Items filtered by date: Friday, 14 April 2017

It’s been widely reported the U.S. dropped the Mother of All Bombs (MOAB) on Afghanistan, demolishing a tunnel lair and killing thirty six Islamic State terrorists. Every news site currently has headlines discussing the tactical details, the ethics and the cost of the weapon. Like many of you I am a bit awestruck in the details of the destructive force of the explosion and the cost of the weapon. The MOAB costs approximately sixteen million dollars apiece so the price per dead terrorist is about $444,000.

 

I don’t want to launch into snarky arguments about where that money could have been better spent, that’s what Facebook and Twitter is for. But it all got me to think about the bomb itself. Where exactly did the “GBU-43/ B Massive Ordnance Air Blast,” come from?

 

Like much of modern warfare, the seeds of the MOAB were planted in WWII. Throughout the Second World War both the Axis and Allies used rotorcraft (mainly helicopters) for a variety of roles; usually for reconnaissance or rescue operations. In fact, during the “China-Burma-India-Theater,” if U.S. military gliders were unable to reach downed American bombers, the Air Force would send helicopters to extract the stranded flight crew.   

 

During the Korean War helicopters played a more integral role. Helicopters played a critical role in medical evacuations, flying wounded to “Mobile Army Surgical Hospitals” (MASH). A term made famous by the television series M*A*S*H, which depicted the fictional 4077 unit, based off the Robert Altman film, based off the book of the same name.  You can read more about the use of Helicopters in the Korean War at the History.net’s article, The Rise of the Helicopter During the Korean War.      

 

During the Vietnam War, the use of the helicopters expanded and the US Army relied on “choppers” as they never had before. The military plan was to use the heavily armed UH-1 “Huey” helicopters as cavalry. Huey’s would be able to offer air support, quickly resupply platoons or evacuate wounded. It was all part of the military strategy to heavily rely on the helicopter.

 

But there was a problem. The geography of Vietnam is a chaotic tangle of rugged mountain peaks, extended forest and flatlands. Sure, the Huey’s had no problem landing in the flatlands but there were no natural landing zones (LZ) in the peaks or the forests.

 

Something had to be done about that.

 

Enter the BLU-82B/C-130 weapon system, nicknamed “Daisy Cutter"   

 

No natural LZ? No worries! The 15,000lb conventional bomb known as the “Daisy Cutter” is the solution to all your  LZ problems! From the Wikipedia entry on the “Daisy Cutter:”

   

“...originally designed to clear helicopter landing zones and artillery emplacements in Vietnam ... but also powerful enough to strike against specific targets such as warehouses, vehicle parks, and enemy troop concentrations … It is detonated just above ground by a 38-inch fuse extender. This results in maximum destructions at ground level without digging a crater.”

 

A nice range of photos showing the flat destruction of a “daisy cutter” and the type of LZ it creates can be seen here at www.peteralanlloyd.com. Basically, the bomb pulverized the trees in a large radius but the ground remained relatively flat. All your LZ problems have been solved.

 

Later, the “Daisy Cutter” is used in Afghanistan, first in an attempt to clear minefields, and then ,due to its 300-600 yard blast radius, as an intimidation weapon as the bomb can be seen, heard and felt for ten(ish) miles.  

 

At the time it was one of the largest conventional weapons ever to be used.  The BLU-82 was retired in 2008 and replaced with the much more powerful, “Mother of all Bombs.”

 

Albert L. Weimorts, Bunker Busters and the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast

 

Enter Albert L. Weimorts (1938-2005). For his entire civil engineering career, Albert designed bombs for the Air Force and created some of the largest non nuclear bombs ever made. Sometime around 1990, Mr. Weimorts was turned on to a particular “bomb problem.” Apparently, Saddam Hussein's bunker was impenetrable. Well, obviously, the United States had issues with that and so turned to Albert to create a bomb that could penetrate the impenetrable.

 

From a Dec, 25th, 2005, NY Times article by Douglas Martin, “...need for this new bomb came after 2,000-pound bombs failed to break through a hardened bunker used by Iraqi leaders, possibly including Saddam Hussein himself. A book prepared by U.S. News & World Report, "Triumph Without Victory: The Unreported History of the Persian Gulf War" (Times Books, 1992), said "numerous officials" claimed the bomb was built explicitly to kill Mr. Hussein, although the first President Bush publicly said the Iraqi leader was not a target.”

 

The article quotes Mr. Weimorts from the book, "We understand quite well what it takes to penetrate targets -- what it takes in terms of fusing, survivability, explosives and all," Mr. Weimorts said in an interview with the authors. Ideally, such a bomb would have to be dropped from a high altitude, meaning the United States and its allies needed to establish total air superiority in order to use the weapon. "Just three days into the war, it looked to me like that was possible," Mr. Weimorts said. "So I sketched out something that we could carry high, and it would be heavy."

And so the world is introduced to the GBU-28s Bunker Buster, a bomb capable of piercing hardened concrete and exploding only when it had penetrated to a certain depth. The Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) was conceived, designed, created and falling on bunkers northeast of Baghdad, within five weeks.

Based on the success of that program the Air Force looked to Mr. Weimorts to upgrade the elderly “Daisy Cutter.” The Air Force wanted a “shock and awe” bomb for use as an anti-personnel weapon and for soft and medium surfaces and covering extended areas and targets in a contained environment such as a deep canyon or within a cave system.  On March 11th, 2003 the MOAB was first tested at Eglin Air Force Base in FL. Then again on Nov 21st, 2003.

The Pentagon ordered twenty MOAB’s built for a grand total of $314 million. And then, for the next fourteen years, there they sat, in a warehouse, or a hanger or a garage or something. Somewhere. No one ever used them.

 

Until now. On 13 April 2017, a MOAB was dropped on an ISIL cave complex in southern Afghanistan killing thirty six terrorists.  

 

I usually pepper my stories with pop culture wit and personal anecdotes but I think I’ll leave it to Facebook, Twitter and late night comedians to crack jokes about the "Mother of all Bombs". Depending on whom you believe MOAB it is either, “the right weapon at the right time,” or, “an unethical use of power.”

 

I don't know. Perhaps it’s both.

 

 

Published in News & Information

While a Detroit-area doctor has been charged with performing genital mutilation on two young, Minnesota girls, the parents, who misled their children into believing they were taking a “girls’ trip,” have yet to be charged with child abuse as of this writing.

Female circumcision is most commonly done in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Egyptian politician Elhamy Agina supported the practice because Egypt’s men were “sexually weak” and could not meet the sexual demands of Egyptian women. So punish the women, right?

Many instances of female genital mutilation go unreported, but instances have tripled since 1990 according to this report by the Government Accountability Office. This is the first federal case of its kind under the federal statute passed in 1997. Female genital mutilation is governed by Title 18, Part I, Chapter 7, Subsection 116 of the United States code, but only focuses on the doctor performing the unnecessary surgery. The entire law follows:

(a) Except as provided in subsection (b), whoever knowingly circumcises, excises, or infibulates the whole or any part of the labia majora or labia minora or clitoris of another person who has not attained the age of 18 years shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.

(b) A surgical operation is not a violation of this section if the operation is—

  1. necessary to the health of the person on whom it is performed, and is performed by a person licensed in the place of its performance as a medical practitioner; or
  2. performed on a person in labor or who has just given birth and is performed for medical purposes connected with that labor or birth by a person licensed in the place it is performed as a medical practitioner, midwife, or person in training to become such a practitioner or midwife.

(c) In applying subsection (b)(1), no account shall be taken of the effect on the person on whom the operation is to be performed of any belief on the part of that person, or any other person, that the operation is required as a matter of custom or ritual.

(d) Whoever knowingly transports from the United States and its territories a person in foreign commerce for the purpose of conduct with regard to that person that would be a violation of subsection (a) if the conduct occurred within the United States, or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.

The parents will be subject to state child abuse laws, but no charges have come from the State of Minnesota as of this writing. The penalty for causing “substantial bodily harm” to a child is five years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine. Does that penalty fit the crime? Dr. Dalia Wachs doesn’t think so.

“Are you kidding me? I mean, that should be a lot longer,” she said, adding later that “if you psychologically traumatize someone at that age, especially a child … these girls might not ever have an interest in sex.”

Wachs thinks if some of the more than half million American women were to enroll in a study to determine the psychological effects of female circumcision, it would be helpful in determining a punishment that fits the crime, because “there are no health benefits” from the surgery.

The federal law should be altered to provide harsher penalties to parents forcing this procedure upon their children. Imagine if your parents did this to you at age seven and then you had to continue living with them for another decade or so, knowing they had forever altered your ability to enjoy sex and quite possibly your ability to have children of your own, according to the World Health Organization. Everyone has the right to attempt to be better parents than their own parents, unless, of course, you have parents like these.

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If you like this, you might like these Genesis Communications Network talk shows: America’s Healthcare Advocate, The Bright Side, The Dr. Daliah Show, Dr. Asa On Call, Dr. Coldwell Opinion Radio, Drew Pearson Live, Good Day Health, Health Hunters, Herb Talk, Free Talk Live

Published in Opinion

Canadian government officials announced their plan to legalize marijuana in Canada by July 2018 on Thursday. Canada has taken a play from the American playbook by leaving the details of marijuana legalization up to individual provinces, but recreational use of marijuana will be legal nationwide, so how will it impact America?

  1. More supply of marijuana

The obvious impact would be more supply of marijuana, which will make it’s way south of the Canadian border via the black market since America still classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug, like heroin and Ecstasy. While just two Canadian-bordering states (Washington and Maine) have legalized marijuana, only Idaho and Wisconsin have yet to legalize medical marijuana. So many of the Canadian-bordering states already have an increased supply of marijuana due to medical marijuana policies, which would mitigate the chance of Canadian grass making its way into America. But the reason marijuana prohibition is ending in Canada is because it doesn’t keep drugs out of the hands of kids and only allows a black market to not only form but thrive. Prohibition doesn’t keep people from using drugs. Prohibition only makes drugs more expensive and results in violence when black marketers fight for a larger piece of the inflated market valuation. Canada’s legalization of marijuana puts them at a unique advantage to capitalize on an emerging market...

  1. Cannabis exports

Canada’s legalization of marijuana nationwide puts it in a great position to capitalize on cannabis exports to nations that legalize marijuana use but don’t have the means to meet demand. Uruguay is the only country to legalize consumption, cultivation, transportation and sale of cannabis, but all of its available market comes from cannabis grown by Uruguayan authorities. That won’t last. As more and more countries move toward legalization, Canada, and not America, will be best positioned to capitalize on the export of edibles, waxes, and even bud. Canada is apparently three or four years ahead of any other country when it comes to the scale of cannabis companies created. It’s a great opportunity to eventually increase the gross domestic product of Canada.

  1. More U.S. states will legalize marijuana

Nothing is going to stop the momentum of the marijuana legalization movement in America, and Canada’s legalization policy will only fuel that fire. Eight states and Washington, D.C. have legalized marijuana entirely, and 28 have medical marijuana policies. Arizona, Michigan, Vermont and Rhode Island are most likely to legalize marijuana in 2018, with Idaho, Wyoming, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas considering medical marijuana policies.

  1. More Americans will emigrate to Canada

Canada is already a favorite settling spot for Americans emigrating due to the 2016 Presidential election. In fact, Canada hasn’t seen an influx of "talent" like this since 1989, according to the Seattle Times. Legal cannabis will draw even more Americans north of the border, most of whom will be leaving American jobs they do well, further weakening American businesses and the U.S. economy. Unemployment rates will decline, though, as new workers move into the private and public sectors.

  1. Canadian hemp will kill the American cotton market

Perhaps the biggest impact of Canada’s marijuana legalization will be on the American cotton market. The U.S. is the number one exporter of cotton in the world, but hemp can be used in lieu of cotton in clothing and a whole lot of other items. Hemp makes for stronger rope, longer lasting textiles and clothing, and you can even build a house out of hempcrete. With America clinging to marijuana’s Schedule I status, it limits where hemp can be grown and makes exporting the product impossible, despite hemp not having the psychoactive effects of marijuana.

If you’ve noticed, Canada’s legalization of marijuana won’t have a positive impact on America. All Americans can hope for is that Congress legalizes marijuana before Canada does, or America will suffer these consequences.

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If you like this, you might like these Genesis Communications Network talk shows: America’s Healthcare Advocate, The Bright Side, The Dr. Daliah Show, Dr. Asa On Call, Dr. Coldwell Opinion Radio, Drew Pearson Live, Good Day Health, Health Hunters, Herb Talk, Free Talk Live

Published in News & Information