Trump Doctrine is beginning to emerge as we enter the home stretch of the first 100 days: the “America First” rhetoric that immediately followed Trump’s inauguration is quickly being overridden in favor of the post-election promise to “bomb the shit out of ’em.”
Less than a week after sending 59 Tomahawk missiles to a Syrian air base–with such limited success that planes were able to take off the next day— the United States launched a GBU-43/B Massive Ordinance Air Blast (MOAB), striking an ISIS-controlled cave and tunnel structure in Afghanistan. The ten ton MOAB is the largest non-nuclear explosive to see combat, and hit with enough force that there is no doubt anyone in the tunnels would have been killed on impact. A mushroom cloud was visible for several moments following detonation. While it is probably fair to say that the destruction of these tunnels was a reasonable end goal, one wonders exactly how much consideration and care went into making the decision when, just days ago, Trump mistakenly stated he ordered Thursday night’s air strike on Iraq, not Syria. (He was, however, able to describe the cake he was eating at the time in great detail.) It might also be fair to question whether something less than the largest non-nuclear bomb in the arsenal might have been sufficient, especially given the price tag attached to the MOAB: around 15 million dollars.
President Trump called the strike “another very, very successful mission.” I would suggest he dial back his enthusiasm. First, this was a costly strike, the efficacy of which will only be known with time. Second, the word “another” is bound to raise some eyebrows, especially with the other significant news of the day in mind: a US drone strike in northern Syria killed 18 members of an allied Kurdish coalition, and no one else. The Kurdish force was apparently mistaken for members of the Islamic State– highlighting, again, concerns that military decisions are being made too quickly, and without nearly enough caution.
This is delving into speculation, admittedly, but one has to wonder which of the plausible reasons explain why Trump and the Republicans are so eager to rush to action in the Middle East. Is it the recent abject failures of Congress to pass any meaningful legislation prior to the Easter holiday, an attempt to distract from the ever-developing Russian investigation and infighting within the administration, or both? It would seem that only time will tell.
— This is the ALF, signing off.