Friday, 21 April 2017

Putting the MOAB big bang in a nuclear context

Unpublished letter to The Guardian:
Your page two report on the US use of the massive ordnance air blast (MOAB)  device in Afghanistan stresses that at 11 tons of  TNT it is  the biggest conventional weapons ever used. ("’Mother of all bombs’ used in Afghanistan,” 14 April;

The tabloid press glorified its destructive power, with the Sun, Mirror and Mail running lurid front page coverage.

However, as nuclear weapons specialist for the Federation of American Scientists, Dr Hans Kristensen, points out, even the second biggest conventional bomb, is only 1/26th of the lowest yield option (0.3kt) on the smallest nuclear warhead in the US arsenal: the so-called B61.

The US atomic arsenal currently has 4,480 deployed warheads, plus  2,300 retired but still intact warheads are stored under custody of the Energy Department and awaiting dismantlement, giving a total US inventory of roughly 6,780 warheads.

Politicians in the US and UK should  be pressing their governments to reduce these obscene stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction through multilateral nuclear disarmament discussions with Russia, China, France, Israel, Pakistan, India and North Korea.

Sadly, last month when 130 nations gathered at the United Nations in New York to negotiate a treaty to ban nuclear weapons, but the US     and UK governments boycotted the  negotiations - but the British media collectively did not report the fact.

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