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Decision to drop MOAB was a mistake

In response to the dropping of the Massive Ordinance Air Blast weapon a.k.a. Mother Of All Bombs (MOAB) last week, Donald Trump recently told reporters, “If you look at what’s happened over the last eight weeks and compare that to what’s really happened over the last eight years, you’ll see there is a tremendous difference.”

This statement makes me wonder if Trump can remember events before 2009.

If he can, then he should be able to recall that using airpower to combat large terrorist groups hasn’t really worked out for us. Bombing Afghanistan in 1998 did not destroy al-Qaeda. Bombing Afghanistan in 2001 did not eradicate the Taliban. In fact, it’s been 16 years and the Taliban is still in Afghanistan.

After such a rich history of failures, I’m not sure why the Trump administration thinks using a bigger bomb would make a difference.

The impact of the MOAB on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) forces exemplifies the ineffectiveness of using airpower against terrorist groups. ISIL is estimated to have 20,000 to 25,000 fighters. Dropping the MOAB killed 94 of them. Eliminating a tiny fraction of the opposition doesn’t justify the force of a weapon; it renders it excessive. ISIL will recruit 94 members within weeks but the rebuilding of houses destroyed by the MOAB will take months.

Similarly, the recent U.S. missile strike on a Syrian airbase caused little damage to the actual base but did kill nine civilians, including four children.

This excessive use of force isn’t saving anyone. This show of airpower isn’t about international justice, it’s about political gain.

The Trump administration doesn’t care about protecting people — it cares about establishing the U.S. as a hegemon.

This is nothing new. Many U.S. administrations have done this. The only “tremendous difference” here is how Trump discusses military action.

When asked about the Syrian missile strikes, Trump incorrectly stated, “We’ve just launched 59 missiles heading to Iraq.” He then went on to applaud U.S. technology by championing it as “better than anybody by a factor of five.”

When asked if he himself authorized dropping the MOAB, he skirted the question and instead praised the military as the greatest “in the world.”

Consistent with his campaign, Trump ignores facts and is quick to associate himself with the greatness of America instead. While past administrations have used military force to establish the nation as a hegemon, Trump is using military force to establish himself as the hegemon.

The nationalist rhetoric Trump uses here is the same rhetoric he used in his campaign, which makes me wonder if dropping the MOAB wasn’t just another campaign maneuver. After all, Trump is already registered to campaign for the 2020 presidential election. It’s never too early to start.

Lydia Schwartz, a Contributing Writer for the Voice, can be reached for comment at

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One Response to “Decision to drop MOAB was a mistake”

  1. Mike Crowe says:

    Tristan: The idea of a Voice editorial not criticizing a Republican presidential policy would be like a day without orange juice. As a 1987 graduate of the College of Wooster, I have never once seen a single instance of a COW comment from THE VOICE or from the college professors that ever suggested a tolerance for conservative thought, Republican policies or one endorsing a conservative guest speaker to visit the campus. Not one.

    The world is governed by the aggressive use of force. France has shown every ounce of ambivalence toward Islamic immigration, with limited scrutiny. Yet it remains the easiest target for Islamic terrorism. It has over 10,000 on its “terror watch list” right now. On a recent business trip to Las Cruces NM, I chatted with a French woman who told me she kissed the ground when she got back to the States from a Paris trip. And why shouldn’t she, she now lives in the greatest nation on the face of the earth.

    The US is worth defending, Tristan. Its interests are worth defending. You might not dismiss the evil, tyrannical leaders in the world who have no accountability when they slaughter their own people. You might believe that the ISIS is “just a JV team.” You might believe the US doesn’t need to defend its southern border. You might trust the dictator in North Korea. You might dismiss the fact that 4 billion earn less than $3 per day mostly due to the lack of private property rights and dictatorships. But do you realize what happened on 2/26/93? The Twin Towers in NYC were bombed and Clinton treated it as a crime, not an act of war.

    Trump won 30 of 50 states. He won 2600 counties compared to about 490 for Clinton. He won 4 million more votes than Hillary in 47 states–outside of NY, Massachusetts and CA. Democrats could barely bring themselves to vote for her. Trump may not be a polished CEO that voters may have anticipated, but he is head and shoulders above a liberal political party that desires to render the US as just another name on the role call at the United Nations.

    I submit to you that foreign entanglements in the Middle East are messy. But Obama’s retreat made matters worse and ISIS grew on HIS watch during the withdrawal. Declaring the US involvement in war as “over” does not mean the enemy is done fighting. Obama may be very cool, but a little honesty and a willingness to use the military threat as a tool to modify the behavior of enemies can be useful.

    Fifty-five million people died in WWII. Many were innocent civilians. The US defeated Hitler and saved Europe even though we were not directly attacked by Germany. War is hell. But the notion we can retreat from those who tell us they wish to destroy us is not a solution.


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