MOAB – Afghan Scorched Earth

MOAB Aftermath

Matthew Hoh

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.

Interview with Scott Horton

Letter from Kadir:

3 thoughts on “MOAB – Afghan Scorched Earth

  1. 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.

  2. Mr Hoh,

    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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