The US Military dropping the largest non-nuclear bomb ever used in combat enflamed social media users on Thursday, drawing comments from many prominent figures including Edward Snowden.
The mega GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB), dubbed the “Mother of all bombs”, is the largest non-nuclear bomb ever to be used in a combat setting. US forces dropped it in the Achin district of Nangarhar province in eastern Afghanistan at 7pm local time on Thursday.
National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden noted the strike was designed to destroy a network of tunnels that the US itself had funded during the 1980s when CIA backed Jihadists were fighting the Soviet Union.
The colossal bomb, over 30 feet long and weighing more than 21,000 pounds, creates a blast radius stretching a mile in each direction. It is made of a thin aluminium skin that is designed to “maximise the blast effect,” according to Frederick Davis of the Air force Research Laboratory, who designed the destructive device.
Footage from a 2003 test shows the enormous scale of the blast. According to the Air Force, the test produced an impact cloud that could be seen from 20 miles away.
The bombing drew floods of responses on social media, with many noting that the extremely expensive explosive could have paid for public services, such as Meals on Wheels, whose budgets are being cut by the Trump administration.
Meanwhile, many others expressed support for the move saying it would help defeat ISIS. Trump himself described it as “another successful job”.
The GPS-guided bomb was built for the Iraq war to pressure Saddam Hussein, but none had ever been used until Thursday.
“The goal is to have the pressure be so great that Saddam Hussein cooperates,” then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said in an interview about the bomb in 2003. “Short of that… the goal is to have the capabilities of the coalition so clear and so obvious that there is an enormous disincentive for the Iraqi military to fight against the coalition.”