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Domonoske writes: "The U.S. has dropped the most powerful conventional weapon ever used in combat to hit an underground ISIS complex in Afghanistan, Pentagon officials say."

Smoke rises from the mountains following an airstrike in Achin district, where the U.S. deployed its largest non-nuclear bomb used in combat on Thursday. (photo: Noorullah Shirzada/Getty)
Smoke rises from the mountains following an airstrike in Achin district, where the U.S. deployed its largest non-nuclear bomb used in combat on Thursday. (photo: Noorullah Shirzada/Getty)


US Drops Biggest Non-Nuclear Bomb Ever Used in Combat on Afghanistan

By Camila Domonoske, NPR

14 April 17

 

he U.S. has dropped the most powerful conventional weapon ever used in combat to hit an underground ISIS complex in Afghanistan, Pentagon officials say.

The nearly 22,000-pound "MOAB" — standing for Massive Ordnance Air Blast, or as it's also known, the "Mother of All Bombs" — was designed during the Iraq War but had never before been used on the battlefield.

The U.S. has used the bomb's predecessor, a smaller but still massive weapon known as the "Daisy Cutter," in Afghanistan before.

The Pentagon says it dropped the MOAB in Nangarhar province at around 7:30 p.m. local time, to counter ISIS efforts to use bunkers and tunnels as defense mechanisms.

"This is the right munition to reduce these obstacles and maintain the momentum of our offensive against ISIS-K," or the Islamic State in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Gen. John Nicholson, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said in a statement.

The Pentagon says the U.S. "took every precaution to avoid civilian casualties" in the strike.

At a news conference Thursday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the bomb used was "a large, powerful and accurately delivered weapon." He declined to comment on whether the U.S. would use the weapon again, in Afghanistan or elsewhere.

Speaking later Thursday, President Trump was asked if he had authorized the bombing. He said he's given the military "total authorization," apparently referencing actions against ISIS in general, and praised the "incredible leaders" of the military.

He said he didn't know if the use of the weapon sent a message to North Korea, and that it "didn't make any difference" if it did or not.

The weapon used Thursday is officially known as the GBU-43B, NPR's Phil Ewing explains:

"The GBU-43B has been in the U.S. arsenal for more than 14 years, deployed to bases in the Middle East where it could be loaded aboard an American aircraft but never used until now. At more than 30 feet long, it's too big to fit inside the weapons bay of a standard Air Force bomber. Instead, troops load it into the cargo compartment of a specialized transport, the MC-130 Combat Talon, which releases it over the target by opening its ramp in the same way it might for paratroopers or air-dropped supplies. The bomb is guided by satellite to its target.

"The MOAB is a replacement for the earlier, smaller, unguided BLU-82 'Daisy Cutter,' which was about 15,000 pounds. The Air Force used Daisy Cutters early in the war in Afghanistan to destroy al Qaeda and Taliban cave complexes, like the ISIS base the Pentagon described destroying in Nangarhar Province on Thursday."

When deployed in combat, the smaller Daisy Cutter could be felt from miles away.

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+6 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2017-04-14 09:55
The target was meaningless and unimportant. But I think the use of this bomb is for the Pentagon a warm-up to the use of a real nuclear bomb. This is a sort of trial balloon, to see how the world responds to a bomb of this size. Up to now, it was never used because of the high likelihood of "collateral damage."

I think Trump and his psychopath generals, who have now been given free reign to run the war just as they like, really are planning a nuclear first strike on N. Korea. They may not be able to do it because of the dire repercussions. But they may not really care about any of that. This is the most dangerous position the world has been in since the nuclear age began.

"The Pentagon says the U.S. "took every precaution to avoid civilian casualties" in the strike."

The Pentagon always says this. It is DoubleSpeak for "we took no precautions at all and we really don't give a shit. Our job is to kill people. The more the better. "
 
 
+1 # CDMR 2017-04-14 19:12
All american administrations have been demanding that North Korea stop its nuclear testing, but the US just began its own nuclear testing in Nevada. It is testing a new generation of smaller nuclear bombs that can be delivered by means of an F-16. This will make nukes tactical and useful in areas where the MOAB or other bunker busters are now used. The MOABS have to be delivered by huge, slow and vulnerable planes like the B-2 or B-52. The F-16 can zip in and drop a nuclear bomb just as it now does with conventional bombs.

This is the start of a new era is warfare. It is clear that conventional bombs, even when they are dropped by the tens of millions of pounds, don't scare anyone into surrender. The Taliban has endured millions of tons of bombs and they are still winning. Battlefield nuclear bombs are the Pentagon's answer to its losing wars. Trump will go for this. He wants to win a war. But tactical nuclear bombs will fail, too.

The US military and government is truly sick. It is the scourge of the earth. The american people are powerless to stop their own military dictatorship. They are just waiting for it to collapse of its own evil.
 
 
+5 # elizabethblock 2017-04-14 10:24
The United States bombs. That's all they do. Bombing doesn't risk American casualties, and foreigners don't count.

There was a Raging Grannies song, some years ago, where every line ended, "Bomb Iraq."
 
 
0 # hectormaria 2017-04-15 08:42
The military was dying (actually, others are dying) to test this monster under actual battle conditions: mission accomplished.
 
 
+1 # librarian1984 2017-04-14 14:55
Total and utter psychopathic bullsh!t, you mofos!

Do NOT do this cr@p in MY name!

Paul Ryan doesn't think men should have to pay for maternity care? Fine. Let's go for the a la carte government menu -- I do not want one more freaking cent of my taxes to go toward bombs or the military ever again. Nothing to spy agencies either.
 

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