Posts Tagged ‘MOAB’


Moab, A City in Utah?

April 14, 2017


Well, if you are like me then you probably thought that Moab was just a city in Utah, a desert vacation spot filled with buttes and arches, caves and petroglyphs, and you might be right save for one thing.  There’s a new MOAB on the scene and if anything about it is true, it is a cave buster for sure.

MOAB is an acronym that originally stood for “Massive Ordinance Air Blast,” which is an institutional name that has been usurped for a more folksy moniker, “Mother of All Bombs.”  And it is!  Weighing in at 21,000 lbs, it is over 10 times more powerful than the typical 2,000 lb bomb conventionally used, making it the biggest, baddest, non-nuclear bomb ever.  But alas, it had never found an appropriate target…  that is until yesterday, when it was dropped for the very first time on a network of tunnels and caves used by Isis on the Afghanistan/Pakistan border.  As Sean Spicer indicated it was used to destroy “a system of tunnels and caves that ISIS fighters used to move around freely, making it easier for them to target US military advisers and Afghan forces in the area.”

To all eyes this looks like the first promise that Donald Trump may be keeping when during the campaign he stated he would “bomb the shit out of Isis,” and for sure MOAB is just the bomb that can do that.  But the strangest thing has occurred.  Donald Trump, braggart extraordinaire, has seemed reticent to claim the credit for follow through on his promise.  So the media is asking, “was it the generals or Trump that ordered the strike?” And that brings us to a little discussion of strategy versus tactics.

By all account, the Pentagon claims that MOAB is a tactical weapon, not a strategic weapon and if you are like me, that kind of hair-splitting sets my head spinning.  So let’s take a minute to understand these terms in the most simplified way.

A strategy is a plan aimed at obtaining a specific goal or result. Tactics are the means by which the strategy is implemented.

The Pentagon’s claim seems to make the use of MOAB fall within their jurisdiction, as a tactical rather than a strategic decision, one they could have made without Trump’s approval.

As a strategy, we have to look at Trump’s “plan” through the looking glass of history to understand it’s potential.  Richard Nixon used his version of “bomb the shit out of them” to carpet bomb Vietnam.  Millions of tons were dropped on the villages and jungles of Vietnam killing Viet Cong, but in the mix many more civilians and livestock, with little consequence on supply routes and tunnel systems.  In a war waged against guerrilla forces that live among the population, civilians live in a “free-fire” zone of fair game license.  Isis is a similar enemy and to affect such a plan would result in massive civilian casualties.  No, “bombing the shit out of them” is never going to happen.  Stealth attacks, drone attacks, SEAL team raids, yes, but that type of “shotgun” strategy familiar on vintage T-shirts as “kill them all and let God sort it out”  will see little tactical support.

And another thing to consider is the cost to benefit ratio.  At the cost of $16,000,000.00 per bomb, exclusive of the flight, planning and support, the toll of 36 Isis killed is rather puny.  The cost per cadaver shakes out to be $444,444.444.  With attendant extras lets just call it an even half million per enemy killed.  We might be just as effective dropping 10 tons of porno magazines so they could beat themselves to death.

But in the broad scope of things, 16 million a pop is a pittance. It won’t fund a wall with Mexico. It can’t save healthcare.  You couldn’t even buy Mar-a-lago,  just another  weekend roundtrip flight from Washington on Air Force One, with the fighter jets and cargo transports filled with limos in tow.

So each passing day, as we focus our attentions on trumped up diversions, funding is cut on essential social programs and popular institutions, like CPB and PBS, The National Endowment for the Arts,  the Student loan program, Environmental protection, NASA, on and on, a litany of mistakes juxtaposed with policy failures set against the backdrop of weekend jaunts to Trump’s playground, a playground built on the swamp.