On Thursday, the Trump administration released the largest non-nuclear bomb on the eastern side of Afghanistan in the Nangarhar Province.
The “MOAB” which stands for “Massive Ordinance Air Blast” or “mother of all bombs,” weighed 21,000 pounds at a total cost of $314 million dollars, estimated at $12 million per unit.
While the global fight to combat ISIS remains paramount to counterterrorism efforts for present and past administrations, the after-shock of releasing a bomb of this magnitude will reverberate further than a physical assessment after the dust settles.
Here’s a list of five issues that may have been resolved or greatly diminished, had the $314 million been put to better use.
The Flint Water Crisis
Flint’s water could have been paid three-times over had the current administration used the money towards clarifying the city’s long-standing lead poisoned water. A February 2017 assessment ruled the estimated cost of upgrading Flint’s water system came out to $108 million, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Housing & Urban Development
The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s 2017 fiscal budget allocates, “$48.9 billion in gross discretionary funding and $11.3 billion in new mandatory spending over ten years,” according to HUD’s website. The agency currently supports about 4.5 million American households. In March, Trump’s proposed budget suggested a cut of $6 million dollars or 13 percent. $134 million would no doubt improve the lives of those supported by HUD, while re-energizing revitalization efforts for low-income communities.
De-escalation Training & Tactics For Law Enforcement
According to a tracker by The Washington Post, 223 African-Americans were killed by police in 2016. While the number is less than the number of Whites (465), African-Americans are 2.5 more times likely to be killed by police. Though the 24-hour news cycle shifted to cover the latest adminstration to the furthest extent, our eyes are not blind to ongoing issues between law enforcement and communities of color. While there’s no raw data to track the effectiveness of de-escalation training, several metropolitan based police departments have begun to roll out specific approaches. The money used to deploy MOAB could better purpose police who vowed to serve and protect.
Veterans continue to face a myriad of issues once they return home to assimilate back into civilian life. From PTSD, to depression and economic hardship, their struggle to acclimate back into normalcy is challenging, to say the least. $314 million dollars would better serve veterans if used to create programs focused in improving their quality of life. Initiatives should investment in repairing VA hospitals, trauma rehabilitation and work programs that help veterans translate learned skills into monetary gain.
As the number of incarcerated Americans continues to rise, African-American men and women continue to be severely affected. According to the NAACP, 1 in 6 Black men were incarcerated since 2001, while 1 in 100 Black women are currently in prison. Prison reform advocates report to the disproportionate arrest rates and sentencing for low-level crimes. According to the same study, “prisons and jails consume a growing portion of the nearly $200 billion we spend annually on public safety.” Taxpayer money would be better distributed to advance the agenda of prison reform advocates and help dismantle the role the American jail system played in the disfranchisement of minorities.