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MOAB: Media Obsessed About Bomb

GBU-43/B MOAB creates absurd media frenzy

Illustration by Arunlal Soman

Illustration by Arunlal Soman

Arunlal Soman

Arunlal Soman

Illustration by Arunlal Soman


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They call it the “Mother Of All Bombs,” and The GBU-43/B MOAB (Massive Ordnance Air Burst) certainly is a big one, but after the past few days, I’ve come to believe that cable-news media may not understand the concept of “hyperbole.”

If you haven’t been watching cable-news lately, I don’t blame you, but if you have, then you may have seen breathless stories and panels full of generals discussing the dropping of this particular bomb. So enraptured were they by the bomb with the cool nickname, they began asking President Trump if he had personally ordered or signed off on dropping it, and “whether it was sending a message to (ISIS, Iran, North Korea)” because big “bomb” plus “Trump” equals “hyped-up story.”

I am not defender of Trump, but this is utterly ridiculous. This is exactly the kind of thing that gives the news-media a bad name. Let me explain some things about this bomb with the cool name:

The U.S. bought bombs in 2003 like they were the latest iPhones because they used up all of the old ones in Afghanistan in 2001, and they need more for the Iraq ‘03 party.

Despite the fact that a single giant bomb is cool, turns out it’s way more useful to drop a bunch of smaller bombs, or, if you want to blow something up in a city, a single small bomb which doesn’t blow up the whole neighborhood of innocent civilians. Would you rather have one giant pen, or a bunch of regular-sized ones? 

Plus, we can drop lots of regular bombs from jet planes which are designed for that (F-15E Strike Eagle, F-16 Falcon C/D, F/A-18 Hornet A/B/C/D, F/A-18 Super Hornet E/F, A-10 Warthog, B-1B Lancer, B-2 Spirit, B-52 Stratofortress).  My point being, besides displaying my aviation nerd-dom, is that America has a lot of ways to drop bombs. We are good at blowing stuff up.

The reason a MOAB hasn’t been dropped before is because in order to use it you have to fly a C-130 cargo plane into a combat zone and shove it out the back. Notice how I didn’t list that one. These things are easy to shoot down.

The MOAB is a ridiculous and mostly useless bomb that sounds cooler than it is. The Media Obsession About the Bomb is equally ridiculous. Trump didn’t know about it because there was no reason for him to know about it. It is just a bomb with a cool nickname, nothing more.

(By the way, the yield of a MOAB is 11 tons of TNT. The B53 nuclear bomb had a yield of 9 megatons. And a B-52 carried two of them.) 

MOABs are ridiculous.

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MOAB: Media Obsessed About Bomb