Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Friday, April 14, 2017

So the US Dropped a MOAB

There are a lot of comments that can be made about dropping a very big bit of ordinance that hadn't been dropped before, and many of them are on the obvious side. One thing to keep in mind  is that the US has been dropping all kinds of ordinance on Afghanistan for a long time, now. Surely, that this is one big bomb shouldn't distract from the fact that we've dropped hundreds and hundreds of them--sometimes dozens at a time? (Also, it should not need to be said--while bombing destroys buildings and kills and maims people, one can not bomb away something like extremism, fanaticism, or terror.)

There are a lot of good, reasonable facts to think about. One could say that, as with the Syrian airstrikes at the Shayrat airfield, this is a tactic, not a strategy--but strategies are carried out by means of tactics. (We have, from Trump, a stated strategy, after all, with respect to ISIS: "Bomb the shit out of them". It is sketchy and bloodthirsty, that I'll give you.) One could suggest that this is a warning to North Korea that we have the means to do a lot of damage (we also have nukes, which would do far more!) or that this particular bombing is a political distraction. What does seem clear to me is that Trump has given the military broad authorization, and although he has been quick to label this a success, he also doesn't exactly claim direct ownership for authorization of using this specific ordinance at this time.

This also makes a kind of sense based on what he has said--he wanted to claim success regarding the botched Yemen raid while disavowing anything that went wrong during it. There was recent word of a misdirected airstrike in Syria that killed 18 allied fighters. And we've yet to really assess what the outcome will be of an ROE that has an apparently higher tolerance for civilian casualties.

All things considered, I'd be more interested to know what the aftermath is, to use a certain phrase. What and who were hit. And what next?

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