    Being 12, nothing was as cool as seeing the B-52s getting prepared to go on their “fail-safe” runs. But the absolutely incredible thing for me–thanks to my uncle–was being able to go aboard a B-52 and looking around the cockpit while it was revving up.
    Man, I was in heaven and for a few weeks that story made me the king of 7th grade, lol.
    Also saw a U2 on base with the cockpit all taped up.
    Anyway, can you imagine a 12 yr. old nowadays taking a tour of the cockpit of a B-52, loaded with thermonuclear weapons, as it’s getting ready for takeoff? No security clearance at all–I was just an officer’s nephew.

  28. Booby says:

    I grew up in Pink Hill, NC, not far from Seymour Johnson. My Dad was a volunteer fireman & went to fight the brushfire caused by the B-52 crash. He came back for his now cold dinner & very calmly explained that one of their bombers had crashed & that the USAF couldn’t find one of the nuclear bombs. He’d also heard that it had nearly armed and exploded. I think the USAF bought the land around where they thought the bomb had landed.
    When I was in college, I was telling the story in an ROTC class & my military instructor stopped me, took me outside & asked me where I’d heard of the event. He then told me that the event was TS, I explained that everyone in Esatern, NC knew about it.

  29. Charles I says:

    The current popular work on nuclear weapons accidents, this time centered on a silo accident:
    Famed investigative journalist Eric Schlosser digs deep to uncover secrets about the management of America’s nuclear arsenal. A ground-breaking account of accidents, near-misses, extraordinary heroism, and technological breakthroughs, Command and Control explores the dilemma that has existed since the dawn of the nuclear age: how do you deploy weapons of mass destruction without being destroyed by them? That question has never been resolved–and Schlosser reveals how the combination of human fallibility and technological complexity still poses a grave risk to mankind.
    Written with the vibrancy of a first-rate thriller, Command and Control interweaves the minute-by-minute story of an accident at a nuclear missile silo in rural Arkansas with a historical narrative that spans more than fifty years. It depicts the urgent effort by American scientists, policymakers, and military officers to ensure that nuclear weapons can’t be stolen, sabotaged, used without permission, or detonated inadvertently. Schlosser also looks at the Cold War from a new perspective, offering history from the ground up, telling the stories of bomber pilots, missile commanders, maintenance crews, and other ordinary servicemen who risked their lives to avert a nuclear holocaust. At the heart of the book lies the struggle, amid the rolling hills and small farms of Damascus, Arkansas, to prevent the explosion of a ballistic missile carrying the most powerful nuclear warhead ever built by the United States.
    Drawing on recently declassified documents and interviews with men who designed and routinely handled nuclear weapons, Command and Control takes readers into a terrifying but fascinating world that, until now, has been largely hidden from view. Through the details of a single accident, Schlosser illustrates how an unlikely event can become unavoidable, how small risks can have terrible consequences, and how the most brilliant minds in the nation can only provide us with an illusion of control. Audacious, gripping, and unforgettable, Command and Control is a tour de force of investigative journalism, an eye-opening look at the dangers of America’s nuclear age.

  30. Charles I says:

    oops see my reply to Booby below re Eric Schlosser’s new book.

  31. Charles I says:

    hardly on the same level, but I live in a town so small that at the bank they let me go back behind the counter to use one of their wicket terminals to sort out some problem with my internet banking. The good old days still exist in some tiny forms.

  32. oofda says:

    This crazy scheme would be a violation of the New START Treaty. Heavy bombers such as the B-52 count under the Treaty, and have specific requirements for removal from accountability.
    “Conversion, elimination, or other means for removal from
    accountability of strategic offensive arms and facilities
    shall be carried out in accordance with Part Three of the
    Protocol to this Treaty”. Part Three of the Protocol does NOT allow transfer to another state as a valid means from removal from accountability under the Treaty.
    Thus, these lunatics are advocating violating a strategic arms reduction treaty with Russia in order to give Israel heavy bombers for a strike on Iran. Insanity

  33. Ryan says:

    “Thus, these lunatics are advocating violating a strategic arms reduction treaty with Russia in order to give Israel heavy bombers for a strike on Iran. Insanity”
    Well, we are talking about Israel.
    Anyway, agreed.

  34. DD says:

    “Is there a cure for this lunacy?”
    Yes – bomb Israel.

  35. confusedponderer says:

    Today, JINSA is having a conference call with Gen. Deptula & Makovsky about MOPs & B-52s to Israel‏.

  36. Curious: At the end of this century will there be more bombers than fighters in the world?

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