Posts Tagged ‘ISIL’

Mother of all Bombs: No oversight required?

Sunday, April 16th, 2017

During his presidential campaign, President Trump promised to bomb the Islamic State of Syria and the Levant (ISIL) brigands in the Middle East back to the Middle Ages. He now seems to have given America’s generals carte blanche to do that. The only problem is that the ISIL fanatics involved in Afghanistan are already living in what is very much a Middle Ages world.

The American generals recently used a MOAB, popularly called the ‘Mother of All Bombs,’ and which also means Massive Ordnance Air Blast on a target in Afghanistan. It is a conventional high explosive, guided bomb device and was used for the first time by the Americans on an area of Achin in the Nangahar Province of Afghanistan. The huge bomb contains 10,000 kilograms of high explosive and its three-kilometre diameter blast area would have obliterated a large number of poppy growers along with their crops and families. The generals were hoping that the force of the bomb would crush the tunnels and caves in the area which are believed to be used by the ISIL forces.

And that is a great deal of ordnance to expend without civilian oversight when American forces are heavily involved in an undeclared war in the area.

The Achin area is east of Kabul on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan. The proximity of the border provides ISIL with convenient resupply and troop movement from Pakistan. Most of these fighters are Pakistani who speak the local Pashto language.

But it is the lack of civilian oversight in the use of a MOAB that is of the most concern. When the generals start carpet bombing with these things they will endanger the lives of Afghans and ISIL fighters alike. Mind you, bombs of this size and capability do not come cheap. Nor can they be delivered by a conventional bomber. They have to be dropped from the largest air transport planes that the Americans have.

President Trump cannot just give up his oversight responsibility as Commander-in-Chief of the American forces. He can only abrogate his oversight at serious risk. Collateral damage might just be a statistic to the generals but the statistics are the civilians being placed in harm’s way. It is the Commander-in-Chief who has the ultimate responsibility.

It makes you wonder though: If the American generals used a few of those ‘Mothers’ on targets in Pakistan, would it help slow down the endless war in Afghanistan?


Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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Harper endangers Canadians at home.

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

There was some interesting story positioning in the Toronto Star on Monday. The top story on page two was that the federal government will block any attempt to procure bail for prisoner Omar Khadr. The top story on page three was a full width picture of the prime minister being greeted by military personnel at an airbase in Kuwait. Under the picture was the headline: Harper pledges ‘unconditional support’ and a story about his speech to the troops.

What Harper said to the troops was that “By fighting this enemy you are protecting Canadians at home.” Not only was this a grossly inaccurate statement but he was telling it to people who might understand why it is inaccurate but cannot publicly say. Obviously the prime minister and his pathetic defence minister have never had to cower in a hole in the ground while relentless and impersonal enemy aircraft have rained cannon shells, bombs and rockets on them.

What the prime minister is doing is earning all Canadians the enmity of generations of people from Iraq and Syria. He is earning us the distrust of the Muslim world. We are not humanized as the shaved faces of troops on the ground but demonized as the devil incarnate killing indiscriminately from a distance.

Go from that picture to the vengeance that Harper’s government wants to attach to Omar Khadr. This was a child soldier placed on the wrong side of a war by a person he should have been able to trust, his father. He grew to manhood in Guantanamo Bay military prison—reviled and abused and then tried before a courts martial that he could not easily understand nor defend against. While there might be concern about what Omar Khadr has become, there is no excuse for further retribution.

And why does the Harper government play this song? Does it play well to certain segments of their voting base? Is it like the incessant pandering to the Israelis to win votes from Canada’s Jewish population? Does it compare to tweaking the nose of the Russian bear to please Canada’s citizens of Ukrainian descent? Does being down on terrorists and the thugs of the Islamic State’s New Caliphate win votes for Conservatives?

But is not what they are doing helping create internal terrorism in Canada? Does it not incite the mentally ill among us? Does it not incite the terrors of a bin Laden to exact vengeance? Does it not create yet another target? Is it a self-fulfilling program?

Maybe without being conscious of it, the Toronto Star editors, by their story positioning, were trying to tell us something.


Copyright 2015 © Peter Lowry

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