Fox News is reporting that #The United States has dropped the largest nonnuclear bomb in its arsenal on an ISIS tunnel complex in Nangarhar Province in Eastern Afghanistan. The GBU-43B Massive Ordinance #Air Blast weapon, known popularly as the “mother of all bombs” was developed during the early days of the Iraq War but has never before been used in combat. The MOAB contained 21,000 pounds of explosives and made a 300-meter blast crater. The weapon was delivered by an MC-130 aircraft. As of this writing, American military personnel are assessing the damage wrought by the MOAB weapon.

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The United States military has not yet revealed why the weapon was used, but likely two considerations came into play..

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The MOAB was designed to wipe out an extended area such as an enemy base. Since the target was described as being a tunnel system, the weapon was likely deployed to collapse the complex using its blast effects. The bomb also likely wiped out every ISIS jihadi in the strike zone with devastating results to that organization’s plans for Afghanistan.

The other reason the MOAB was used was likely psychological. Big explosions that wiped out an entire target along with anyone in it tend to be impressive and fearsome. The use of the weapon sends a message to every enemy of the United States that is hard to ignore. Whether the enemy is ISIS or some other entity, such as North Korea, it must be wondering what is coming next and whether it would be wise to concentrate too much in a single place.

While the use of the MOAB is said to have been under consideration for months, its deployment constitutes part of a new aggressive strategy on the part of the United States. It comes on the heels of a missile strike on a Syrian airfield that was used to launch a Sarin gas attack as well as the deployment of a United States Navy carrier battle group off the coast of North Korea to counter that country’s threats to launch nuclear weapons against its enemies..

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The message is quite clear. If you propose to become a problem for the United States, then you should be prepared to be attacked and destroyed. After eight years of a relatively passive national security policy on the part of the Obama administration, the new approach is at once bracing and frightening.

Enemies of the United States always have the option to stop being a problem. Indeed, that would be the preferred outcome of the deployment of a shock and awe weapons such as the MOAB.