Bombs, domestic and foreign, are defining the nature of politics in the United States, the European Union and among radical Islamist groups and individuals. The scale and scope of bomb-politics varies with the practitioner. ‘Wholesale bombers’ are state actors, who engage in large-scale, long-term bombing designed to destroy adversary governments or movements. ‘Retail bombers’ are groups or individuals engaging in small-scale, sporadic bombings, designed to provoked fear and secure symbolic outcomes.
Apart from planned bombings, there are improvised bombings committed by deranged individuals who engage in suicide attacks without any political backing or coherent purpose.
In this paper we will focus on the nature of ‘wholesale’ and ‘retail’ bombings, their frequency, political consequences and long-term impact on global political power.
Bombing as Everyday Events
The US and EU are the world’s foremost practitioners of ‘wholesale bombing’. They engage in serial attacks against multiple countries without declaring war or introducing their own citizen ground troops. They specialize in indiscriminate attacks on civilian populations – unarmed women, children, elders and non-combatant males. In other words, for the ‘wholesale bombers’, unleashing terror on societies is an everyday event.
The US and EU practice ‘total war’ from the skies, not sparing a single sphere of everyday, civilian…