I did an interview with Scott Horton a couple of weeks back on Afghanistan and then the United States dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb ever to be used against life in the history of mankind a couple of days later.
I know the district it was used in. I was close to Achin in 2009, maybe just a couple dozen miles away, but never in that district. Our media, the same media that drones on about Afghanistan repeating the same absurdities about the war, year after year, for 16 years now without self awareness, implies the area was near barren, desert like almost, a warren of just caves and tunnels, but that district is far from being empty of life, far from being devoid of parents and children, sisters and brothers, lovers, aunts and uncles, teachers, neighbors, and all the other sundry living beings that inhabit your own heart, your own soul and your own memories.
Like most of eastern Afghanistan, Achin’s mountain and river valleys are farmed upon and trafficked through, and as many as 100,000 people live in Achin. How many were killed, incinerated, melted and immolated in that super heated air burst from the Mother of All Bombs? We will not know any time soon enough. The US and Afghan governments are not reporting anything other than the typically specious body counts of dead ISIS fighters. Journalists from Reuters who visited the site reported no bodies, but such bodies, the bodily remains left that had not been incinerated by the fire ball created by the blast, would have been collected and buried by surviving local Afghans, or collected and disposed of by American and Afghan troops to hide their murders. That has certainly been done enough times during these wars and previous wars, I’m sure, if necessary, it was done again.
And the notion that the bomb was used against the tunnels? The lies just don’t stop in these wars, or in any wars. You don’t use a bomb that detonates above ground against a tunnel system. You use a weapon that will penetrate through the dirt, that will detonate below the surface to break apart the tunnels and cause them to collapse. Those journalists from Reuters found the tunnels intact, as they would from the MOAB blast, because the MOAB detonates above ground and would have had no effect on a tunnel system, no matter what our government and military says in their lies to us after they kill people. That bomb explodes above the surface, it is meant to kill people who are out in the open, people who are unprotected, and who are vulnerable; its purpose is simple: to punish people. There is no other reason for it. An American soldier was killed not far from there recently. We dropped the largest bomb ever to punish them. That is war. That is who we are as a people. Accept it.
Below is my interview with Scott, where we speak about Afghanistan and where we also speak about the costs of war to those who wage it. Not looking for any pity or sympathy here. The pain I experience is just, I think many of those who share in such guilt and who know the anguish of those in Achin and in all those places around the world, so many places, where the men, women and children cannot scream because of the oxygen snuffing heat, fire and pressure of our bombs, will agree.
More importantly, below that is a letter from my friend Kadir. Kadir fought with the Mujahadin in Afghanistan against the Soviets in the 1980s. He’s since lived in Michigan, but has always fought for his country and his people, has always fought against Afghanistan’s occupation and for Afghanistan’s peace. Below is the heartbreaking text of a letter he wrote after the United States dropped that bomb on the people of Achin. Please read it.
Letter from Kadir:
The U.S. has dropped its largest bomb in Achin District, Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan. This war crime needs to be Independently Investigated and the Perpetrators Prosecuted.
The United States committed a war crime when on Thursday April 13, 2017 it dropped the largest non-nuclear weapon ever, the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (“MOAB”), an indiscriminate killer, onto the Pashtun/Afghans of the Achin District of Nangarhar Province in Afghanistan. Approximately 100,000 Pashtun/Afghan civilians live in that “so-called” remote District. Many villages such as the Village of Assad Kheiloand the Village of Mohmandzai were at or near the alleged ISIS/ mercenaries’ target. With a surface blast radius of a couple of miles wide, the world cannot see the civilian carnage, the Pashtun/Afghan innocent civilians’ bodies or crying babies’ faces, who were vaporized or blown into miniscule pieces when they were unlawfully killed by this indiscriminate, monstrous bomb, ordered and unleashed by Trump and his military war mongers, who want to kill the Pashtun villagers, who are in the middle of this war between the CIA ISIS mercenaries to control the heroin trafficking in that region. Who will be the voice of these unknown Pashtun/Afghan civilians, who today had the “shit” blown out of them by Trump? Sadly, it will be hard to find any evidence or trace of their human bodies or existence as Trump made sure of that fact.
The United States’ use and testing of this massive ordnance air blast weapon (MOAB) on the Achin District violated and was contrary to the rules of international law which are applicable in armed conflicts. Even if an area contained military objectives, the 1977, Protocol 1 Amendment to the Geneva Conventions, prohibits an indiscriminate attack on civilians, which occurred Thursday on the people of the Achin District. Article 50 of the Geneva Conventions provides in part that “the presence within the civilian population of individuals who do not come within the definition of civilians does not deprive the population of its civilian character.” Even though Trump and his war mongering generals allege that there were ISIS/mercenaries in alleged caves or tunnels in the Achin District, it does not deprive the population of approximately 100,000 in the Achin District of its civilian character. Article 51 of the Geneva Conventions prohibits indiscriminate attacks on civilian populations. The United States’ dropping of this monstrous 21,000 pound bomb onto the Achin District was a prohibited indiscriminate attack or must be considered an indiscriminate attack. The United States employed a means and weapon of combat the effects of which could not be limited to any alleged military target, any alleged tunnel or cave. This 21,000 pound MOAB weapon had a surface blast and not a penetrating effect. It had a blast radius of miles. If the alleged military target was tunnels or caves then why was a weapon with a carpet bombing, surface blast used instead of a penetrating, underground bunker buster bomb. This MOAB, which caused a surface blast with more than a two mile radius, was not limited to any alleged military target it was an indiscriminate attack, which was intended to cause superfluous injury and unnecessary suffering by the Pashtun/Afghan civilians. In addition, it must be considered indiscriminate as it was an attack on the Achin District with a monstrous, never-before used, air blast bomb which may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects or a combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated.
Why did Trump and his war mongering generals drop this indiscriminate killer, the MOAB, onto the civilian populated Achin District Thursday, April 13, 2017? It is not a weapon the U.S. just produced this past week. It was developed a few years ago. Is it just a coincidence that last week a U.S. Green Beret was killed in that area and about a week later the U.S. drops this monstrous bomb onto that area? Based on the timing and Trump’s bizarre, impulsive and retaliatory behavior, one would doubt it. The characterization of it as a reprisal appears highly likely to a reasonable person. The U.S., led by Trump and his war mongering generals at the helm, sought to punish the Pashtun/Afghans in the Achin District for the very recent killing of the U.S. Green Beret. Reprisal is a prohibited conduct under Article 51 of the Geneva Conventions. If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it more than likely is a duck. If it looks like reprisal and sounds like reprisal, it more than likely is the prohibited, unlawful reprisal.
The Pashtun/Afghan civilians are human beings with human rights protected by international human right laws. The United States violated the human rights laws and did not treat the Pashtun/Afghans of the Achin District as “humans” when it dropped its indiscriminate killer, the MOAB, on that District.
It is shameful that the United States committed such a war crime. In the next few days the world will discover evidence that Pashtun/Afghan civilians were killed by this indiscriminate killer, the MOAB. Pashtun/Afghan lives matter. Every single life matters. A thorough independent investigation of this war crime must be conducted as soon as possible. Those responsible for the war crime must be prosecuted in lawful tribunals. Afghans have suffered enough these past four decades. This bombing with this monstrous weapon is the last straw, which should wake up the Pashtun, the largest native tribe in the world, to seek justice through lawful actions in tribunals and through peaceful and lawful actions to end this occupation of and war by the United States in Afghanistan.
Pashtun/Afghan civilian victims of this unlawful, horrendous, barbaric bombing you are not forgotten and good humans with compassion and peace in their hearts will seek justice for you in lawful and peaceful means.
Kadir A. Mohmand
One Afghan American with One Pen to Condemn such War Crimes, Tears on his Face, and Peace in His Heart.
This post first appeared on Matt’s blog. Matt had two deployments as a Marine and a turbulent time after leaving the military. Take a look at his About Me post for more detail.
3 thoughts on “MOAB – Afghan Scorched Earth”
I don’t have time right now to listen to what appears to be a one-hour-plus radio interview (linked to in post above), but I have this to say in response to Kadir A. Mohmand’s letter: reciting a list of international laws the US broke in trying out its MOAB weapon on Afghan territory underlines precisely the problem the world faces in the modern era: “American Exceptionalism.” US politicians and elected officials love to spout endless clouds of hot air about “the rule of law.” But though they don’t come clean and admit it in public, they COULDN’T CARE LESS about International Laws and Rules of Conduct of War. This is why the abominable stench of their fathomless hypocrisy can’t even be expressed in words, not by this writer at least (though I took a shot at it in first part of this sentence). As long as these troglodytes control the deadliest military arsenal in the history of mankind, there is no power–certainly not the now laughable “United Nations”!–on Earth that can force them to discover a moral way of conducting themselves. And that is a damned, damned shame. The “mark of Cain” is upon the Ruling Class of the United States of America and there is no crime to which they won’t stoop in their neverending quest to devour the riches of the entire planet.
In your interview with Scott Horton (speaking of PTSD and related veteran’s issues), you said:
“Natural ‘stress’ reactions are not meant to be stuck on for long periods of time.”
This comment reminded me of a book I once read back in the 1990s. Then I realized that I still had this book in my library: Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers: An Updated Guide to Stress, Stress-Related Diseases, and Coping (New York: W. H. Freeman and Company, 1994) by Robert M. Sapolsky. I don’t know if you have read this book, but if not, I highly recommend it. Consider an example from Chapter Twelve: Why is Psychological Stress Stressful?
“We humans also deal better with stressors when we have outlets for frustration — punch a wall, take a run, find solace in a hobby. We are even cerebral enough to imagine those outlets and derive some relief … A male baboon loses a fight. Frustrated, he spins around and attacks a subordinate baboon who was minding his own business. An extremely high percentage of primate aggression represents frustration displaced onto innocent bystanders. Humans are pretty good at it, too. … Taking it out on someone else — how well that works at minimizing the impact of a stressor.”
Also: “Repressing the expression of strong emotions appears to exaggerate the intensity of the physiology that goes along with them.” p. 278
Also: “… the stress-response can save your neck during a sprint across the savanna, but make you sick during months of worry.”
Again, a very good and entertaining book. Thanks again for your informative interview with Scott Horton. I’ll try to type something of a transcript for others who may not have the time to sit through the entire broadcast.
Mike Murry — Kaoshiung, Taiwan
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