The news has prompted questions about the viability of the B-2 — which, as opposed to its brother the F-17A fighter-bomber, is a mere bomber. "The B-2 is an expensive cold war plane for a cold war mission," says TIME Pentagon correspondent Mark Thompson, "and they've tried to apply it to a post cold-war world."
But the Air Force — described by Thompson as "beyond embarassment" — is at pains to point out the plane can still fly non-stop from the United States to any overseas target. That is, anywhere it doesn't rain. Good thing the Iraqi desert is pretty dry.