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Last Updated:  Friday, 28 February, 2003, 19:43 GMT
Bomb name makes town unhappy
Canyonlands National Park, Moab, Utah
Moab prides itself on its clean, fresh, outdoor image
The tiny US town of Moab has asked President Bush to change the name of an acronym used to describe a massively powerful new bomb - called MOAB.

Moab, in Utah, is a rural idyll famous for its outdoor pursuits including rock climbing, canoeing and rafting.

MOAB - short for massive ordnance air burst - is a new bomb under development in the US, said to pack the force of a small nuclear weapon.

Moab's Mayor David Sakrison has written to the president asking him to rename the bomb, fearing it will damage the image of his town.

This bomb is being described as a monster
David Sakrison

Mr Sakrison said he was "taken aback" when he first heard the bomb being described on US television this week.

Reliant on tourism

"I would not have noticed if they'd just referred to it by its full name but they kept calling it MOAB for short.

"It just took me aback," he told BBC News Online.

The US air force is developing the 21,000-pound (9,500-kilogram) air burst bomb - which will be more devastating than the largest bomb now in the US inventory, the 15,000-pound "daisy cutter".

"This bomb is being described as a monster," said Mr Sakrison,

"We have spent years striving towards promoting a positive image for our town," he added.

Moab, which has just 5,000 inhabitants is heavily reliant on tourism since the collapse of its mining industry some years ago.

The old western town was established 100 years ago by Mormon settlers.


Its name is taken from the Biblical land of Moab, which lies to the south east of the Dead Sea in the Middle East.

Moab refers to the "land beyond Jordan", according to Utah history references about the origin of the town name.

Mr Sakrison said: "We strongly believe that our town's name could be severely damaged by naming the bomb after Moab, thereby negating years and dollars spent in marketing and promoting our town."

Map showing Moab

Ironically the town is celebrating its 100th anniversary and is keen to continue attracting tourists from both the US and overseas.

The mayor has contacted his congressional delegation and is asking the government to change the bomb's name.

His letter states: "We realise it is an acronym, but we are still concerned about the effects it may have on our community."

"People here are very unhappy about it," added Mr Sakrison.

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