Friday, April 14, 2017

My Military, My MOAB

A Fox News viewer's vehicle yesterday in NJ 
Today many Christians recognize Good Friday.

It marks the Friday before Easter when Jesus was crucified sometime in the 1st century between 30 and 33 AD in what was then known as Judea.

Today we learned that the president that many worried would use a nuke, may actually try and use one.

By the end of today, many more people will become familiar with the term MOAB.

America's president ordered the military to drop what's called (in typical military parlance) a Massive Ordinance Air Blast on what NPR is calling an ISIS target in the Achin district of Nangahar province in eastern Afghanistan.

This ill-advised bombing bugs me in part, because in America, weather-wise this is one of the most beautiful times of the year, when you actually think of errands to run just as an excuse to be outside.

Yesterday I was running one such errand, not far from my apartment I pulled up behind this SUV stopped at a light with two Trump-Pence stickers on the rear windshield and another one that read "Liberalism Is A Mental Disorder" (see photo above).

As I snapped a photo of it to be sure I wasn't in the midst of some kind of progressive-liberal nightmare, I thought to myself, Bill O'Reilly really deserves his extended vacation because he's clearly done his job well.

Trump wasted little time in preening about the bombing, as the New York Times reported, after the attack he bragged to reporters:

"What I do is authorize my military."

Note the use of the possessive, "my military". Like it's now "his."

This from the same guy whose daddy sent him to military school, then later got him a doctor's note that said he had bone spurs on both his heels which ensured he wouldn't get drafted in the 1960's and get sent to Vietnam.

The bone spurs later magically healed themselves once America's combat role in Vietnam ended.

In what would eventually become a disturbing snapshot of the actual presidency, back in August, the day after the New York Times published an article on the tough-talking war-hawk's sketchy military history (we see you W), Trump told a crowd that a conservative U.S. Vietnam veteran had conveniently approached the-then candidate and given him his Purple Heart medal.

Later, cradling the medal theatrically in front of a crowd, he had the gall to remark, "I always wanted to get the Purple Heart. This way was much easier." 

U.S. soldiers chilling out with the MOAB
Yup. That's the guy who ordered the military to drop the MOAB - which sounds like some alien creature that Spock tried to mind-meld with on Star Trek.

According to Wikipedia, Trump's new friend the MOAB, or GBU-43/B, is just over 30-feet long and weighs about 22,600 pounds.

Developed in 2003, its only been used against a target once before. By Trump.

It's so big it has to be dropped out of a modified C-130 normally used to carry cargo; it contains explosive material equal to about 11 tons of TNT.

According to a former military adviser who served under George W. Bush named Marc Garlasco:

 "The U.S. never dropped the MAOB in Iraq due to collateral damage concerns. I was on the targeting term that considered it."  

Even the Bush administration, which arguably had a high tolerance for civilian casualties during military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, had misgivings about using the MOAB.

In the coming days, the likelihood of a violent improvised terrorist attack that kills innocent people was made more likely by the man who calls himself president, and the news will be dark.

It's already happened just outside of Jerusalem where a 21-year old British exchange student named Hannah Bladon was fatally stabbed by a 57-year-old Palestinian man named Jamal Tamimi from a mostly-Arab section of Jerusalem.

There's a ghoulish-narcissistic aspect to Trump's foreign policy, random reactionary military attacks with no apparent long-term strategy or cooperation with Congress coupled with an intentionally-defunded and understaffed Department of State headed by a press-shy former oil company CEO.

Using the military as a substitute for diplomacy, negotiations and state-craft is a recipe for disaster.

A MOAB test bombing in Utah
It's not my place to judge the global security experts, military personnel and politicians in terms of how to deal with terrorist groups like ISIS.

I couldn't begin to fathom how to draft a plan to defeat ISIS and eliminate their ability to take innocent lives.

But making the decision to drop the MOAB, on the start of one of the holiest times of the year for multiple religions borders on lunacy.

It's as erratic as the Trump White House.

It did not make us safer.

Trump's efforts to use his authority to order military attacks to dominate the news cycle and deflect attention on the ties to Russia between him, his family and an alarming number of his top advisors and staff, is going to get a lot of innocent people killed.  

If I didn't know better it looks an awful lot like the Trump administration wants to prompt ISIS to commit some kind of heinous terrorist attack in order for 45 to unleash the military industrial complex upon the mideast.

After campaigning by repeatedly lambasting other politicians and Hillary Clinton for the overseas military conflicts in the middle east.

As I write this I'm listening to a discussion on NPR about the implications of this bombing and as one of the guests observed, Trump has sipped from the cup of war and he clearly likes the taste.

Last week it was 59 cruise missiles, yesterday it was a MOAB.

God help us all.

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