Ordnance Only A Mother Could Love

To follow up on DougJ’s post below (and to tread on Alan ADAM* Silverman’s turf):  American forces dropped a GBU-43/B bomb on a target identified as an underground ISIS complex.  The weapon, officially named the “Massive Ordnance Air Blast,” or MOAB, has the probably obvious nickname:  the Mother Of All Bombs.

It’s a no-doubt ginormous creation, with an effective yield of eleven tons of TNT.  It’s so large it is delivered by a variant of a cargo plane, the C130, and not the kind of aircraft more commonly used to deliver battlefield weapons.

A MOAB is not the ultimate bunker-buster, those weapons designed to penetrate well-hardened targets (silos, etc.) For our Vietnam vets, the analogous ordnance is BLU 82B “Daisy Cutter.”  In the open defense literature, the MOAB is at least in part a psychological weapon and in part a clear-the-ground device.  How useful it actually is against a cave complex is unclear, as this description suggests:

The weapon is expected to produce a tremendous explosion that would be effective against hard-target entrances, soft-to-medium surface targets, and for anti-personnel purposes. Because of the size of the explosion, it is also effective at LZ clearance and mine and beach obstacle clearance. Injury or death to persons will be primarily caused by blast or fragmentation. It is expected that the weapon will have a substantial psychological effect on those who witness its use. The massive weapon provides a capability to perform psychological operations, attack large area targets, or hold at-risk threats hidden within tunnels or caves.

There’s at least pretty good reason to believe that the use — its the first combat deployment ever  — was intended to send a message:

The strike comes just days after a Special Forces soldier was killed in Nangarhar province. Staff Sgt. Mark De Alencar, of 7th Special Forces Group, was killed Saturday by enemy small arms fire while his unit was conducting counter-ISIS operations, according to the Defense Department.

The fact that the U.S. dropped the MOAB in the same province where De Alencar was killed is probably not a coincidence, said Bill Roggio, of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

“There might have been a degree of payback here as well,” Roggio told Military Times. “There’s certainly nothing wrong with that, especially if you’re killing your enemy.”

Whatever your response to that aspect of war, here’s the thing.  As Emily Tankin and Paul McLeary write in Foreign Policy, the use of the MOAB is one facet of the broader escalation of US military action across the Middle East and central Asia:
The news came the same day as a report that a coalition airstrike in Syria mistakenly killed 18 fighters backed by the United States.

The U.S. statement also said, “U.S. Forces took every precaution to avoid civilian casualties with this strike.” The U.S. military is reportedly currently assessing the damage from the bomb.

The strike in Afghanistan is part of a huge increase in the American air war in Afghanistan that started under the Obama administration, but has increased even more sharply under President Donald Trump. In the first three months of 2017, American planes have dropped over 450 bombs on targets in Afghanistan, compared to about 1,300 for all of 2016, according to U.S. Air Force statistics. The number of strikes in the first two months of the Trump administration more than doubled the number taken in the same time period under the Obama administration.

The FP journalists note that US military leaders “long bristled at the control the Obama administration exercised over small troop movements and sometimes individual targets.”  Donald Trump — and this is one promise he’s kept — seems to have unleashed  those commanders.  The result?

Well, it seems to me that the question isn’t whether der Trumpenführer will lead us into war.  It is, rather, how quickly the war that’s already bubbling will become recognized as such by the media, and the American people.

As for war aims? That’s the kicker, isn’t it.  Multi-ton bombs are headline-grabbers.  How effective they are, really, at counter-terrorism is, to my deeply un-expert mind…”unclear” is how I’ll put it.  The current spate of bombing and micro-deployments looks like a purely ad hoc approach to whatever our tactical or strategic goals might be in Syria, Iraq and, still, Afghanistan.  If there’s a logic — and I genuinely hope there is — it sure isn’t apparent to this citizen, in whose name (along w. 312 million of my closest friends) these small wars are being fought.

Over to y’all.

Image: Mary Cassatt, Maternité, 1890.

*type in haste, repent at leisure.

119 replies
  1. 1
    R-Jud says:

    “Alan” Silverman?

  2. 2
    jeffreyw says:

    Now I want a glass of warm milk.

  3. 3
    Wjs says:

    Looks like a giant penis, especially if you are insecure and desperate to make people think you are tough and not a cuckhold.

  4. 4
    TenguPhule says:

    So big splashy non-piercer against hardened tunnel complex.

    What next, black powder cannon balls against tanks?

  5. 5
    The Moar You Know says:

    I can’t tell you how much I’ve missed Freedom Bombs. It’s just like 2004 all over again. I feel young!

  6. 6
    Humboldtblue says:

    As long as it’s the not the ticking time bomb on the fact that Trump is bought and paid for by the Russians the right wing and media will jump for joy.

  7. 7
    Mnemosyne says:

    I am once again glad that a last-minute medical issue put the kibosh on my nephew’s planned enlistment in the Marines.

  8. 8
    Yarrow says:

    ^^^ MOAD: Mother Of All Distractions.— JΞSŦΞR ✪ ΔCŦUAL³³º¹ (@th3j35t3r) April 13, 2017

  9. 9
    Yarrow says:

    the use of the MOAB is one facet of the broader escalation of US military action across the Middle East and central Asia

    Follow the money. Who’s been trading in “defense” industries lately? Any Trump kin?

  10. 10
    different-church-lady says:

    I’ve a feeling asymmetrical warfare just got more asymmetrical.

  11. 11
    Doug R says:

    Would this have worked better than say 59 Tomahawks?

  12. 12
    RSR says:

    ‘No one could have predicted’ that after the media reaction to the missile salvo, that they’d literally and figuratively go to the big gun.

  13. 13
    TenguPhule says:

    @Doug R: Might as well fire buckshot into the ground. Same result.

  14. 14
    Brachiator says:

    There’s at least pretty good reason to believe that the use — its the first combat deployment ever — was intended to send a message

    God fuckin’ dammit. Trump loves to send messages because he ain’t got no foreign policy. This is like his executive orders, a lot of flurry and flourish, but weak on details and any real point except showmanship and vengeance.

    And once again the rubes and pundits will eat it up.

    ETA: Is the painting a depiction of the Mother of All Breast Feedings (MOAB…F)?

  15. 15
    Это курам на смех says:

    What does one of these Mother of All Fuckers cost?

  16. 16
    TenguPhule says:

    @different-church-lady: There are few things Trump could have done that would be more useless in the field. It would kill anything and anyone on the surface, but most of the shockwaves would be wasted on empty air and any underground hardened site would just get a shake with no harm done.

    Its not asymmetric, its just stupid and flashy.

  17. 17
    Tom Levenson says:

    @Doug R: Not at all an expert on this (as I hope I made clear above) but one of the articles I read to throw this together suggested that there are plenty of situations where more smaller bombs work better than one great big honker. There’s a reason that no MOABs were used between the original live-fire test in 2003 and now. But Tomahawks? That’s a damn expensive way to deliver a relatively small payload; you use those for much different purposes.

    And yeah, I know snark when I read it….;-)

  18. 18
    laura says:

    Now they’re REALLY going to hate us for our freedoms.
    I’ll just wait here while the Romney boys along with Uday and Qusay head on down to the enlistment office and join one of our many branches of military.

  19. 19
    TenguPhule says:

    @Это курам на смех: Somewhere around $16 million.

    So, that was meals on wheels that Trump just blew up in Afghanistan.

  20. 20
    Tom Levenson says:

    @Brachiator:

    Is the painting a depiction of the Mother of All Breast Feedings (MOAB…F)?

    ;-)

  21. 21
    Aleta says:

    New Bomb Capable Of Creating 1,500 New Terrorists In Single Blast

    -Onion

  22. 22
    Brachiator says:

    @laura:

    Now they’re REALLY going to hate us for our freedoms.
    I’ll just wait here while the Romney boys along with Uday and Qusay head on down to the enlistment office and join one of our many branches of military.

    But remember, it doesn’t really count until Jared Kushner touches down and tours the area while dressed in one of his stylish flak jackets.

  23. 23
    patrick II says:

    @TenguPhule:

    I have read somewhere, sorry I can’t source it, that a very large bomb detonated at or near a tunnel/cave entrance will cause a concussive force to travel through the enclosed tunnels and cause significant human casualties, injuries including death, but also extreme pain and destroyed ear drums further in.
    That doesn’t sound unreasonable, which is why I remember it from a while ago, but can’t say for sure.
    I don’t mind something like this if it has a purpose and that purpose works towards some reasonable goal. It is the reasonable goal portion of that caveat that I have more doubt about.

  24. 24
    SenyorDave says:

    Control? We don’t need no stinking control! Less than three months in, and it already feels like its been years. I know Pence is horrible, but I shudder that this POS and his evil spawn are running this country.

  25. 25
    Yarrow says:

    Trump loves dropping these big bombs simply because they look cool and the media oohs and aahs over it. Some time very soon it’s not going to go well for him–and that probably means our troops will be killed. Wouldn’t be surprised to see something along those lines happen with North Korea and the fleet, sorry, armada, that has been sent there. Wonder what that would do to him being fluffed by the media.

  26. 26

    The Intercept? The Intercept? Paging the Intercept!

  27. 27
    Gravenstone says:

    A quick read on the device (not an expert by any means) shows the explosive in this mother is TNT enhanced with powdered aluminum to improve the blast wave characteristics. If used legitimately (rather than as a very loud message/psy-ops device), this may have been meant to have a thermobaric effect against the entrances to the targeted cave complex.

    Replacing this with conventional bombs would require something along the lines a B-52 (or more) saturation bombing the same area to cause a sub-surface collapse.

  28. 28
    Ohio Mom says:

    I was away from all media from about nine this morning to now (3:30), so this is the first I’m hearing about this.

    My first reaction: Now I’m going to have to learn about different kinds of bombs?! I have already learned more than I ever wanted to know about health coverage, voter suppression methods, the unfolding Trump-Russia connection…the list goes on.

    I liked it better when I could more or less trust that things were going the way they were more or less supposed to. Now I have to add “ramped up war” to the list of things I have to keep track of, despond of, worry about.

    (Whine) How much longer does he have to be president?

  29. 29
    Aleta says:

    @Mnemosyne: My nephew (Marines) was in Afghanistan, and last I heard Iraq.

    Incidentally, he had academic problems in high school, but isn’t stupid like the stereotype. Got diagnosed and on medication his last year in HS, then got great grades, and was doing well 1st year in college. Same Marine recruiter had pursued him for several years, including online by video game. The recruiter suggested he stop the medication, which he did, then flunked out of college, then was laid off, then joined the Marines.

  30. 30
    🚧eric says:

    My guess is that Trump’s “blind” trust recently bought stock in raytheon and whomever builds this weapon.

  31. 31
    JPL says:

    Wasn’t Mattis suppose to be the sane one?

  32. 32
    Aleta says:

    @RSR: yeah

  33. 33
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Brachiator:

    it doesn’t really count until Jared Kushner touches down and tours the area while dressed in one of his stylish flak jackets blazers.

    They have a more Jaredish name now.

  34. 34
    guachi says:

    I don’t object to the use of this bomb given its limited use conditions.

    Assuming a tunnel was found worth destroying, a bomb good at destroying tunnels would be the bomb to use

  35. 35
    Butch says:

    @patrick II: Which leads to my thought, that most of the North Korean nuclear complex is under mountains and in caves, and had to wonder if this incident was actually a test?

  36. 36
    piratedan says:

    is it fair to ask the question if Trump is now using military strikes as a means to distract us from the ongoing investigations linking his campaign with a foreign state? When will someone in the media simply stand up and ask it?

  37. 37
    GregB says:

    All of the war mongering media idiots were all aflutter in the early GW Iraq War days.

    How many times was the meaningless shock and awe line repeated?

    So many times that one general once mispoke it as awk and shaw. Seriously.

    These fools are creating their own reality up until another reality slaps them right in their smig faces.

  38. 38
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Aleta:

    If a draft is threatened, I am going to pay for my nephew to be re-diagnosed with ADHD (he does have it, and his asshole mother took him off the meds because they weren’t “natural”) and get back on medication since that should make him undraftable.

    If he wants to serve his country, he can become a firefighter or an EMT. Not a Marine, not now.

  39. 39
    Tom Levenson says:

    @piratedan: a) Yes, it is fair to ask that and b) I despair. Most likely timeline — within some hours after Lucifer’s domain drops below 0 degrees C.

  40. 40
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    JΞSŦΞR ✪ ΔCŦUAL³³º¹‏
    @th3j35t3r
    ^^^

    TRUMP: The Norks are makin me look stupid. Push a MOAB into A’stan

    JCS: We’ve been there years, whats the target.

    TRUMP: Find one.

    Sadly, that’s about accurate, in all probability. Or at least very close.

  41. 41
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho:

    Adam has an interesting alternative theory in the thread below. Basically, the commander in Afghanistan wanted to bomb these caves/tunnels that are giving them trouble, but the US is running out of smaller bombs so they thought, Why not use that giant bomb we have sitting around? No approval by Trump needed.

  42. 42
    Doug Gardner says:

    @The Moar You Know: I accidentally misread your nym as The MOAB You Know. Talk about the framing effect.

  43. 43
    different-church-lady says:

    @TenguPhule: I meant asymmetrical in the sense that our going big and flashy will just lead to more grass-roots guerrilla terrorism.

  44. 44
    Mnemosyne says:

    @different-church-lady:

    If I worked at a Trump property, I’d be handing in my resignation right about now and finding a new job at least 20 miles away. Just sayin’.

  45. 45
    PhoenixRising says:

    Multi-ton bombs are headline-grabbers. How effective they are, really, at counter-terrorism is, to my deeply un-expert mind…”unclear” is how I’ll put it.

    Hang on, I happen to have the ghost of Pol Pot right here. (rustle whisper)

    Yeah, bombing is a great recruitment tool for ISIS, and will lead to the destruction of all our nation-building efforts in the region more quickly, but other than that it’s a smart play in a persistent war. That we started.

  46. 46
    ruckus says:

    @TenguPhule:
    Stupid and Flashy? From the drumpf? Surly you jest, he wouldn’t do that, would he?

  47. 47
    Eric U. says:

    the bomb porn video going around makes this thing look like a bunker-buster, so at least they got that right. Not sure I believe it will work in this application, but hopefully there aren’t any innocents living in caves nearby.

  48. 48
    PhoenixRising says:

    To persuade rural agrarian people living (what has until recently been) next to a war between a government they don’t care for and a superpower to participate in an ideologically driven revolution that leads to horrifying human rights violations…bombing is a proven tactic.

    It’s not clear how many new guerilla fighters per ton of TNT we create, but only because the 20th century reviews of ‘air power’ had their mind on other things and also the revolutionary government destroyed the records that might have made the math possible. (We know about the Khmer Rouge recruiting using US bombs from our ‘forward observers’ who reported on it.)

    If that’s not the goal, though, I’m questioning this whole thing.

  49. 49
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mnemosyne: This is what I emailed Tom when he emailed to ask me about what I thought:

    I’ve just read the reporting on this, including from the FP link you provided. Apparently the request originated with the Commander of US Forces – Afghanistan and worked up the chain of command for approval. Given the command and control adjustments that have been made in regard to decision making by the Administration I am unclear if this went beyond Commander CENTCOM for approval. However, this bottom up approach is consistent with what I’ve been told is the decision making process – requests work up to the National Security Council and National Command Authority, they don’t originate there – that LTG McMaster has implemented since becoming National Security Advisor.

    Do I think it was to demonstrate to the DPRK that we can collapse their tunnel system nuclear testing site? I don’t know. If this never got above Commander CENTCOM, then no. If it made it to McMaster, also most likely no. If McMaster decided it had to go to the President, then who knows. That’s the problem right now, no one knows anything, so everyone responds like they know something.

    To the reference to my comment in the earlier thread: based on how courses of action are developed and wargamed, it is possible that when the Commander US Forces-Afghanistan was briefed this was one of the options. And that it was briefed as an ordnance effective way to achieve the strategic effect of denying ISIL a safe haven by collapsing and destroying the tactical objective – this cave system. What isn’t reported on a lot is that we have, and continue to, used a lot (read that as A LOT!!!!) of ordnance in the daily strikes against ISIL targets in Iraq and Syria. Depending on what was available, versus what was lined up to be used for upcoming strikes in other places, this may have simply come down to being the best solution to the problem set.

    The issue is that the President has engendered such ill will, as well as a a significant acknowledgement of his untrustworthiness and lack of any strategic vision, that everyone is now speculating about all sorts of nefarious what ifs when the reality may be something much, much simpler.

  50. 50
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @different-church-lady: It’ll lead to more people learning the lesson of Iran and North Korea versus Libya. The former two developed or appeared to be developing nuclear deterrents and have largely been left alone. The latter, specifically, Ghaddafi, gave up his CBRN weapons and stockpiles in exchange for becoming “Our Bastard” in the Maghreb for a short time before he wound up face down and dead. The Kim’s took note of that. Others have too.

  51. 51
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Eric U.: You can see the test detonation at the DTRA facility at White Sands at the 1:10 mark of this video:

  52. 52
    Wapiti says:

    My mind was wandering while driving… perhaps the Cretin in Chief demanded that they drop a nuke to fix ISIS once and for all times, and the military said, “Er… how about this? It’s as big as a small nuke, and really impressive. It will wag those dogs in the press corps.”

  53. 53
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mnemosyne: I’ve just seen the President’s remarks on the use of the MOAB. He stated that he has empowered the military to make the decision. So I think it is likely that this was signed off of by Commander CENTCOM and the decision was finalized at that level.

  54. 54
    randy khan says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    The issue is that the President has engendered such ill will, as well as a a significant acknowledgement of his untrustworthiness and lack of any strategic vision, that everyone is now speculating about all sorts of nefarious what ifs when the reality may be something much, much simpler.

    Those concerns about him seem particularly salient in light of his own son’s suggestion that the cruise missile launches may have occurred because Ivanka was made about children being killed in a gas attack. And he himself makes it harder to tell because he likes to govern by Twitter.

  55. 55
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Twitter is aflame with rumors of tapes that nail the Ivana spawn in criminal actions.

    https://twitter.com/Philosocrat/status/852552677959622656/photo/1

  56. 56
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @randy khan: No argument here.

  57. 57
    Mike in NC says:

    I looked at that painting and imagined it as Bannon breastfeeding Trump. Ugh! Glad Happy Hour is approaching.

  58. 58
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: lemme guess, more pee-pee?

  59. 59
    KG says:

    @TenguPhule:

    So big splashy non-piercer against hardened tunnel complex.

    What next, black powder cannon balls against tanks?

    The Charge of the Light Brigade

  60. 60

    @Villago Delenda Est: The TrueFactsStated thread is full of very enjoyable stuff, including legal jeopardy for Giuliani and arrests as early as next week. Even if none of it works out, I’m having fun reading.

  61. 61
    catclub says:

    Multi-ton bombs are headline-grabbers.

    Indeed. On the same day US forces kill 18 allies (Syria Defense force?) in bombing aimed at ISIS.

  62. 62
    joel hanes says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Adam, I’m quite reluctant to contradict you, but my understanding is that that MOP and the MOAB are different things :

    MOP is deep penetrator, “bunker buster”, detonates after impact, designed to destroy deep, hardened facilities by shockwaves in solid ground. It’s probably what we’d use agains NK’s nuclear facilities.

    MOAB is air burst, detonates before impact, designed to produce an atmospheric overpressure shockwave, designed to destroy shallow and surface structures and personnel within half a mile of the burst, but probably ineffective against deep, hardened facilities.

    Please correct me if I’ve gotten this wrong.

  63. 63
    Miss Bianca says:

    @KG:

    The Charge of the Light Brigade

    Half a bigly
    Half a bigly
    Half a bigly onward…

  64. 64
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Iowa Old Lady: Giuliani’s problem is he’s being paid to lobby the government to get charges dropped against an Iranian money launderer. It is unclear who is paying him and he’s been jerking the prosecutors and the court around in the case and generally making a muck of things. This has led a number of people to start looking into just what it is Giuliani and Associates has been doing as a security consulting firm for the better part of the last decade or so.

  65. 65
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @joel hanes: You are correct that MOAB is not a penetrator weapon, which is why we have the MOP. The MOAB is intended to:

    The MOAB weapon is based upon the same principle as the BLU-82 “Daisy Cutter”, except that it is larger and has a guidance system. The weapon is expected to produce a tremendous explosion that would be effective against hard-target entrances, soft-to-medium surface targets, and for anti-personnel purposes. Because of the size of the explosion, it is also effective at LZ clearance and mine and beach obstacle clearance. Injury or death to persons will be primarily caused by blast or fragmentation. It is expected that the weapon will have a substantial psychological effect on those who witness its use. The massive weapon provides a capability to perform psychological operations, attack large area targets, or hold at-risk threats hidden within tunnels or caves.
    http://www.globalsecurity.org/.....s/moab.htm

    The weapon is intended to have a high altitude release, allowing for greater stand-off range for the delivery vehicle. Following deployment from the aircraft via drogue parachute, the MOAB weapon is guided approximately 3 nautical miles through a GPS system (with inertial gyros for pitch and roll control), JDAM actuators, and is stabilized by series of fixed wings and grid fins. The weapon, which uses the aircraft’s GPS prior to launch, takes several seconds to reconnect to the GPS signal after it has been deployed, which is normal for GPS weapons.

    The US Air Force developed the satellite-guided Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bombs (MOAB) as a successor to the the 15,000-lb. “Daisy Cutters” used in Vietnam and Afghanistan. The Air Force is said to call MOABs (pronounced MOE-ab) the Mother Of All Bombs. As with the earlier Daisy Cutter, these huge bombs are dropped out of the rear of the C-130 cargo plane. Unlike the Daisy Cutter, the MOAB falls to the ground without the use of a retarding parachute. As a result, the aircraft releasing the bomb can fly at higher altitudes, thus making it safer for US pilots.

  66. 66
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @Iowa Old Lady: Louise Mensch (who’s a little kooky and quite thin-skinned but seems to have very good sources) also reports arrests coming soon. I can only hope they’re correct. Schindler (that asshole) has been quiet on the topic, as has Nance. At least within the last 90 minutes…

  67. 67
    Peale says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    This has led a number of people to start looking into just what it is Giuliani and Associates has been doing as a security consulting firm for the better part of the last decade or so.

    I believe what they have been doing is charging large fees. That apparently is all that really matters to lobbyists.

  68. 68
    Adam L Silverman says:

    Speaking of bombs:

  69. 69
    joel hanes says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    The video you posted is titled “MOP”, so unless it’s mis-titled, is not germane.

  70. 70
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Peale: It’s a living…

  71. 71
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Adam L Silverman: holy fucking shit.

    But how do we put the horse back in the barn?

  72. 72
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @joel hanes: Sorry, wrong video. Operator head space timing error. Here’s the MOAB one:

  73. 73
    randy khan says:

    @Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho:

    My approach to the question of arrests/indictments is that I won’t get my hopes up until they actually happen. It’s the Fitzmas principle.

  74. 74
    rikyrah says:

    Manafort Admits He Was Paid Through Black Ledger
    by Martin Longman April 12, 2017 5:08 PM

    It can be dizzying to try to follow the ins and outs of the so-called #TrumpRussia scandal, and trying to understand Paul Manafort’s business dealings is no exception. I won’t try to explain it all here, but it looks like Manafort’s life just got more complicated because the Associated Press obtained some banking records that verify that something is true that Manafort has long denied.

    You may remember that Manafort stepped down as chairman of the Trump campaign after it was revealed that a black ledger detailing financial transactions had been unearthed in Kiev. You can re-read the article the New York Times published on August 14th, 2016. Manafort resigned on August 19th.

    The original reporting was fairly straightforward:

    Handwritten ledgers show $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments designated for Mr. Manafort from Mr. Yanukovych’s pro-Russian political party from 2007 to 2012, according to Ukraine’s newly formed National Anti-Corruption Bureau. Investigators assert that the disbursements were part of an illegal off-the-books system whose recipients also included election officials.

    There’s now dispute about whether Manafort received “cash payments,” but it’s clear that in at least two cases he was wired the exact amount of money that was entered in the ledger next to his name. And that means that the ledger is not some fraud or trick concocted by one spy agency or another.

  75. 75
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Whoa! And those were all crucial states in Trump’s win. He stole the election.

  76. 76
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Steve in the ATL: Things will progress at their own pace. The Guardian article from this morning will increase the pressure. As will the former M16 Director’s statements about how the President makes his money – hint: Russian money laundering.
    https://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/magazine/interview-richard-dearlove-europe-intelligence-mi6

    Between 1999 and 2004, Dearlove was head of the Secret Intelligence Service, known as MI6, a tenure that included the bruising experience of the Iraq war, the drama of 9/11 and the invasion of Afghanistan. He joined the service in 1966 and in his time he ran MI6’s Washington station, the most significant posting in British intelligence and was also overall Director of Operations.

    So he’s seen it all before. But the allegations that members of Trump’s staff had illegal contact with the Russian government during the election campaign are “unprecedented,” said Dearlove. As for the president’s personal position, he said, “What lingers for Trump may be what deals—on what terms—he did after the financial crisis of 2008 to borrow Russian money when others in the west apparently would not lend to him.”

  77. 77
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Это курам на смех: Doesn’t matter given how much Republicans love the military and wars.

  78. 78
    rikyrah says:

    U.S. drug policy poised to take a step backwards in the Trump era
    04/13/17 12:45 PM
    By Steve Benen
    One of the striking things about the so-called “war on drugs” in recent years is the scope and scale of the progress. By popular support, a variety of states have voted to legalize recreational marijuana use, for example. When President Obama commuted the sentences of many non-violent drug offenders, few blinked an eye.

    There was a burgeoning consensus that the decades-long “war” was needlessly expensive, punitive, reactionary, and damaging. It was time to move forward with a newer, smarter approach.

    At least, that’s the way it appeared up until very recently. As the nation’s new attorney general, for example, Jeff Sessions has made no secret of his intentions to renew the “war on drugs.” Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.), meanwhile, is poised to take over the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

    And what does Tom Marino bring to the table on drug issues? The Washington Post reported yesterday on the Pennsylvania Republican’s approach to the issue.

    As a congressman, Marino called for a national program of mandatory inpatient substance abuse treatment for non-violent drug offenders. “One treatment option I have advocated for years would be placing non-dealer, non-violent drug abusers in a secured hospital-type setting under the constant care of health professionals,” he said at a hearing last year.

    “Once the person agrees to plead guilty to possession, he or she will be placed in an intensive treatment program until experts determine that they should be released under intense supervision,” Marino explained. “If this is accomplished, then the charges are dropped against that person. The charges are only filed to have an incentive for that person to enter the hospital-slash-prison, if you want to call it.”

    Got that? If some non-violent adult were caught with marijuana, for example, Marino envisions a system in which that person would be locked up in a “hospital-slash-prison,” and subjected to “an intensive treatment program.” He or she would eventually be released, but be subjected to “intense supervision.”

  79. 79
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    If the voting fraud is of the right type, and Hillary would have won those states in the EC, the utter scum that is Neil Gorsuch should do the honorable thing and resign.

    He won’t, because like all Rethuglican tools, he has no honor.

  80. 80
    efgoldman says:

    @Doug R:

    Would this have worked better than say 59 Tomahawks?

    I imagine it wold if the actual objective was to put the airfield out of commission for an extended length of time.
    Since that was obviously NOT the objective, the simple answer is “no.”

  81. 81
    MomSense says:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    Yes. Listen this is why all the polls were wrong, why the exit polling was so wrong, and why we all felt such shock and horror. We were attacked by a hostile foreign country. We know in our bones that this is wrong.

  82. 82
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Oh, I’m sure it’s just another coincidence that just happened to benefit Trump. How many of those random coincidences are we up to now? At least 5,735 or so?

  83. 83
    germy says:

    This is a Bomb! A Big Bomb. Justice Dept finds 90 pages of Voting Machines Malfunctions in Swing States. PA, FL, NC, WI and MI. https://twitter.com/rubenkmajor/status/852333745621180416

    His fans will say the malfunctions helped HRC. Without them, tRump would have beat her even MORE.

    (that’s how they think; at least the ones I’ve encountered)

    EDIT: And I saw this in the comments, after someone mentioned voters purged:

    4 hours ago
    More
    Not to mention the intentionally perged voters who cost Bernie the nom.

  84. 84

    @Adam L Silverman:
    Speaking of massive bombs:

    Ex-MI6 chief accuses Donald Trump of secretly borrowing from Russia to keep his property empire afloat https://t.co/Y7LWh7Mx1U— Sarah Kendzior (@sarahkendzior) April 13, 2017

  85. 85

    @Roger Moore: We so need to see his tax forms.

  86. 86
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Roger Moore: That’s what this comment was about:
    https://www.balloon-juice.com/2017/04/13/moab/#comment-6334107

    76
    Adam L Silverman
    says:
    April 13, 2017 at 5:13 pm (Edit)
    @Steve in the ATL: Things will progress at their own pace. The Guardian article from this morning will increase the pressure. As will the former M16 Director’s statements about how the President makes his money – hint: Russian money laundering.
    https://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/magazine/interview-richard-dearlove-europe-intelligence-mi6

    Between 1999 and 2004, Dearlove was head of the Secret Intelligence Service, known as MI6, a tenure that included the bruising experience of the Iraq war, the drama of 9/11 and the invasion of Afghanistan. He joined the service in 1966 and in his time he ran MI6’s Washington station, the most significant posting in British intelligence and was also overall Director of Operations.

    So he’s seen it all before. But the allegations that members of Trump’s staff had illegal contact with the Russian government during the election campaign are “unprecedented,” said Dearlove. As for the president’s personal position, he said, “What lingers for Trump may be what deals—on what terms—he did after the financial crisis of 2008 to borrow Russian money when others in the west apparently would not lend to him.”

  87. 87
    Peale says:

    @rikyrah: So if you thought prison guards were expensive, imagine the costs of building and staffing prison type hospitals for all the stop and frisk arrests. I’m sure they’ll come up with a way to bill the arrestees for their treatment.

  88. 88
    JPL says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Trump barely knew them, since he was divorced. The problem is the repubs won’t care, because they need their tax cuts. Ridding us of medicare, medicaid and social security is just icing on the cake. Believe me, Trump is secure.

  89. 89
    efgoldman says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    He stated that he has empowered the military to make the decision.

    Of course it was. Heaven forfend any of the potential blowback should be on him.

  90. 90
    Millard Filmore says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Why didn’t the Green Party recount find any of this?

  91. 91
    Kathleen says:

    @Ohio Mom: Also, too, don’t forget the Russian Language lessons!

  92. 92
    Aleta says:

    Gen. John Nicholson, commander of US forces in Afghanistan, signed off on the use of the bomb, according to the sources. The authority to deploy the weapon was granted to Nicholson by the commander of US Central Command, Gen. Joseph Votel, Stump said.

    (CNN version)

  93. 93
    LAO says:

    @efgoldman: Well, you remember Harry Truman’s famous sign — “the buck stops at that loser over there.” Words to live by.

  94. 94
    ruemara says:

    Anyone else feeling repulsed, because I am. And @Millard Filmore: I don’t think they knew what to have counted. A recount isn’t the same as a full audit and most of the twitter types I followed were unanimous in saying it should be an audit or we’re just giving the Greens money for next election’s spoiler party.

    The Tangerine Turd giving comfy assed generals free range to use their bombs does not give me confidence.

    @Mike in NC: Dude. Sounds like you’ve already had 2 happy hours.

  95. 95
    Miss Bianca says:

    @germy: “intentionally perged”! Jesus wept over spellcheck.

  96. 96
    Ceci n est pas mon nym says:

    I’m going to out myself a little bit because the belief that Republicans love the military is so baked into our national consciousness, and that fiction has made me especially furious lately as we start preparing for the next government shutdown.

    I am one of the 330,000 Army civilians. I’m a tiny cog in what is called the acquisition lifecycle, the process by which things start in R&D and end up as new toys on the battlefield like the bomb above. Concerns about the Hatch Act (which limits the abilityof gov’t employees to be involved in politics or political discussion) have kept me quiet about that. A guy like Adam Silverman obviously moves in more exalted circles (he knows generals; I have occasionally seen a general in the distance or on a podium, but it could have just been a trick of the light) and somehow threads the needle of the Hatch Act. But I prefer to keep my head down.

    And the Republicans have been absolutely DESTROYING the ability of my agency to do its job. To the Army, we are considered part of the Service (many of my colleagues have spent considerable time doing their jobs in Iraq and Afghanistan). We take an oath and we take it seriously. But to the Republicans, we are just so many more useless government employees. Years of Continuing Resolution have played havoc with any ability to plan that lifecycle, hiring freezes (when they said “the military” was exempt, they didn’t mean us) have paralyzed many efforts and delayed many others, and now we are in the process of spinning down some major acquisition programs, getting ready to ride out the next budget storm and trying to make the spare change left in the budget last as long as possible (some programs have already shut down when the cash ran out).

    Republicans in Congress don’t care. They don’t love the military. Think about how hard it was to get our soldiers armored in Iraq. Think about the financial protections Democrats tried to give soldiers (protection from pay-day loan sharks for instance) which Republicans fought or took away. They love the defense contractors. It doesn’t matter to them if the soldier actually gets what he/she needs.

  97. 97
    RobertFarleysAssistant says:

    Posted this in the other thread as well, but this is what Robert Farley over at LGM had this to say:

    1. There are tactical circumstances, even in Afghanistan, that would make the use of this weapon viable; large area with combination of above ground and shallow beneath ground structures.

    2. There are 1 mile radius circles of Afghanistan that contain no civilians. If an ISIS camp was located in one of these areas, then “war crime” is probably not useful terminology to describe.

    3. ISIS does appear to approach base development/construction differently than post-2001 Al Qaeda (or the Taliban, for that matter), so it’s not completely implausible that there was a real tactical justification for this weapon.

    4. This was not an MOP; that’s the penetrating weapon designed to destroy fortified, protected bunkers.

  98. 98

    @Ceci n est pas mon nym:
    The Republicans love the military only in the abstract. They love talking about the military and praising how wonderful it is. They love the spectacle of the military, especially when they can campaign on it. Above all, they love using the military, both to funnel money to their defense contractor buddies and to avoid any annoying diplomacy or concessions to the rest of the world. But they don’t love the actual soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who make up the military, or the civilian employees and contractors who support it.

  99. 99
    geg6 says:

    OT, but important news for Steeler Nation (John Cole, are you here?).

    Dan Rooney, Steelers chairman, Hall of Famer, author of the Rooney Rule and Ambassador to Ireland under President Obama has died. A truly great man. Pittsburgh is in deep mourning.

  100. 100
    debbie says:

    I just heard Trump’s remarks about “my” military. I wonder if he’d go “Woo, Woo!”while pushing MOAB off the ramp of the cargo plane?

  101. 101

    @geg6:
    Cole already tweeted about it, so he knows. Sad to see probably the best owner in the NFL pass.

  102. 102
    JPL says:

    @geg6: This is what President Obama said

    https://twitter.com/BraddJaffy/status/852642306154999808

    I miss the articulate one.

  103. 103
    debbie says:

    @JPL:

    I expect Trump will tweet out just how much Rooney admired him.

  104. 104
    geg6 says:

    @debbie:

    That would be another demonstrable lie. He endorsed and campaigned for his former boss, Hillary.

  105. 105
    debbie says:

    @geg6:

    Yeah, but what’s one more?

  106. 106

    @geg6:

    That would be another demonstrable lie.

    Like that would stop him from saying it, or the media from uncritically repeating it.

  107. 107
    Another Scott says:

    @Wapiti:

    “Er… how about this? It’s as big as a small nuke, …

    Nope. Don’t mistake kilotons for tons.

    The MOAB is 11 tons. The Nagasaki bomb yield was around 20,000 tons.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  108. 108
    Betsy says:

    Tom, choosing that superb painting to accompany this post was genius. It is antidote, commentary, and rueful wish, all at once. Thank you.

  109. 109
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Millard Filmore: I have no idea. I’m not really sure what it was that Stein actually paid to have done. That has never been clear to me.

  110. 110
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @Ceci n est pas mon nym:

    They love the defense contractors.

    Oh, speaking from personal experiance they’ve screwed the defense industry over just has hard when it comes to paying the bills Just a contractor has more leverage like demanding the money before even designing the system (Trump ran into that, if you recall, when General Dynamics told him to get funding before they hire anyone to build the new ships Trump wants). But apparently Republcians belive weapons systems come free from the Raython fairy or something.

  111. 111
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Ceci n est pas mon nym: I was a term appointment under the Intergovernmental Personnel Act and am now a consultant with a defense contractor. As you’ve noticed I don’t endorse candidates, parties, or recommend that people vote a certain way. And I certainly don’t do it from any duty station I’ve been at. So that pretty much takes care of the Hatch Act issues.

    As for your larger points: you are absolutely, 100% correct.

  112. 112
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @RobertFarleysAssistant: Tell Farley if he wants his stuff published here he can email me directly. He knows how to reach me…

  113. 113
    GregB says:

    One question.

    Has the corpse of General Curtis LeMay been reanimated with the spirit of Col. Kurtz yet?

  114. 114
    danielx says:

    We have the biggest bombs! The BEST bombs! The YOOOOGEST bombs….!

    Make it stop.

  115. 115
    TenguPhule says:

    @debbie:

    I just heard Trump’s remarks about “my” military. I wonder if he’d go “Woo, Woo!”while pushing MOAB off the ramp of the cargo plane?

    I wonder what kind of sound Trump would make while being pushed off of a cargo plane in mid-flight?

    /c’mon this was just asking for it.

  116. 116
    mike in dc says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Yeah, that’s the MOP, not the MOAB. The MOP is basically the penultimate bunker-buster bomb, at 15 tons. Beyond that, we would drop a special B61(mod 11?) nuke, dialed down to lowest yield(about 300 tons TNT equivalent), in order to take out a deeply protected target. Even a sub-kiloton nuke, however, would have massive geopolitical consequences if actually used.

  117. 117
    TenguPhule says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    He won’t, because like all Rethuglican tools, he has no honor.

    If he refuses to fall on his sword, he can be pushed to help him along.

    /why should Russia have all the fun?

  118. 118
    Seth Owen says:

    @Butch: There is no way this bomb could be used anywhere that somebody could possibly shoot back, like North Korea.

  119. 119
    Groucho48 says:

    @rikyrah:

    I presume these will be private treatment centers, owned by close friends and associates of Marino and his buddies.

Comments are closed.