At almost 22,000 pounds and a blast radius of nearly 20 miles, the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) clearly deserves the moniker, "Mother of All Bombs."
Conventional bombs explode upon impact. This doozy explodes while in descent, creating an air blast that literally vaporizes targets.
Deemed operational in 2003, neither George W. Bush nor Barack Obama chose to use the highly destructive weapon. President Donald Trump chose to deploy the bomb in Afghanistan. While reports indicate this target, a maze of tunnels and caves hiding ISIS fighters, was destroyed, many believe a second successful mission also was accomplished.
As Lindsey Graham tweeted to the world, “There’s a new sheriff in town!”
As if speaking directly to Assad and Kim Jong Un, Trump played the "mine is bigger than yours" card.
Assad’s reaction took the form of words. Not wanting to be outdone in this very high-stakes power play, Un put on a show of his own. He fired off yet another weapons test. The missile fizzled, but he sent a message of defiance to the world.
While Assad is truly despicable, his type of dictatorship is certainly not unique. We have seen his bent before. But Kim Jong Un is an altogether different animal.
There is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Adam Johnson titled “The Orphan Master’s Son.” It is a truly masterful work, which was meticulously researched and artfully written.
It gives a spine-tingling, goose bump-raising look at the North Korean people and then leader Kim Jong Il. While the time period is during the reign of Un's father, I think it reveals truths about this all but hidden culture and the power that Il and now his son Un have over the people.
Un was raised as the son of a God and was elevated to deity upon the father’s death. Everyone and everything around him supports this belief.
“The Orphan Master’s Son” is not an easy book to read on several levels. Structurally it can get confusing. It depicts the depths to which power-seeking people will sink to achieve their goals. And it exposes a country of brainwashed citizens, cut off from the world and struggling to survive.
Not unlike this dangerous spitting contest we seem to be in with Kim Jung Un, the situation in the book and in reality is immensely complex.
I think our president saw the deployment of this particular bomb as “a two-fer.” Drop this massive bomb, and dramatically illustrate that his campaign promise of hitting ISIS hard was not just talk. Send a message to the “bad guys” that they better not “pull any funny stuff” on his watch.
Assad probably heard it loud and clear, but Un is a whole different creature. He is not only equally ruthless; he is for all intents and purposes an egocentric unknown.
We might have the Mother of all Bombs, but will what we don’t know still hurt us?