By Nake M. Kamrany.
and Chris Smiley, University of Florida, Independent Filmmaker and Journalist
The U.S. dropping the Mother of All Bombs in Afghanistan (MOAB, which comes from original term Massive Ordinance Air Blast) is reminiscent of the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, 1945. Was the dropping of this massive bomb, the most powerful non-nuclear bomb America has, a rational response on a village that probably had a few hundred ISIS soldiers? Was the U.S. response disproportionate to the issue at hand?
At this time, the majority of the Afghan population was anticipating an end to 16 years of U.S./NATO occupation of their country. They expected president Trump to end the arguably immoral war launched by President George Bush and continued by President Barack Obama. Instead, the United States military dropped the largest bomb, the mother of all bombs. This weapon of mass destruction was ordered by General John Nicholson to be delivered to Afghanistan under President Obama prior to the inauguration of President Trump in early 2017.
This demand for justice is not only for human rights alone, it is for the right to clean air and skies, the right to the earth which was contaminated. These bombs contaminate and demolish everything that thrives on earth. Former President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai told Al Jazeera,” “This was an inhuman act, a brutal act against an innocent country, against innocent people, against our land, against our sovereignty, against our soil and against our future. A bomb of that magnitude has consequences for the environment, for our lives, for our plants, for our water, for our soil – this is poison.”
Humanity should be indignant about the dropping of this devastating bomb; its use should be made illegal. The MOAB shakes the ground like a massive earthquake and wipes out everything within a mile. Was is it necessary and rational to drop this 22,000 pound bomb costing $36 million to kill 90 people who were suspected of being ISIS?
A few years ago, we interviewed U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrbacher who told us about a briefing he had about the surge in Afghanistan where he made a rational point that is rarely interjected in the dialogue of this war amongst the decision makers. When the generals told him the surge would cost 30 billion dollars per year he responded, “General, 30 billion dollars! You give me 5 billion dollars and I can bribe every political person and village leader in that country and they will wave American flags as we leave.” “30 billion dollars!” he said again in disbelief, “to put more military equipment there and antagonize people, this is ridiculous!”
This point, like all rationality, is thrown to the side as the war continues. It is not that these simple and rational points are not understood by the U.S., it’s that “they don’t want to get it,” as activist Cindy Sheehan told us. Dr. Miroslav Nincic, professor emeritus of political science at UC Davis, described to us how our leaders think in terms of war and politics, “It’s more of a board game, than a matter of directly experienced human destruction and suffering.”
The MOAB and delivery cost was approximately $40 million. The bomb allegedly killed 94 ISIS members (a number modified by Afghan officials from a previous estimate of 36) out of a total of 600 to 800 ISIS believed to be in Afghanistan, costing approximately a half million dollars per ISIS killed. The mission (much like the war itself) must be deemed an utter failure and a waste of resources considering the cost and the results. The U.S. casualty count in the war thus far is 2,394 killed and over 20,000 wounded with the bill to U.S. taxpayers a staggering $1 trillion. Over 30,000 Afghan civilians and over 25,000 Afghan security forces have been killed with immeasurable environmental and infrastructure damage. This massive bomb, 16 years of occupation and war, and the enormous damages sustained by the Afghan population will only cause more Afghans to be radicalized or emigrate out of the country prolonging the war and perpetuating violence.
During a congressional hearing, Senator John McCain asked U.S. General John Nicholson about the status of the Afghanistan war. The general answered that the war was a stalemate, and victory will come when we reduce the insurgency population. So dropping the mother of all bombs was the solution to change the stalemate? The bomb killed about 90 people but how many more will become enraged at this act, yet another horrifically violent action by the US, and end up joining or supporting the insurgency?
The United States government and military has been given more latitude to decide horrendous military actions without civilian control. There was never a formal declaration of war by congress on Afghanistan and even when combat operations were declared concluded in late 2014 we have still seen a continued military occupation and engagement. So who do we even hold accountable anymore? Who is authorizing these things? And more importantly, why don’t we know?