U.S. Speeds Up Bomb Delivery for the Israelis

Israel is running out of bunker buster bombs, having expended several tons in Lebanon. The United States is pitching in with a new shipment.

The Bush administration is rushing a delivery of precision-guided bombs to Israel, which requested the expedited shipment last week after beginning its air campaign against Hezbollah targets in Lebanon, American officials said Friday. The decision to quickly ship the weapons to Israel was made with relatively little debate within the Bush administration, the officials said. Its disclosure threatens to anger Arab governments and others because of the appearance that the United States is actively aiding the Israeli bombing campaign in a way that could be compared to Iran’s efforts to arm and resupply Hezbollah.

The munitions that the United States is sending to Israel are part of a multimillion-dollar arms sale package approved last year that Israel is able to draw on as needed, the officials said. But Israel’s request for expedited delivery of the satellite and laser-guided bombs was described as unusual by some military officers, and as an indication that Israel still had a long list of targets in Lebanon to strike.


One American official said the shipment should not be compared to the kind of an “emergency resupply” of dwindling Israeli stockpiles that was provided during the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, when an American military airlift helped Israel recover from early Arab victories.


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.”

This continues the administration’s strategy of clearly picking sides in this conflict, which is in marked contrast to American policy over the last 30-odd years of at least attempting to play the role of neutral arbiter. Given how spectacularly unsuccessful that proved to be–both in terms of convincing the Arabs we weren’t backing the Israelis and at achieving lasting peace–maybe a new strategy is called for.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Anderson says:


    In a daylong event that was not quite a funeral, not quite interment, but a brief goodbye for a few grieving families that could attend, hospital workers and volunteers worked furiously to assemble the coffins, remove bodies from the truck, spray them with formaldehyde and bury them in the mass grave a few blocks away. In all, they buried 82 people, including more than 24 children who died in the past week.

    â??I didnâ??t sleep the whole night trying to make this happen,â?? said Ali Faramat, a local carpenter who spent the entire night cutting planks of wood, which young men from the neighborhood then turned into boxes.

    Then the men spray painted names on the coffins, and for a few moments the bodies became people again, loved ones, memories.

    No. 37 became Sally Wahbi, a 7-year-old who died in an attack on the Civil Defense Building in Tyre on Sunday. No. 35, Alia Alaedeen, who suffered serious head injuries as she was escaping the town of Sarifa on Wednesday and died Thursday. And No. 73 became Mariam Abdullah, who along with Zahra, Hadi and Myrna was among the 23 people killed in an Israeli attack on a pickup truck escaping the town of Marwaheen last Saturday.

    â??God, you gave her to me â?? now take her to heaven,â?? Mariam Abdullahâ??s mother moaned. â??Take her to Paradise, and protect the victims of evil.â??

    The scene continued for several hours as bodies in plastic bags, some of them soaked in blood, were photographed and placed into coffins, which were then nailed shut and lined up. The numbers on the wall corresponding to those on the coffins only went up to 74, but the men continued to place bodies into coffins.

    â??We need a small coffin,â?? one of the men shouted. The crowd went silent, and soon a body the size of a doll came out, what one doctor called a posthumous birth from a pregnant mother in the trailer. The men broke into chants of â??God is great.â??

    Halfway through, there was a bang as a plane dropped leaflets over the crowd warning them to move at once. â??Due to the terrorist acts against the state of Israel that came from your villages and your homes, the Israeli Army has been forced to respond immediately against these acts even within your villages, for your own security,â?? the note read in Arabic. â??You are ordered to leave your villages and head immediately north of the Litani River.â??

    Yes, I think this is a wonderful strategy. More, please.

  2. Herb says:

    Well, I see Anderson is Plagiarizing again.

  3. Michael says:


    As sad as that article may be, change the names and locations and it could describe the situation on the ground in almost any war, on either side.

    The fact of the matter is that Israel is faced with the very real possibility of those being Israeli children from Israeli towns. What parent wouldn’t destroy the whole world to protect their own? I know I would.

    Hezbollah has put Israel in the position of having to choose between dead Lebanese children, and dead Israeli children, knowing full well what the result would be. Hezbollah wanted this, they wanted scenes of dead little Arab babies, not Israel. I may not agree with the strategy, but lets not blame Israel for the consequences of a war they didn’t want.

  4. Anderson says:

    “The fact of the matter,” Michal, is that Israel is deliberately killing hundreds of civilians … in response to the *kidnapping* of a few of its soldiers.

    In any tally of the # of Israelis killed by terror attacks vs. the # of Palestinians and others killed by Israel, there’s a good order of magnitude’s difference, if not more.

    I suppose you may think one Israeli life is worth 10 more more non-Israeli lives. I disagree.

  5. Publius Hamilton says:

    Anderson seems to think that war is a game that you can play and that it is “unfair” for one side to have more casualties than another. The whole idea of “disproportionate response” is nuts. If someone attacks me with a knife and I have a gun, do I put down the gun and use a knife to defend myself so I can be fair? Get real.

    Hizb’Allah started this by crossing the border and KIDNAPPING 2 Israeli soldiers and MURDERING 8 others in an unprovoked attack on Israeli soil that even the Wahabbi Saudis are condemning. Hizb’Allah can stop the suffering by returning the 2 soldiers and stop shooting missiles at Israel. They don’t care about the suffering, they want more of it to help their propaganda campaign. The more blood the better for those bloodsucking bastards who hide behind women and children and then moan and cry about the civilian casualties.

  6. Anderson says:

    If someone attacks me with a knife and I have a gun, do I shoot through a crowd of bystanders to try hitting the guy?

    That would be “no,” right? Not a great analogy, but hey, you picked it.

    I don’t give a damn about Hezbollah’s moaning and crying over civilian dead. I care about the dead themselves.

    Cernig quoted a counterinsurgency expert in another comment thread:

    Air power works against you, not for you. It kills lots of people who weren’t your enemy, recruiting their relatives, friends and fellow tribesmen to become your enemies. In this kind of war, bombers are as useful as 42 cm. siege mortars.

    Israel knows this, and they don’t care.

    Another way of putting this, Mr. Tough Guy Publius Hamilton: if you were a Lebanese civilian and your family was wiped out by a bomb dropped on their (non-terrorist-used) house by Israel, what would you do? Because if that happened to me, I hope that I would do everything I could to kill Israeli soldiers. I suppose you would just blog the geopolitical rationalizations?

  7. Jim Henley says:

    Anderson, you do not understand the dynamic here. Robert Frost famously defined a liberal as “a fellow who is so broadminded he won’t take his own side in a quarrel.” Contemporary American and Israeli nationalists believe that “liberalism is for OTHER people” – everyone else on the globe should be so broadminded they won’t take their own sides in a quarrel. We saw this last week in Bithead’s clueless but emphatic demand that the Saudis and other Sunni states should FIGHT HEZBOLLAH FOR ISRAEL if they wanted to earn his designation as “moderates.” Not “allies” or Good Guys, moderates.

    So, you being American, I think, if someone bombs your family then yes, you should want to do everything in your power to kill them. If you’re Israeli likewise. But if you’re Arab or Muslim or, soon enough, Venezuelan or Chinese, you should have already bombed your family yourself, or at least the neighbors. Otherwise you’re a dirty rotten (foreign) conservative, which is the next thing to a terrorist.

  8. Michael says:


    Do not make the mistake of thinking the Israeli army is either stupid or incompetent. They know that targetting civilians will not give them any tactical benefit, and would be a complete strategic loss. They are also not so incompetent as to only be able to kill hundreds of civilians, if that was their true intent.

    So far, Israel has used the most discretion in it’s targetting of anybody.

    Now, I don’t value one life over another, but I don’t think that body count is in any way a useful gauge of anything in this conflict.

  9. Herb says:

    Publis Hamilton:

    You seem to think that Anderson “Thinks” on his own, But if you watch Anderson carefully, you will find that Anderson Plagiarizes everyone and does not have an original thought of his own.