July 22, 2006
"War is Good for Business": More Contracts for America's Weapons Producers
The aerial attacks on Lebanon have contributed to fuellng the US military industrial complex in what essentially constitutes a "profit driven war".
The Israeli air force confirms that it has led 3000 sorties hitting some 1,800 targets since the beginning of the bombing campaign (BBC, 22, July 2006). According to UN sources, close to one million people have been displaced out of a total population of 3.8 million. The country's civilian infrastructure has been destroyed.
In contrast to the "shock and awe" March 2003 blitzkrieg over Iraq, the Israelis have aimed almost exclusively civilian targets. Moreover, Lebanon is defenseless. It does not possess an air defense system and the Israelis know it. The number of declared targets is staggering, even when compared, for instance, to the 300 selected strategic targets identified in the 1991 Gulf war.
The civilian infrastructure has been destroyed: water, telecommunications, bridges, airports, gas stations, power plants, dairy factories, etc. Confirmed by the British press, in towns and villages across Lebanon, schools and hospitals have been targetted with meticulous accuracy. in an utterly twised logic, the Israeli government casually blames Hizbollah for using the schools and hospitals as hideouts or launchpads to wage their terrorist activities. (ABC Australia, interview with Israeli Ambassador to Australia, Nati Tamir, 21 July 2006).
"This is not a war, this is a crisis"
To state that "the Lebanon crisis" was triggered by the capture of two Israeli soldiers by Hizbollah militants on July 12th is absurd.
The history of war and military planning is not an object of analysis by the Western media. The real causes and consequences of what is described as the "Lebanon crisis" remain unheralded. Civilian deaths are dismissed as inevitable. The humanitarian crisis is downplayed. The issue of Israeli sponsored war crimes is never mentioned.
Realities are turned upside town. The level of media disinformation and coverup of what is actually happening in the war theater is staggering.
A military operation of this magnitude takes months to prepare. The decision to bomb Lebanon was taken well before July 12. The war on Lebanon is part of a broader military agenda which has been in the planning stage for more than a year.
In very concrete terms, the bombing raids consist in destroying a nation, in "wiping Lebanon off the map", to use a familiar expression, in a righteous act of "self-defense" by Israel, according to the Western media.
Is Israel running out of bombs?
To meet shortfalls in current stockpiles of WMD, Israel's IDF is to take delivery of an emergency shipment of precision guided bombs, including US made GBU-28 bunker buster bombs produced by Raytheon.
"Pentagon and military officials declined to describe in detail the size and contents of the shipment to Israel, and they would not say whether the munitions were being shipped by cargo aircraft or some other means. But an arms-sale package approved last year provides authority for Israel to purchase from the United States as many as 100 GBU-28’s, which are 5,000-pound laser-guided bombs intended to destroy concrete bunkers. The package also provides for selling satellite-guided munitions.
An announcement in 2005 that Israel was eligible to buy the "bunker buster" weapons described the GBU-28 as "a special weapon that was developed for penetrating hardened command centers located deep underground." The document added, "The Israeli Air Force will use these GBU-28’s on their F-15 aircraft."" (NYT, 21 July 2006)
This proposed shipment is described by military observers as somewhat "unusual". Israel already has a large stockpile of precision guided weapons. In additon to its own stockpiles, the IDF took delivery in 2005 of some 5000 US made "smart air launched weapons" including some 500 'bunker-buster bombs.
Why would Israel all of sudden need to replenish its stockpile of Weapons of Mass Destruction, to implement what is described as a punitive operation directed against Hizbollah?
While the report suggests that "Israel still had a long list of targets in Lebanon to strike", the history of these deliveries of bunker buster bombs to Israel, suggests that they are also intended to be used in the broader Middle Eastern region.
At this particular juncture, the replenishing of Israeli stockpiles of deadly bunker buster bombs points to an escalation of the war both within and beyond the borders of Lebanon.
Moroever, the air campaign in Lebanon is inextricably related to US-Israeli strategic objectives in the broader Middle East including Syria and Iran. In recent developments, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice has stated that the main purpose of her mission to the Middle East is not to push for a ceasefire, but rather to isolate Syria and Iran.(Daily Telegraph, 22 July 2006)
A ground war has already started in Southern Lebanon. Aerial targets in Syria are also contemplated. Syria's capital Damascus is less than 50 kilometers from Lebanon's Beka valley, which has been the object of an extensive bombing campaign.
Moreover, it is worth recalling that the first shipment of US made bunker buster bombs in 2005 was delivered to Israel, in the eventuality of a US-Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.
"The Israeli target for the GBU is no secret. For months Israeli intelligence, political and policy operatives in the US have been presenting a case that Iran is secretly developing nuclear weapons that threaten Tel Aviv and other Israeli population centers"
The plan for such an attack on Iran entered "the advanced stage of readiness" in mid 2005. The Iran operation is still on the US-Israeli military agenda, in partnership with Turkey and NATO.
Moreover, a new draft resolution concerning Tehran's alleged nuclear weapons program, slated to be submitted to the UN Security Council, suggests that military action against Iran is being considered at the highest levls of the military command structure.
Under this plan, the Israeli Air Force would attack Iran's nuclear facility at Bushehr using both US and Israeli produced bunker buster bombs. Bear in mind that the bunker buster bombs can also be used to deliver tactical nuclear bombs. The B61-11 is the "nuclear version" of the "conventional" BLU 113. It can be delivered in much same way as the conventional bunker buster bomb. (See Michel Chossudovsky, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO112C.html , see also http://www.thebulletin.org/article_nn.php?art_ofn=jf03norris ) .
Gbu 28 Guided Bomb Unit-28 (GBU-28)
Replenishing the Stockpiles of Israel's WMD
The bombs which are now being rushed to Israel are the large 5000 lb GBU 28 bunker buster bombs, which can in one strike in an urban area kill literally hundreds of people.
The US claims that the bunker buster bomb is safe for the surrounding civilian population, because the explosion is underground. Israel has stated that the GBU 28 is to be used against Hizbollah, because Hizbollah has taken refuge in deap underground bunkers:
"Designed to penetrate hardened command centers located deep underground, the GBU-28 is a 5,000-pound laser-guided bomb that uses a 4,400-pound penetrating warhead and contains 630 pounds of high explosives." (http://www.irmep.org/GBU.htm)
The GBU 28 has already been used in densely populated urban areas inside Lebanon. The gruesome images of charred and mutilated bodies following these aerial bombings, could indeed be the result of the use of the GBU-28, which is among the deadliest weapons in the conventional arsenal (see below).
"Israel’s need for precision munitions is driven in part by its strategy in Lebanon, which includes destroying hardened underground bunkers where Hezbollah leaders are said to have taken refuge, as well as missile sites and other targets that would be hard to hit without laser and satellite-guided bombs." (NYT, 21 July 2006)
A Medic inspects burned bodies of Lebanese civilians who were attacked as they passed by a bridge that was targeted in north Saida, southern Lebanon, July 17, Reuters 2006