American Overkill


The dropping of the ‘Mother of All Bombs’ in remote Afghanistan was “another successful military event” according to US President Donald Trump, even before it was known how much damage was done and how many insurgents were killed.

The Mother of All Bombs in question, the Massive Ordnance Air Blast or MOAB, is custom made and cost $16 million each, with additional development costs of $316million for the 20 in existence. This is the first time this huge conventional weapon has been used in active military conflict, and is the biggest non-nuclear bomb ever used in ‘combat’. This week’s MOAB deployment was a generally unexpected intensification of force in Afghanistan, and killed just 36 suspected Islamic State (IS) fighters in three remote cave tunnels near the Pakistan border.

Donald Trump has vowed to ‘stamp out Islamic State militants once and for all’, a license to keep bombing all over the place, forever, and a similar pledge of many regime leaders before him in Afghanistan, ‘the graveyard of empires’, who have failed too. Apparently though, there are only an estimated 600-1500 IS fighters in Afghanistan, though Taliban fighters have recently regained significant ground from US, Nato and Afghani forces. All the same, the Mother of All Bombs was dropped in an area where a 37-year-old American Green Beret soldier was killed by an Improvised Explosive Device last week. American deaths will be atoned. But that’s a lot of money and a lot of fire power to avenge the death of a soldier. At $16million a bomb, that’s ‘overkill’.

The MOAB is 10 metres long, weighs 10,000 kilos and contains 8,000 kilos of explosives, compared with a conventional bomb weighing about 250kg. Despite an air burst blast impact a mile outwards in each direction, the MOAB has been found to be not ‘indiscriminate’ under the Law of Armed Conflict. That’s because it’s launched from a cargo plane with a parachute, and guided by GPS to within eight metres of its target. The blast is designed to collapse tunnels and bunkers and ‘obliterate enemy personnel’. It has the potential to cause ‘colossal collateral damage’ which is apparently why it has previously never been used. Developed at the start of the Iraq war, it was designed to deter and intimidate the enemy through an overwhelming display of force, a weapon of shock and awe.

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After the MOAB was dropped this week, President Trump commended the military, and suggested the recent intensification of force is a positive result of giving the military more latitude to act independently. He approves of the action, but doesn’t necessarily authorise the act. However, Trump’s critiques say he was looking for a distraction from impeachment threats and scandals involving Russia. Military observers say if the deployment of this bomb was really about Islamic State, it would have targeted Syria or Iraq, not Aghanistan where IS are a recently established, and barely credible, force.

Other observers agree there is nothing random about the timing of this unprecedented show of conventional military firepower, given the gearing up of tensions between the US and China, North Korea, Russia and Syria. This is sabre rattling at its most profound. Professor John Blaxland, the Head of Strategic and Defence Studies at the Australian National University, said “this increasing threshold of violence” can only have knock on, unintended consequences, creating greater instability and international uncertainty, but still fails to deal with core issues causing failed states, anti-Western antagonism, and anarchy in the Middle East and around the world.

So far, 3,500 Western coalition service members have been killed in military engagement in Afghanistan. Tens of thousands of Afghani civilian lives have been lost. The US invasion cost $686billion as of 2014. Support for the Afghani army has cost the US $60billion. $110billion has been spent on reconstruction. Yet there’s no more ‘peace’ in Afghanistan than there ever was, and the security situation remains precarious.

During the American election just months ago, Donald Trump glibly stated his military strategy regarding IS; ‘bomb the shit out of them’. Using the Mother of All Bombs in Afghanistan flexes American muscle and shows just how willing its military leaders are to use their own weapons of mass destruction to lead and respond to the violent pack. What further terror this will cause, within current theatres of war, and on home soil, remains to be seen.

The new Sheriff is patrolling the global street, pulling out his guns at every turn. Unconcerned about overkill, a more secure world through superior American firepower seems unlikely.


  1. Time to declare neutrality, maintain some kind of navy and army for civil defence, aid to our neighbours in times of natural disaster, policing our fisheries.
    Austerity for the military!
    Lets invest in NZ becoming a force for peace in the world, an end to arms fairs, instead hosting peace conferences and mediation
    Shut down 5 eyes, we only need protection because we’ve made ourselves targets, and lets face it the Americans wouldn’t come to save us anyway.
    Lets make ourselves famous for the quality of our university courses, turning out top notch diplomats and negotiators, well versed in international law, history, culture and peace promotion
    Let us be known for our cutting edge climate change research
    , remediation, environmental protection, clean and ethical food production
    Someone has to be a beacon in these dangerous times.
    It could be us, a country we could be proud of!
    I think its doable, if only enough of us get a bit of courage and stand up to be counted

      • Disagree. Any of you stop to think what if the yanks would intitiate regime change? I for one do not discount the theory. What would be the response? Less military?

        Because at no time ever, when a suoer power points weapons at you, do you demiliterize

        • Sam
          If your referring regime change NZ , then that could well be on the cards were a NZ govt to take back control of banking , money supply , trade balance, and resources. But only after all else failed.
          But no military that we can produce would be any protection in that case. It would just allow the claim of a military “threat” .
          Presuming they still had the semblance of a democracy attacking a country where there are no military targets at all would not go down well with the American public.
          D J S

          • Quote from DWP16:

            1.19 Given its strong connections with South Pacific countries, New Zealand has an enduring interest in regional stability. The South Pacific has remained relatively stable since 2010, and is unlikely to face an external military threat in the foreseeable future. However, the region continues to face a range of economic, governance, and environmental challenges. These challenges indicate that it is likely that the Defence Force will have to deploy to the region over the next ten years, for a response beyond humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

            What “beyond humanitarian assistance means” to me is a bit ambiguous. NZDF has invested of late in our overseas deployments which is running counter to humanitarian and disaster relief and for a small armed services with a small budget, dropping a capability surely means the capability to operate as part of a reconstruction team is dropped or patrol days in our region suffers.

            The Canterbury has a lot of work to do, it’s taught us many things, we can’t patrol, be ready for quick deployment in an emergency, train for emergencies or conduct deep maintenance, so we can only do one thing at a time, meaning we do not have a capability, we have a hobby.

            And this is one example of why we give NZDF jurisdiction beyond our exclusive economic zome.

            • Hi Sam
              If the quote implies that we must be prepared to emulate US type activities in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya , here in our region , I much prefer Francesca’s plan.
              D J S

              • It’s a consequence of an army centric focus on doctrine/kit/funding. For years now treasury and pollies have been saying an army centric NZDF is cheaper. Thats plainly false for good reasons. We don’t pay our maintance bills, then treasury says it will be cheaper to upgrade, only thing is almost all quoted prices for upgrades are just starting points and end up costing more in over runs for different reasons, one reason is award wages are always low balled, its like where can I get a quilified wielder for $2.50, defence contractors really do quote these kinds of prices for wages so they can spend $10,000 on a hammer.

                So instead of spending around 1 billion per hull on ANZAC frigate procurements and through life upgrades like the aussies did. Treasury through some enlightened accounting thoery sold the ANZACs to the NZ public for 2 billion per RNZN Anzac frigate.

                It’s so problematic you have to be a genius not to see it.

                All throught DWP16, defence spending is said to barley move past 1%. Countries like Norway spend about 1% GDP on defence and they have been able to maintain a level of readiness all year around where NZDF has gaps. And the reason Norway can maintain a higher readiness has little to do with propaganda models, that is because they have access to cheap old soviet block era labour (I estimate about 60% of Norways defence dollars go into R&D, they can do that because manufacturing labour costs are low) Im not saying we should be like norway, I’m saying that New Zealands defence dollar is not being put to intelligent use.

                By now there can be no doubt that climate data has been watered down. Learning from a perspective of Crawl/walk/run means humanitarian disaster & relief (HDAR)missions from a standing start can be difficult to recover from. The 2005 New Orleans hurrican reduced New Orleans population by about 200,000 people and the united states is considered a rich country. And this is an example of HDAR response at a crawling pace.

                With a lot of hard work and complex decision making processes, I should be able to say it will take about 10 years for Christchurch to fully recover from the seismic events in 2010 and this is an example of a proper HDAR response at a walking pace.

                The most recent major seismic events off that crippled the south Island was remarkable because by my standards the regions most effected, from my perspective at least have recovered, and before the next winter hit, because cold down there. And thats an example of deploying commercial off HDAR response at a running pace.

                Learning from this perspective of crawl/walk/run took Queensland state emergency service (SES) approximately 10 years from the time the previous Queensland State Premier Paul Newman, assumed office on a pledge to deal with Queensland inadequate flood relief efforts because previous climate data had been watered down meaning tens of billions in unnecessary insurance claims was reduced too hundreds and hundreds of millions.

                Learning about typical HDAR responses from a perspective of crawl/walk/run means, population decrease/crawl, recovery in 10 years/walk, recovery in 1 year/run. Learning from this perspective can take 10 years with proper procurement & development of the right aim, carful cultivation of the desired learning perspective is a fundamental.

                So New Zealand has proven we can respond to natural disasters at a running pace. This months weather events up and down New Zealand presents us with an opportunity to test whether our fast paced disaster responses was a fluke or not.

            • Ambiguous? Really? So there hasn’t been a single coup, or civil war break out in the pacific ever?

              East Timor was a figment of our imagination? How many other examples are there that we were just fantasising about?

              • There’s been a lot of amalgamation and funding restrictions since 2005 when the NH90’s where delevered late, the transmissions in the armies light vehicle fleet needed replacing almost immediately so they should be scraped so we can double the armies truck fleet. A number of training incidents, lack of super vision. Lots of mistakes went into our two light infantry battalions and mounted rifle company I agree.

                How useful all this is will be, will depend on the future air mobility project and the cantabury replacement, these two projects represent about 3 or 4 billion dollars, that will cover tactical and strategic airlift, maritime patrols/interdictions/search & rescue and sea lift. That will set the tone for NZDF who should be able to put 150 properly motivated personal anywhere with in 10,000ks of auckland with in 5 days, or 1 month beyond 10,000ks and anything they might need for 2 years.

                All this falls under a joint forces command so instead of three armed services competing for the same resources, each capability can be looked at in terms of interoperability, so one pallete system for example that can be transported by army vehicals and loaded onto RNZN ships or RNZA future air mobility project.

                And this is not hypothetical at all. What people tend to argue most about is whether our palletsystem can be used in conjunction with the US or not. But first I wont one that wirks for us.

        • ” Any of you stop to think what if the yanks would intitiate regime change?”…

          What do you think John Key was doing here?

          Of course, NZ is in the perfect position to spend the billions required to give any invading force pause… Certainly!! Especially as we have been gifted record levels of debt in order to pay off those who paid good money to own the national party in the first place..

          And what part of the Warner bros subsidiary NZ would the yanks want to change? The bit where our “government” rolls over to have its tummy tickled at their request? Maybe The stooge who replaced Key in order to allow him to skip out on war crimes charges hasn’t shouted “how high” loud enough when they order him to jump?

          One really needs to go outside Barry Sopers “news” items to understand reality in the real world….

          • Vote budget15 says we are going to spend about 16 billion on health, 11 billion on education, 1.4 billion on defence so about 30 billion. You’ve got to be one hell of a rip off to be able to spend so much and get so little in return.

            I mean maori are well aware of how strong opposition to social reforms is in the last 40 years for reasons other than defence. So activists for example some times stand opposed to NZDF, so if NZDF has less to do, activists have fewer reason to be triggered.

    • Meanwhile, in the real world, the NZ Navy has just refueled the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem in the South China Sea so it can continue its threatening mission without interruption. This is another region where Trump no doubt intends to wreak havoc to show the world who is the boss.

    • The Navy would and its jurisdiction is defined in law as would the jurisdiction of a future Maritime Enforcement agency. The maritime protection agency would likely not have vessels larger than 30m and 100 tonne. I strongly suspect this was the culprit that ordered the navies now early retired inshore patrol vessel that use to look after the NZG’s needs within 24nm under NZ civil, public and criminal law and the other under the laws, treaties and conventions of armed conflict, humanitarian law, and the laws of the sea beyond the 24nm. New Zealand has a large area of responsibility that stretches from the Fiji to the south pole, so out past 24nm, thats why the Navy gets big boy toys.

    • We need a Defence Force with a combat component in all three branches.

      But other than that, I like the idea of adopting a third way in foreign policy where New Zealand is not taken by China or the U.S. or anyone else in terms of being privy to their global agenda’s. I like the idea of putting the Pacific island nations first.

      We do need to stay good mates with Australia though. But I think they will understand if we focus on the South Pacific – something that will not be understood in Washington or Beijing.

    • So Francesca, do you really think that a womanising warmonger like trump would close down the lynch-pin of the US security apparatus, the Five Eyes? Get a grip. Trump is part of the establishment, you just haven’t woken up to it yet.

      • extraordinary statement
        Of course Trump is part of the establishment or deep state.Where did you get the idea I needed waking up to that ?!!
        What can they do to us?
        Nuke us?
        We’re not going to get a trade agreement with them so they can’t hang that one on us.Are you suggesting we should just roll over?
        We left ANZUS and never went back
        Come on ,time to stop being so gutless

  2. The US military-industrial complex will be well satisfied, now that Rump has actually demonstrated his allegiance to the MIC and is promoting war-without-end.

    There will be plenty of short-term profits for corporations until the US picks on a nation or group that can defend themselves.

  3. Yes Christine,

    Point well expressed.

    If the Russians had have deployed this monster weapon guess what the media would have said???

    “MSM would have said Russians are barbarians and animals”

    Then the MSM would condone using those guided missiles with Nuclear heads now installed and bristling with NATO backing all pointed at heartland Russia as they now have installed those missiles all around the Russians western border now.

    Talk about “double standards”!!!!

    It makes the world that much more dangerous every day from now on.

    • How do you talk about double standards when the thing you are talking about ( If the Russians had deployed etc) hasn’t happened.

  4. Time to disassociate ourselves from the USA War Machine and USA Imperialism.

    Now our Commander in Chief John Rambo Key has resigned to spend more time with his wife and family, hopefully Billy English will take stock of where NZ stands in the World and reappraise our global military ties. However Bomber Brownlee was probably wetting his pants watching the Mother of All Bombs (MOAB) being dropped on Aghanistan.

  5. It’s about time people woke up to the reality that Trump is as Establishment as his predecessors. His willingness to use mega-weapons and engage in sabre-rattling of the coast of North Korea reveals that he is another George Bush. Remember him?

    • ….the US plans to deploy some 180 of the B61-12 precision-guided thermonuclear bombs to five European countries as follows:

      Belgium – 20;

      Germany -20;

      Italy – 70;

      Netherlands – 20;

      Turkey -50;

      … although in light of recent developments, and this weekend’s Turkish referendum which may grant Erdogan what are effectively dictatorial powers, it may consider reassessing the Turkish deployment.

      And not just a nuclear bomb, a thermonuclear bomb.

      I wonder how many people appreciate the difference?

      No wonder the US are reconsidering deploying 50 of them to Turkey.

  6. Idiot puppets are the world leaders . Leaders put in power for a group of moneylenders that profit off these perpetual wars( that NZ sends troops to and currently is not seen as separate military to Washington wherever washington goes NZ troops go ).
    Nationalizing humanity and reducing human beings into “American, Russian and NZ” for these wars is the MSM strategy for war.

    • Technical analysis: cup and handle.

      Fundamental guys would have started trading out at 151 after the technical bounce at 150.3 and let the rest ride.

      One should never feel bad about taking profit, only day traders do that and they make no money at all (4 out of ten trades like that will send you back to the doll queue and thats low balling, day traders cant even get 9/10 right) it’s true that there are lots of unrealised gains but they are unrealised. It should be treated as just a number to borrow against.

      Presented with political fairy dust trump could lead a moon expedition but that wont make up for the trillion dollars the military industrial complex destroys every year. Iraq is still waiting for those schools

      • Correction. Day traders find it difficult to get 1 trade idea out of ten right. It’s like kicking to touch all the time, you just giving the ball away

    • from that article; “As The Palmer Report notes, “. . . according to this report from Business Insider (link), Donald Trump owned stock in Raytheon up through at least the start of the presidential election cycle. There is no record that he subsequently sold that stock”.”

      Trump is a capitalist. There are vast profits to be made in the arms industry. Does anyone seriously think that a billionaire capitalist would curtail the trade in lethal weaponry? Or swell down his investments?

      He still has control of his vast business holdings and he’ll be making a buck from his position.

      Anyone who thinks he won’t is delusional.

  7. ” Neutrality ” ? We’d last five minutes. That’s like saying ” I’m a fat, flightless bird. I know I’m in a cage full of hungry cats on one side and hungry stoats on the other yet I claim neutrality”
    I sometimes muse what life would be like if all nations under the threat of American aggression just disarmed. The U$A is, after all, simply a big , nasty Business. It’s a corporate psychopath on steroids and chillingly, every bomb dropped, every bullet fired, every new weapons technology developed is a dollar for the subcontractors to the U$A military industrial complex. What spin could they, the U$A, put on the justification of waring against an unarmed opponent? My hope would be that the American people themselves would start to ask serious questions of the U$A Deep State and that, in turn, just might cause the U$A to implode. You honestly think a dope like trump could run this particular show? C’mon? He couldn’t wipe his arse without detailed maps and instructions. The pouting, orange peacock couldn’t make a head of state decision if his shallow life depended upon it. So, who’s really pulling the strings? In answer to my own question, with a question. Who’s the wealthiest American and what are their global connections? Because honestly? If it’s American? It’s all about the money.
    We all know how long , how wide, how heavy and how much BOOM power the ‘ Mother of all Bombs’ was, just dropped on I imagine, surprised, burrowing Afghanis but how much did it cost? “Oi vey ? How much ?? OMG ! Quick! Drop another! “

    • yeah like Switzerland without the dodgy money, like Costa Rica, like Leichtenstein, like Ireland, like Sweden,Turkmenistan

      • It’s OK occasionally to stay 1 night in a Dystopian hellhole like Frankfurt on the way back to Paradise. Reminds me why I moved to Perth. Never thought I’d struggle to find a Frankfurter in Frankfurt airport. Only available in Business Class lounge. Thats a luxury item in cultural marx land! Amazing!

        So you can have neutrality when you sort out a proper labour theory of value.

  8. Back to the “wild west” eh folks?

    NATO who are broke as their EU countries are not paying their contribution are delighted that USA is now leading the charge against all enemies it sees as theirs.

    Silly bloody USA, they will bankrupt themselves entirely now.

    Best we stay unhinged to anyone here now.

  9. An entire valley blown to smithereens. Besides the so-called IS fighters, how much life was extinguished. How many millions of creatures in that surrounding valley? How many farm animals, small mammals, invertebrates, earthworms? This is what apocalypse looks like, the scorched earth of Vietnam, the open war on nature, the decimation of all ecology to destroy the ‘enemy’. We are witnessing the buildup to the nuclear anthropocene.

    • agreed
      If we’re going to survive,we’re going to have to take the next evolutionary step, a change in our consciousness,of how we view the world.At the moment we seem to think the world is just an endless Warehouse,with all living creatures just items for us to consume

  10. ‘On the morning of April 4th 2017, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, on the verge of a military victory against the terrorist insurgency in his country and on the eve of peace talks that would secure his position as president, decided to use chemical weapons he didn’t have against a target of no military significance in front of as many cameras as possible to cross the one red line that would insure his own government’s downfall.

    Soon after, the Academy Award-winning White Helmets–noted for their Oscar-worthy performances, persistent proximity to Al Qaeda, and financial dependence on USAID–bravely risked their lives, handling Sarin victims barehanded against every protocol in the book.

    Without presenting a shred of evidence, President Donald Trump boldly launched a military strike against Shayrat airfield because “national security interest,” promising to help the “beautiful children” (*offer does not apply to babies in Gaza, Yemen, Pakistan, or basically anywhere else).

    That military strike, a volley of 59 Tomahawk land attack missiles of which 23 actually made it to their target, failed to take out a single runway or even keep the airbase from operating for even 24 hours, but was a complete success for ExxonMobil, Raytheon and Donald Trump.
    No one could question the wisdom of striking Syria (except Donald Trump). And no one could oppose such a move (except Russia).

    The Trump Train, still convinced by candidate Trump (“dropping bombs on Assad” and “look what happened after Gaddafi“)  concluded that this was 7th dimensional backgammon to make China afraid of the US’ willingness to spend $100 million in a fearsome show of failing to destroy a single airfield.

    Throughout the world people rejoice as a horrible secular regime in the Middle East is replaced by yet another peace-loving band of ragtag human rights campaigners and child beheaders motivated by a desire to subdue the armies of Rome in an apocalyptic confrontation in Dabiq. (*actual ISIS belief)

    The chemicals for the previous “red line” attack in Syria have since been proven to come from Libya with US approval, but that’s probably not relevant to this case.

    The CIA has released declassified report after declassified report showing that the plan to topple Syria’s government has been in the works for decades, but this just shows that they were right all along.
    The mainstream media unquestioningly asserts that the story is true because the US government says so, but that’s OK because we all know the msm is full of unbiased truthtellers and dig hard to get the raw facts on every story. (“beauty of our weapons“)

    Even members of congress think the story is a load of hogwash, but that’s OK because they’re probably crazy.

    Meanwhile the White House has released a report on its intelligence about the chemical attack that refutes its own version of the story, but that’s OK because when has the White House ever lied people into war?
    This man doesn’t exist, and if you think he does you’re an enemy of humanity who should apologize for having been born. Likewise him, her, her, him and him. And him and her.

    This is the 100% true story of the #SyriaStrikes, and if you support sites like The Corbett Report that question it in any way you are a moonbeam fake news tyrant-loving hippy pinko Russian agent and should commit ritual suicide immediately.

    If you love your country and/or liberty, NASCAR, supermodels, TV, water slides or your mother you will not question this story in any way. Ever.

    This message has been brought to you by the Friends of the Brookings Institute, Raytheon, Genie Oil, Oded Yinon, I-CIA-SIS and The New York Times.


  11. So what are we going to do in view of all this? What are New Zealanders prepared to do for promoting peace and alternative solutions of global problems? It appears there has never been a more urgent time in this new millennium to fight for peace, and to fight against arms races, against military spending and such violent “resolution” of disputes.

    Perhaps people need to pull their heads out of the sand, and take a clear stand, and forget their consumerist and other preoccupations, and protest against ALL powers that use bombs and other material to address issues all over the world. At least we can be proud of being nuclear free, and this stand must be defended for eternity, so we do at least have that protection from nuclear powered and nuclear armed vessels and planes not coming here.

    But also should we consider protesting against unreasonable, excessive use of weapons at all times when they occur, and stand outside consulates and embassies of for instance the US, Russia and China, and criticise their actions when they occur.

    Simply dropping a huge MOAB on tunnel systems used by alleged ISIS fighters in eastern Afghanistan will not solve the danger those extremists and terrorists pose, it will instead only motivate more to join such groups, as they will consider the US handling of such issues as arrogant, ruthless and brutal.

    It is “a bit rich” for the US leaders, diplomats and negotiators to go around the world claiming they defend and promote democracy, human rights and the rule of law, when at other times it ignores international laws and human rights and so by simply using unreasonable means.

    It seems like the War on Drugs, it will turn out to be ineffective, what they are doing at present, and what they have done so often in the past.

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