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The Parthenon

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Column: MOAB bomb business as usual

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The idea of war denotes something entirely different among groups; however, the question arises of what is and should be considered war in the 21st century.

“It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it,” Robert E. Lee said at Fredericksburg as he viewed the savage battle in 1862.

This does not exactly fit with the military members, although for most of the United States, this quote fits exactly. Unfortunately, the military has become so bureaucratically entrenched with training, computer-based and daily routine, that deployment to a foreign nation is literally viewed as a relief to the tedium of a constant grind simply because it is a different kind of constant grind.

The United States authorized and deployed the largest non-nuclear bomb drop in recorded history Thursday. The target was ISIS in Afghanistan, but it is unclear whether President Donald Trump was aware of the operation until after the fact.

“Everybody knows exactly what happens, and what I do is I authorize my military,” Trump said at a press conference Thursday. “We have the greatest military in the world and they’ve done a job as usual. We have given them total authorization, and that’s what they’re doing.”

While it is speculative to whether Trump was aware or not, he has deferred to the judgment of Secretary of Defense James “Mad Dog” Mattis and the military leaders in place to determine the direction of U.S. forces. While Trump has shown clear faults and a lack of military experience, this has to be one of his better decisions, although is blanket authorization giving away too much power?

Trump went on to praise the military for the success of the past eight weeks, and deemed Thursday’s activities a success. The weapon used, GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb, was designed in 2002 and developed in 2003. The “MOAB,” also referred to as the “Mother of All Bombs,” was designed to be the most powerful non-nuclear weapon ever designed.

The focus at this point has to be does this record-breaking bomb drop actually change anything? Experience leads me to believe it does not change anything, aside from demonstrating resolve and weapons to other nations at most. The target forces of the bomb drop was ISIS, which Trump campaigned that he would fight against, and the area was a remote region of Afghanistan, which the United States has been bombing on and off for more than a decade now.

The bomb itself, 30 feet long and almost 11 tons, was dropped by the United States Air Force Special Operation Command from an MC-130. The target was a remote section of Eastern Afghanistan, the Achin district of the Nangarhar province. While this is still developing and may spiral into something more, it has almost a business as usual feel to it. That fact alone is worrying to whether war is becoming desensitized to the military and portions of the populace.

Joseph Ashley can be contacted at [email protected]

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