Republican Bombs Are Bad, M’kay?

 

The stakes were upped Thursday when the US military dropped a MOAB on ISIS forces in eastern Afghanistan. Nicknamed the “Mother Of All Bombs,” the MOAB is the largest non-nuclear weapon ever used in combat, weighing 22,000 pounds and filled with 18,700 pounds of H6 explosive.

The MOAB creates explosive shockwaves through overpressure, especially in caves and canyons. Waves of pressure enter the narrow spaces, killing people and collapsing tunnels. This made the bomb ideal to use against the ISIS tunnel complex in the Nangahar province. Gen. John W. Nicholson Jr., US commander in Afghanistan, said, “This is the right munition to reduce these obstacles and maintain the momentum of our offensive.” But what do generals know about military tactics compared to our nation’s journalists?

“The U.S. military has targeted similar complexes and dropped tens of thousands of bombs in Afghanistan, raising the question of why a bomb of this size was needed Thursday.” — Washington Post

“Some national security experts said that Mr. Trump and the Pentagon risked inflaming anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world with their approach to fighting the Islamic State.” — New York Times

“Like the Syria strike, use of the monster munition in Afghanistan is more symbolic than tactical, because it is unlikely to change the course of America’s longest war.” — Los Angeles Times

Progressives’ response on Twitter was even worse:

Criticizing a bomb for being too lethal is like criticizing a cherry fritter for being too delicious.

The lefties were fine when Obama was droning Yemeni wedding receptions and US military deaths in Afghanistan quadrupled over the Bush years. But now that President Trump is C-in-C, fighting terrorism is a cruel thing.

The main problem critics have with the MOAB is that it’s a Republican bomb. It was designed under George W. Bush and first used by Donald Trump. SEAL Team Six shooting up Osama’s compound made progressives feel butch, but ordnance that kills exponentially more terrorists is vulgar.

What the left wants is a kinder, gentler bomb, dropped by a thoughtful, sensitive President. A weapon with a streamlined design that looks good staged in a loft between an Eames chair and a midcentury modern liquor cabinet handmade with reclaimed lumber. An explosive that would be dropped ironically as a Wes Anderson soundtrack plays in the background. A bomb that will shower hashtags, emojis, and social justice across Balochistan.

The US military exists to kill people and break things. And if America is ever going to defeat ISIS, the Twitter hipsters shouldn’t complain that they’re doing their job too well.

Published in Military
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  1. Profile photo of Bryan G. Stephens Reagan

    A (Redacted) Men

    • #1
    • April 13, 2017 at 7:27 pm
    • Like4 likes
  2. Profile photo of Percival Thatcher

    The high explosives have to be doled out in 8-9 kg increments or it’s a war crime!

    Gosh, you guys. I thought everybody knew that.

    • #2
    • April 13, 2017 at 7:43 pm
    • Like7 likes
  3. Profile photo of drlorentz Member

    Jon Gabriel, Ed. [quoting idiot leftist]:

    MOAB yield = 11 tons TNT

    Hiroshima ‘Little Boy’ bomb yield = 15 kilotons TNT

    Misha Collins is off by a factor of 1000.

    Conclusion: progs are terrible at math

    • #3
    • April 13, 2017 at 7:58 pm
    • Like52 likes
  4. Profile photo of Tim H. Member

    “…raising the question of why a bomb of this size was needed Thursday.”

    Well, because we wanted to take Friday off and get a start on the weekend.

    • #4
    • April 13, 2017 at 8:00 pm
    • Like41 likes
  5. Profile photo of Tim H. Member

    I have trouble understanding all the uproar about this. How is using one big bomb morally different from using lots of smaller bombs for the same purpose?

    • #5
    • April 13, 2017 at 8:02 pm
    • Like29 likes
  6. Profile photo of Jon Gabriel, Ed. Chief
    Jon Gabriel, Ed. Post author

    Tim H. (View Comment):
    I have trouble understanding all the uproar about this. How is using one big bomb morally different from using lots of smaller bombs for the same purpose?

    It’s the eternal question philosophers have studied since the dawn of time: Would you rather fight one horse-sized duck, or a hundred duck-sized horses?

    • #6
    • April 13, 2017 at 8:06 pm
    • Like33 likes
  7. Profile photo of Tim H. Member

    drlorentz (View Comment):

    Jon Gabriel, Ed. [quoting idiot leftist]:

    MOAB yield = 11 tons TNT

    Hiroshima ‘Little Boy’ bomb yield = 15 kilotons TNT

    Misha Collins is off by a factor of 1000.

    Conclusion: progs are terrible at math

    I was wondering about this. I am surprised it has so much lower a yield, considering all of the comparisons I’d heard to nuclear explosions.

    What is the smallest yield of any nuclear weapon we’ve developed? Would the Davy Crockett have been the smallest? On Wikipedia, I see estimates (or speculation) of it being between 10-20 tons.

    • #7
    • April 13, 2017 at 8:22 pm
    • LikeLike
  8. Profile photo of drlorentz Member

    Tim H. (View Comment):
    What is the smallest yield of any nuclear weapon we’ve developed? Would the Davy Crockett have been the smallest? On Wikipedia, I see estimates (or speculation) of it being between 10-20 tons.

    I have no idea but here’s the Davy Crockett song:

    I met Fess Parker when he was opening his winery in Santa Barbara. He signed a wine glass, which I still have. Nice guy.

    • #8
    • April 13, 2017 at 8:30 pm
    • Like8 likes
  9. Profile photo of profdlp Coolidge

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: “Some national security experts said that Mr. Trump and the Pentagon risked inflaming anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world with their approach to fighting the Islamic State.” — New York Times

    Over 15 years after 9/11 and they’re worried about that now?

    That ship has sailed, sweetie.

    • #9
    • April 13, 2017 at 8:34 pm
    • Like26 likes
  10. Profile photo of Judge Mental Member

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: “Some national security experts said that Mr. Trump and the Pentagon risked inflaming anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world with their approach to fighting the Islamic State.” — New York Times

    You know what else will inflame the Muslim world?

    Napalm.

    • #10
    • April 13, 2017 at 8:43 pm
    • Like43 likes
  11. Profile photo of tigerlily Member

    Sounds like the perfect weapon for this target. I was gonna ask why this bomb wasn’t used until now…but then I remembered who was president until a couple of months ago.

    • #11
    • April 13, 2017 at 8:45 pm
    • Like27 likes
  12. Profile photo of Zafar Member

    Tim H. (View Comment):
    I have trouble understanding all the uproar about this. How is using one big bomb morally different from using lots of smaller bombs for the same purpose?

    Morally the same, perhaps strategically better (shock and awe) if riskier (eggs, basket).

    But I think this was a pretty good question:

    “How does dropping #MOAB fit into a larger Afghanistan strategy?”

    It can’t take the place of a strategy, or comprise the entire strategy. Or can it?

    • #12
    • April 13, 2017 at 8:47 pm
    • Like4 likes
  13. Profile photo of J. D. Fitzpatrick Member

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:What the left wants is a kinder, gentler bomb, dropped by a thoughtful, sensitive President. A weapon with a streamlined design that looks good staged in a loft between an Eames chair and a midcentury modern liquor cabinet handmade with reclaimed lumber. An explosive that would be dropped ironically as a Wes Anderson soundtrack plays in the background. A bomb that will shower hashtags, emojis, and social justice across Balochistan.

    Brilliant.

    • #13
    • April 13, 2017 at 8:51 pm
    • Like12 likes
  14. Profile photo of Western Chauvinist Member

    profdlp (View Comment):

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: “Some national security experts said that Mr. Trump and the Pentagon risked inflaming anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world with their approach to fighting the Islamic State.” — New York Times

    Over 15 years after 9/11 and they’re worried about that now?

    That ship has sailed, sweetie.

    “Recruitment tool” has to be the most idiotic argument against a show of force. It’s as if these people slept through the Obama years when tens of thousands of young Muslim men joined up with ISIS. Maybe people who don’t get religion shouldn’t be speculating on what might inspire Islamic supremacists.

    Have they never heard the old adage, “weakness inspires aggression?”

    • #14
    • April 13, 2017 at 8:53 pm
    • Like18 likes
  15. Profile photo of Tim H. Member

    Jon Gabriel, Ed. (View Comment):

    Tim H. (View Comment):
    I have trouble understanding all the uproar about this. How is using one big bomb morally different from using lots of smaller bombs for the same purpose?

    It’s the eternal question philosophers have studied since the dawn of time: Would you rather fight one horse-sized duck, or a hundred duck-sized horses?

    Okay, is it a horse-sized rubber duck? Because then I think I have a chance.

    • #15
    • April 13, 2017 at 8:55 pm
    • Like3 likes
  16. Profile photo of jbmnuke Coolidge

    drlorentz (View Comment):

    Jon Gabriel, Ed. [quoting idiot leftist]:

    MOAB yield = 11 tons TNT

    Hiroshima ‘Little Boy’ bomb yield = 15 kilotons TNT

    Misha Collins is off by a factor of 1000.

    Conclusion: progs are terrible at math

    Progs can’t grok math without pictures. (wish I could attribute this visualization but I can’t remember where I got them)

    • #16
    • April 13, 2017 at 8:58 pm
    • Like2 likes
  17. Profile photo of ST Coolidge
    ST

    jbmnuke (View Comment):
    Progs can’t grok math without pictures. (wish I could attribute this visualization but I can’t remember where I got them)

    I am not understand.

    • #17
    • April 13, 2017 at 9:09 pm
    • Like2 likes
  18. Profile photo of JcTPatriot Thatcher

    Washington Post, New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times. Hmmm… But, inquiring snowflake minds want to know, what did Pravda have to say about it?

    • #18
    • April 13, 2017 at 9:14 pm
    • Like3 likes
  19. Profile photo of Judge Mental Member

    JcTPatriot (View Comment):
    Washington Post, New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times. Hmmm… But, inquiring snowflake minds want to know, what did Pravda have to say about it?

    The truth. What else?

    • #19
    • April 13, 2017 at 9:17 pm
    • Like5 likes
  20. Profile photo of Sabrdance Member

    I have no complaints about dropping large bombs on our enemies.

    I would like an explanation of why it is worth spending $16 million on a 22,000 pound bomb filled with 18,700 pounds of explosives, that has the explosive power of 11,000 pounds of dynamite.

    The internet tells me that dynamite goes for $100/pound. We already have to throw the bomb out the back of a cargo aircraft. Why not just throw an even million dollars of dynamite out the back and set it all off at once?

    This is a serious question -I can imagine reasons why one big bomb is more effective than an equivalent amount of dynamite sticks. I’d just like to hear the reasons.

    • #20
    • April 13, 2017 at 9:27 pm
    • Like3 likes
  21. Profile photo of Judge Mental Member

    Sabrdance (View Comment):
    I have no complaints about dropping large bombs on our enemies.

    I would like an explanation of why it is worth spending $16 million on a 22,000 pound bomb filled with 18,700 pounds of explosives, that has the explosive power of 11,000 pounds of dynamite.

    The internet tells me that dynamite goes for $100/pound. We already have to throw the bomb out the back of a cargo aircraft. Why not just throw an even million dollars of dynamite out the back and set it all off at once?

    This is a serious question -I can imagine reasons why one big bomb is more effective than an equivalent amount of dynamite sticks. I’d just like to hear the reasons.

    In this case the over-pressure created by the single explosion is part of what makes it work to take out tunnel complexes.

    • #21
    • April 13, 2017 at 9:29 pm
    • Like11 likes
  22. Profile photo of JcTPatriot Thatcher

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:

    Here is a screenshot of a tiny sliver of Nangahar Province in Afghanistan. I have no idea where they might have dropped the MOAB, so I just put a dot showing how huge (not) the “1 mile across ExplOsion” would look. It’s a one-mile across dot.

    Apparently, this snowflake thinks it could have cracked the world or something.

    • #22
    • April 13, 2017 at 9:36 pm
    • Like3 likes
  23. Profile photo of profdlp Coolidge

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):
    “Recruitment tool” has to be the most idiotic argument against a show of force…

    Agreed.

    A recruitment tool would be something like “Join us – we’re winning because Obama is a wuss.”

    An anti-recruitment tool would be something like “Nobody wants to be on the losing team – I’m sitting this one out.”

    • #23
    • April 13, 2017 at 9:50 pm
    • Like4 likes
  24. Profile photo of Mark Wilson Member

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: “Like the Syria strike, use of the monster munition in Afghanistan is more symbolic than tactical, because it is unlikely to change the course of America’s longest war.” — Los Angeles Times

    Professional foolishness. If it had been detonated as part of an art project or cultural exchange it would have been symbolic. The fact that it was used to execute a specific kinetic mission rather than alter the overall course of the war is precisely what made it tactical.

    • #24
    • April 13, 2017 at 10:00 pm
    • Like10 likes
  25. Profile photo of Paul Dougherty Member

    Dear B-52,

    Here, hold my beer.

    thank you,

    C-130

    • #25
    • April 13, 2017 at 10:04 pm
    • Like20 likes
  26. Profile photo of Zafar Member

    profdlp (View Comment):

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):
    “Recruitment tool” has to be the most idiotic argument against a show of force…

    Agreed.

    A recruitment tool would be something like “Join us – we’re winning because Obama is a wuss.”

    An anti-recruitment tool would be something like “Nobody wants to be on the losing team – I’m sitting this one out.”

    This may be relevant.

    • #26
    • April 13, 2017 at 10:08 pm
    • Like1 like
  27. Profile photo of James Lileks Contributor

    Judge Mental (View Comment):
    In this case the over-pressure created by the single explosion is part of what makes it work to take out tunnel complexes.

    And that’s what makes it evil. Allied casualties: 0. ISIS dudes: many. This isn’t fair.

    What we should have done is send in troops to go through the tunnels, tripping IEDs, suffering casualties, etc. This would not make the papers when it happened, but would make for good backstory a fortnight later when the NYT ran a story about America’s Longest War. The failure to end the war would be clearly Trump’s; the injured vets would be his responsibility; the tunnel fighting would be a call-back to Vietnam; the extent of the tunnel complex would indicate how ISIS was “dug in,” suggesting that they were committed and undefeatible on their turf; the failed attack on the tunnel would bring back memories of Tora Bora, that time when Bush failed to get Bin Laden in the Afghan tunnels. The takeaway would be about a President who came to office with no interest in foreign wars but now found himself in a quagmire of Bush’s creation – with a minor-key, elegiac graf about how Obama had struggled against the same questions, but pursued a policy of local empowerment.

    The deployment of the MOAB was an admission of failure and impotence, you see. It can only embolden our enemies. They will craft propaganda videos that show brave soldiers converted to cave-wall jam because someone in a plane they could not build flicked a switch they could not construct and dropped a device they could not possibly invent. We have them on the ropes, brothers. 

    • #27
    • April 13, 2017 at 10:10 pm
    • Like31 likes
  28. Profile photo of Judge Mental Member

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    Judge Mental (View Comment):
    In this case the over-pressure created by the single explosion is part of what makes it work to take out tunnel complexes.

    And that’s what makes it evil. Allied casualties: 0. ISIS dudes: many. This isn’t fair.

    What we should have done is send in troops to go through the tunnels, tripping IEDs, suffering casualties, etc. This would not make the papers when it happened, but would make for good backstory a fortnight later when the NYT ran a story about America’s Longest War. The failure to end the war would be clearly Trump’s; the injured vets would be his responsibility; the tunnel fighting would be a call-back to Vietnam; the extent of the tunnel complex would indicate how ISIS was “dug in,” suggesting that they were committed and undefeatible on their turf; the failed attack on the tunnel would bring back memories of Tora Bora, that time when Bush failed to get Bin Laden in the Afghan tunnels. The takeaway would be about a President who came to office with no interest in foreign wars but now found himself in a quagmire of Bush’s creation – with a minor-key, elegiac graf about how Obama had struggled against the same questions, but pursued a policy of local empowerment.

    The deployment of the MOAB was an admission of failure and impotence, you see. It can only embolden our enemies. They will craft propaganda videos that show brave soldiers converted to cave-wall jam because someone in a plane they could not build flicked a switch they could not construct and dropped a device they could not possibly invent. We have them on the ropes, brothers.

    I think I may detect a note of sarcasm here.

    • #28
    • April 13, 2017 at 10:21 pm
    • Like2 likes
  29. Profile photo of James Lileks Contributor

    Judging from Twitter, today was a double-punch freak-out: first the GBU, then an NBC report that the US is prepared to smack the Norks if they blow up a nuke. The social-media progressive part of the Twittersphere is practically at Cuban-Missile-Crisis levels of Pamper-dampening.

    What they want is diplomacy.

    It doesn’t seem to occur to them that there was Diplomacy done over dinner with the Chinese President. I’m the last guy to suggest that President Trump laid out an elegant and ingenious route to toppling Kim #3. Xi Jinping is no fool, and I suspect he had the measure of the man before the salads were served. Trump is Khrushchev – a volatile individual backed up by many sober men with lethal capabilities. The game had changed. Of course Xi thought: how do I play this guy? What’s in it for us? Do we manage a reset on the Korean Peninsula so the President’s happy, gets headlines and credit, and we avoid a trade war our economy cannot survive?

    What did I read the other day – Chinese troops appear on the NK border, coal contracts cancelled. Diplomacy.

    Having experienced about 64 Imminent Korean War Situations in the last 30 years, experience says this will just be more can-kicking – but the tempo is interesting. Tomahawks there, a MOAB over here, ships in position, undiplomatic blunt talk – one does admit that events could suddenly turn bright red.

    • #29
    • April 13, 2017 at 10:31 pm
    • Like20 likes
  30. Profile photo of J. D. Fitzpatrick Member

    Zafar (View Comment):

    profdlp (View Comment):

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):
    “Recruitment tool” has to be the most idiotic argument against a show of force…

    Agreed.

    This may be relevant.

    From the article:

    In turn, this relocation has brought radicalisation, violence and crime to the regions of Pakistan where the militants have resettled.

    Ideology 1, Ability to process cause and effect 0

    (I’m talking about the author of the article, Zafar, not you.)

    • #30
    • April 13, 2017 at 10:55 pm
    • Like2 likes
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