Webb letter on Iran

Some Democratic lawmakers have questioned whether a new Bush administration request for $88 million to fit "bunker-busting" bombs to B-2 stealth bombers was part of preparations for an attack on Iran.

A Bush administration summary said the request was needed for "development of a Massive Ordnance Penetrator for the B-2 aircraft in response to an urgent operational need from theater commanders," but gave no details. The Massive Ordnance Penetrator is a conventional bomb designed to destroy hardened or deeply buried targets.

"My assumption is that it is Iran, because you wouldn't use them in Iraq, and I don't know where you would use them in Afghanistan; it doesn't have any weapons facilities underground that we know of," said Rep. Jim Moran, a Virginia Democrat who is on the House Appropriations Committee and intends to argue against the request.

Another Democrat, Rep. Jim McDermott of Washington, said the bunker-buster request worried him because of the rising tide of criticism of Iran coming from the Bush administration. Last week, Bush warned that a nuclear-armed Iran could lead to World War Three.

Susan Cornwell, "Bunker-Buster Request Prompts Iran Attack Fears," Reuters, October 24, 2007.

The following is a letter circulated by Senator Webb regarding Iran followed by a list of senators who had signed on to it. More senators may have signed on by now. If your senator are not on the list please as ask them to do so:

"We are writing to express serious concerns with the provocative statements and actions stemming from your administration with respect to possible U.S.
military action in Iran. These comments are counterproductive and undermine efforts to resolve tensions with Iran through diplomacy.

"We wish to emphasize that no congressional authority exists for unilateral military action against Iran, including the Senate vote on September 26,
2007 on an amendment to the FY 2008 National Defense Authorization Act. This amendment, expressing the sense of the Senate on Iran and the recent designation of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, should in no way be interpreted as a predicate for the use of military force in Iran.

"We stand ready to work with your administration to address the challenges presented by Iran in a manner that safeguards our security interests and promotes a regional diplomatic solution. At the same time, we wish to emphasize that no offensive military action would be justified against Iran without the express consent of Congress."

List of Signers so far:
AKAKA, Daniel

BAUCUS, Max

BOXER, Barbara

BROWN, Sherrod

BYRD, Robert

CARPER, Thomas

CLINTON, Hillary Rodham

DODD, Christopher

DORGAN, Byron

DURBIN, Richard

HARKIN, Tom

KERRY, John

LEAHY, Patrick

McCASKILL, Clair

MURRAY, Patty

REED, Jack

SANDERS, Bernard

STABENOW, Debbie

TESTER, Jon

WHITEHOUSE, Sheldon

WYDEN, Ron

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