The administration did not explain the use of MOP. A White House
statement cited "an urgent operational need from theater commanders" in its
funding request to modify B-2s to carry MOP.
"We are not authorizing Bush to use a 30,000-pound bunker buster," Rep.
Jim McDermott, a Washington Democrat, said, according to the Congressional Quarterly report. "They've been banging the drums
the same way as they did in 2002 with Iraq."
MOP has been developed by Boeing, which completed the first test of the
bunker-buster in March 2007. Two months later, Northrop Grumman, won a $2.5
million contract from the U.S. Air Force to modify the B-2 to carry the new
"We need to have this as a conventional weapon," Rep. Norm Dicks, a
Washington Democrat and a member of the House Defense Appropriations
Subcommittee, said. "It adds to our deterrent."
"I would characterize it as routine," Defense Secretary Robert Gates
said. "The focus that we all have is on using diplomatic pressure and
economic sanctions to persuade the Iranian government that they are
isolated, they need to alter their policies and ambitions."
The Democratic-led Congress has been divided over whether to fund U.S.
military preparations for any war with Iran. Most of the Democratic
leadership has warned that a U.S. air strike on Iran's nuclear facilities
would result in a major war in the Middle East ahead of the U.S. elections
in November 2008.