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The Politics of Bombing: Wholesale, Retail and Improvised
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Introduction: 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 practioner.

‘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 indiscriminant 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 life. They bomb neighborhoods, markets, vital infrastructure, factories, schools and health facilities. The result of their daily, ‘ordinary’ bombing is the total erasure of the very structures necessary for civilized existence, leading to mass dispossession and the forced migration of millions in search of safety.

It is not surprising that the refugees seek safety in the countries that have destroyed their means of normal existence. The wholesale bombers of the US-EU do not bomb their own cities and citizens – and so millions of the dispossessed are desperate to get in.

Wholesale bomb policies have emerged because prolonged ground wars in the targeted countries evoke strong domestic opposition from their citizens unwilling to accept casualties among US and EU soldiers. Wholesale bombing draws less domestic opposition because the bombers suffer few losses.

At the same time, while mass aerial bombing reduces the political risks of casualties at home, it expands and deepens violent hostility abroad. The mass flight of refugees to US-EU population centers allows the entry of violent combatants who will bring their own version of the total war strategies to the homes of their invaders.

Secular resistance has generally targeted enemy soldiers, whether they are imperial invaders or jihadi mercenaries. Their targets are more focused on the military. But faced with the politics of long-distance, wholesale bombing, the secular opposition becomes ineffective. When the ’secular opposition’ diminishes, ethno-religious combatants troops emerge.

The Islamists have taken command of the resistance, adopting their tactics to the imperial policy of total serial wars.

Retail Bomb-Warfare

Lacking an air force, Islamist terrorists engage in ground wars to counter imperial air wars. Their response to drone warfare, is hand-made improvised bombs, killing hundreds of civilians. Their victims may be decapitated with hand-held swords, rather than computer-controlled missiles. They capture hostile population, committing pillage, torture and rapine, rather than bomb from a distance, to dispossess and drive into exile.

‘Retail bomb’ terrorists are generally decentralized and may be recruited overseas. Their bombs are crude and indiscriminant. But like the wholesale bombers, they target population centers and seek to provoke panic and despair among the civilian population.

Islamist ‘retail bombers’ seek to expand their range by attacking the home countries of ‘wholesale bombers’ – the US and Europe. These attacks are exclusively for propaganda and do not constitute any threat to strategic imperial military targets. They expose the vulnerability of their enemies’ civilian population.

While imperial bombers and Islamists bombers have been at war against each other, they have also served as allies of convenience. Several recent examples come to mind.

US-EU ‘wholesale bombing’ campaigns against Libya, Syria and Yemen worked in tandem with Islamist mercenary ground fighters. ‘Wholesale bombers’ devastated the infrastructure and military installations of the governments of Syria and Libya in support of advancing Islamist ground troops. In other words, ‘wholesale bombings’ are not sufficient to achieve targeted ‘regime change’, thus the resort to terrorist ‘retail bombers’ and jihadi ‘head choppers’ to advance on regional and local targets.

The most blatant recent example of the convergence of imperial wholesale bombers in support of Islamist retail bombers and terrorists was the September 17, 2016 US-EU attack on a Syrian military installation, killing and wounding almost two hundred Syrian soldiers who had been engaged in combat against ISIS terrorists. While Washington claimed that the hours-long aerial bombardment of Syrian government soldiers was a ‘mistake’, it allowed the jihadi ‘retail bombers’ to take the offensive and overrun the base. Acting as air-support for ISIS, the US Pentagon effective shut down any possibility for peace negotiations and sabotaged a fragile ceasefire. This was a major victory for Washington’s politics of permanent wholesale bombing and ‘regime change’.

Just as the US launched its propaganda and wholesale bombing attack against the Syrian government, an improvised ‘retail bombing campaign’ was launched in the US – in Manhattan and New Jersey! The latest series of retail bombing attacks in the US led to three dozen, mostly minor, injuries, while the brutal US wholesale bombing of Syrian troops killed over 62 government soldiers and wounded many more. The political impact and consequences of wholesale and retail terror bombings in both regions was highly significant. The US had no more right to launch an air attack on Syrian government troops engaged in defending their country, than the US-based retail terrorist (an Afghan-American) had in planting improvised bombs in US cities. Both actions are illegal.

Political Consequences of Bombing Warfare


The US-ISIS coordinated bombing of Syrian soldiers has set the stage for all-out warfare. Peace talks were violently sabotaged by the Obama Administration. Syria and Russia now face the combined forces of ISIS, Turkey and the US with no hope for a negotiated solution. The battle for control of Aleppo will intensify. Russian negotiators have failed to check their cynical American ‘allies’ in their much-ballyhooed ‘war on terror’. They have no choice but to continue to supply air cover for their Syrian government allies.

The US has embraced the Turkish invasion of Syria, betraying both their Kurdish allies and some element among their ISIS partners. Bombing continues to be Washington’s main option in the Middle East.

The recent retail terror bombing in the US has the predicted consequence – a mass media whipped into a frenzy of fear mongering. New York City is further militarized. The face of the ‘enemy’ (a young Afghan-American, whose own father had tried to turn over to the FBI for his jihadi connections) is on a hundred million TV screens continuously. The electoral campaign salivates in anticipation of a terror war for whoever wins the presidency. Blind fear rather than concrete economic demands take the place of political debate.

Immigrants, Muslims and terrorists replace Wall Street tax evaders, profiteers and speculators as the villains in a country mired in economic and social crises. Economic policies, which have created mass insecurity and misery, are obscured by the militarist rhetoric.

Militarism, war and wholesale bombing replace the incremental advances in improving peaceful productive relations with Cuba and Iran.

The politics of bombing, as a strategy and way-of-life affects domestic and foreign policy . . . even as the vast majority of American voters look for alternatives, for jobs, housing, and education and seek to live without fear and threats.

Wholesale wars lead to retail wars. Overseas bombs lead to bombs at home. Invasions and occupations provoke outrage and retaliation. The answer is not to do unto others what you don’t want done on yourself.

(Republished from The James Petras Website by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Military, Syria, Terrorism 
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  1. Practitioners of wholesale bombing (like Hillary) are depraved psychotic killers. But it is Donald Trump who demonstrates lack of character.

  2. Assad will need reinforcements. China is friendly to Russia and Iran. Perhaps China could chip in say about a million soldiers.

    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    , @Rehmat
  3. Mark Green says: • Website

    Hang the wholesalers. Arrest the retailers. Civilization can still be saved.

    • Replies: @annamaria
  4. Today’s BBC radio lunchtime news devoted 35 of its 40 minute span to Syria and how evil Assad is. Lots of “we must do something” – more than I’ve ever heard before.

    I had to quickly go to the BBC website, to check that the US hadn’t started bombing Damascus.

    Are we being ‘prepped’ for more military action?

    • Replies: @Tom Welsh
    , @Art
  5. Kiza says:

    A very good article, especially on the cooperation between wholesale and retail bombers, even on terrorism inside wholesale bomber countries. The retail Islamist bombers never attack any vital infrastructure in the wholesale bomber countries then saw pure terror into the civilian population to assist the regimes of the wholesale bomber countries to dispose of the obsolete democracy.

    As to what is going on in Syria at the moment, it appears that the Western regimes are huffing and puffing (threatening) and have put their propaganda machines into overdrive, but Syria and Russia are on the cusp of returning Aleppo under Government control. Only a direct military intervention by the wholesale bombers could now save their terrorists holding Aleppo and probably only temporarily. This is what “we must do something” means – direct military intervention by the sponsors of terrorism.

  6. Rehmat says:

    Dr. Petras – not only the US, EU, Israel and Russia have been terrorizing the civilians from skies – according to US Army whistleblower David Steele – all bombing and suicide operations have been carried out by the US, Israel and British intelligence agencies.

    Like al-Qaeda or al-Shabaab, there is no real “Islamist terrorist” group murdering innocent people unless you include the Islamic resistance groups like Hizbullah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Muslim groups fighting against American imperialism in Yemen and Russian imperialism in Chechnya.

    “The truth is there is no Islamic army or terrorist group called Al-Qaeda. And any informed intelligence officer knows this. But, there is propaganda campaign to make the public believe in the presence of an identified entity representing the ‘devil’ only in order to drive TV watchers to accept a unified international leadership for a war against terrorism. The country behind this propaganda is the US….” Former British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook.

    “Al-Qaeda itself doesn’t exist, except in the fevered imagination of neocon and Likudnicks (Israeli Jew fascists), some of whom, I suspect, it’s a myth, but find it extremely useful as a bogeyman to spook the public and the politicians to acquiesce in otherwise unacceptable policy initiatives at home and abroad….. R. T. Naylor, June 21, 2003.

    “The myth of Al-Qaeda is built on a expansive foundations of many half-truths and hidden facts. It is a CIA creation. It was shaped by the agency to serve as a substitute ‘enemy’ for America, replacing the Soviets whom the Islamist forces had driven from Afghanistan. Unknown American officials, at an indeterminate point in time, made the decision to fabricate the tale of mythical world-wide network of Islamist terrorists from the exploits of Afghan Mujahideen. The CIA already had their network of Islamic militants ‘freedom-fighters’, all that needed was a few scattered terrorist attacks against US targets and a credible heroic figurehead, to serve as the ‘great leader’….. Peter Chamberlin, January 5, 2010.

    • Replies: @Tom Welsh
  7. Tom Welsh says:

    “Wholesale bomb policies have emerged because prolonged ground wars in the targeted countries evoke strong domestic opposition from their citizens unwilling to accept casualties among US and EU soldiers”.

    This statement, like the rest of this excellent article, is indubitably true.

    But why do they have to fight wars at all?

  8. Tom Welsh says:

    “The mass flight of refugees to US-EU population centers allows the entry of violent combatants who will bring their own version of the total war strategies to the homes of their invaders”.

    Which probably elicits a feeling of poetic justice even in the minds of those who are most threatened by such violence. Except that the political decision-makers who initiated the bombing are probably more or less immune, cocooned in their gated communities and protected by legions of public and private security guards.

    Maybe it would be a useful and public-spirited form of subversion to put up masses of direction signs, reading: “This way to the homes of the people who are responsible for bombing your homes”. Or “This is the home of the [wo]man who gave the orders to bomb [wherever]”.

    • Replies: @Kiza
    , @annamaria
  9. Tom Welsh says:
    @Anonymous Nephew

    I congratulate you on your endurance in tolerating 35 minutes of what the BBC must have been saying about Syria. Nowadays I tend to switch on Radio 4, listen for (usually) about 10 seconds, and then switch off again if they are talking about any such subject. It’s the mental equivalent of being forced to drink a cup of cold vomit.

    • Replies: @gonefishing
  10. Tom Welsh says:

    Yes, Rehmat, that was my main objection to the fine article too. One must admit that everything Dr Petras says is true, and he is so much better than the MSM that his article is welcome. But I did feel he left out some quite important facts.

    The aversion to casualties that has led to exclusively aerial attacks has also led, rather less obviously, to the use of what look like spontaneous terrorist movements to substitute for Western soldiers. This has the great advantage that casualties are not only NOT a political liability, they can actually be claimed as a political success. I feel the people at Langley must be rubbing their hands in satisfaction, as they always do when they succeed in persuading the “masses” that what is happening is exactly the opposite of what is really happening.

    • Replies: @nsa
  11. Kiza says:
    @Tom Welsh

    Great idea about the signs. But do not forget that both the police and the military would protect the esteemed and the honorable members of the government (that is Western agents of Israel). Because many of them would have to die to reach the true perpetrators, the refugees would probably take out their anger on the unprotected sign writers and posters.

    I am expecting that the policy of flooding Syrian terrorists with US manpads will results in Western civilians dying from them soon (a few could be smuggled into EU near airports). In other words, it would have to be much more than sign writing to turn back the current pro-Israeli Western madness.

  12. @Tom Welsh

    Australian ABC has the same effect on me. Its main source of information on Syria appears to be SOHR.

  13. nsa says:
    @Tom Welsh

    We here in Langley and Ft. Meade refer to our muzzie assets as Joohadis and the umbrella organization as Al Kika. With a little help from our useful idiot media, we could easily convince the masses of asses that freeze dried dog turds are both nutritious and very tasty….or that Iceland represents a threat to national security and needs to be bombed…..or that unlimited turd world immigration leads to a more peaceful society and a higher standard of living. We here in Ft. Meade and Langley create your reality…….

  14. annamaria says:
    @Tom Welsh

    According to General Kirby, the State Dept. spokesperson, the Russian Army’s anti-terrorist operations will lead to bombs going off in Russian cities. The good general has expressed the thoughts of the main political decision-makers in the US.

    “1. There are persistent rumors among well-informed people involved in Russian politics that the Americans received an unexpected surprise in the form of their secret coordination center in Syria being bombed as a response to their recent bombardment of Syrian troops. This symmetrical response is given special intensity given that, according to unofficial information, this strike ended the lives of many American, Saudi, and Israeli officers who had long been working in Syria even though their presence was not officially recognized by anyone. In these circumstances, they [the US] didn’t want to accuse Russia of doing something of the sort, but wanted to say something bad. And here Mr. Kirby, in such a sophisticated way, promised to avenge his fallen comrades. Let’s recall that Kirby is not a career diplomat, but a former soldier, so this version holds water.
    2. Soon enough, there will be elections in the US, and many American officials really want to maintain their positions after the elections. As it turns out, many American, Latvian, Ukrainian, and Polish officials and politicians believe that if they say some horrible stuff about Russia, then the future Hillary Clinton administration will give them cookies, good positions, and many other bonuses.”

    These gated cannibals, despite the insulation, are going to experience the consequences of their bloody war-profiteering decisions just because the waves from the bombings and immense human misery, inflicted by the US/EU deciders, are reaching farther and farther: from the migrants-trashed Parisian boulevards to the body bags with the US soldiers. The soldiers were sent by the Pentagon/CIA to Syria for cooperating with fanatical jihadis, including those belonging to Al Qaeda. The US citizenry does deserve to know the names of the fallen as well as the names of those war-profiteers that had sent the young men and women to advise the “moderate jihadis” and other Al Qaeda affiliates in Syria. Has not the US had enough of Oded Yinon plan (Israel wants the Golan Heights by any means ) and neocons’ lunacy of full-spectrum dominance (a sure way to the hot WWIII)?

  15. J1234 says:

    Slightly OT, but what kind of aircraft is shown in that photo?

  16. @WorkingClass

    God help us if China gets confident and aggressive enough to move any meaningful number of troops into the Middle Eastern / Central Asian oil-and-gas countries. But it does seem well nigh inevitable.

  17. For this article that focuses on US bombing, how come there’s a picture at the top of a Russian “Bear” Tu-95 bomber? (complete with its archaic turboprops)

    Is it because they just bombed the hell out of Aleppo?

  18. Rehmat says:

    Assad doesn’t need one million Chinese soldiers – he has enough Syrian soldiers and Hizbullah fighters to defend Syria.

    Both China and Russia have more closer relation with Netanyahu and wouldn’t like Iran-Hizbullah to destroy Israel’s decades old plan of a regime change in Damascus.

    However, Zionists are never known to be ashamed of lying. For example, on September 25, the New York Times published latest B.S. – claiming that after banning Muslim and Buddhist minorities to practice their faith in public, now Chinese authorities has declared war on the God’s Chosen People.

    The paper’s expert on China even lamented that while China recognizes officially Islam, Buddhism, Catholicism, Protestantism and Taoism – Judaism is not recognized even though there are 1,000 Kaifeng Jews have lived among 1.2 billion Chinese for centuries.

    On September 21, The Jewish Week, boasted that Pan Guang, a Confucian, is one of China’s leading experts on Jews and Judaism. Pan Guang delivered a 40-minute lecture at the City University of New York (CUNY) last week. He said Chinese interest in Jews is reflected in titles of such best-selling Chinese books as 16 Reasons for Jews Getting Wealthy and The Secret of Talmud: The Jewish Code of Wealth. He also said many Chinese want to know how the Jews are so smart.

    In September 2015, Aryeh Tepper posted an article on Jewish The Tower, claiming, Ties between Jerusalem and Beijing have never been this strong.

    I wonder who is not propagating the crap.

    Lt. Gen. Ehud Barak, former prime minister, defense minster and chief of Jewish army, visited China in June 2011. Chinese chief of staff Gen. Chen Bingde visited Israel in 2012. Benjamin Netanyahu visited China in June 2013.

    Beijing has traditionally been a supporter of the Palestinian cause at the United Nations, while at the same time drawing economically closer to Israel. Trade between the two nations is valued about $8 billion a year. China is primarily interested in American technology given to Israel through USAID.

    Pakistan is the only Muslim country frequently visited by Chinese leaders. Pakistan recognized Communist China in 1949. Chinese prime minister Chou En-Lai visited Pakistan in 1956 and 1964 – followed by president Li Xiannian (1984), prime minister Le Peng (1989), Chinese president Yang Shangkun (1991), President Liu Shaoqi (1996), President Jian Zemin, prime minister Zhu Rongji (2001), President Hu Jintao (2006), PM Li Keqiang (2013), and China’s current president Xi Jinping (2015).

  19. Rehmat says:
    @Jim Bob Lassiter

    The National Interest is as Israeli propaganda organ as Wikipedia is.

    • Replies: @Jim Bob Lassiter
  20. @Rehmat

    Thanks for the tip; I didn’t know. I was just trying to answer another guy’s question about airplanes.

  21. annamaria says:

    The Dutch Safety Board has published a questionable report on MH17 .
    The report is based on revelations of Mr. Eliot Higgins, a well-known charlatan and darling of Atlantic Council, a neocon nest. Higgins is cherished by the presstitutes of a ziocon kind for his aggressively Russophobic “investigative journalism.” Higgins has no training in engineering, no training in military hardware, aviation, foreign languages, and forensics. His only known expertise is in selling ladies underwear. Perfect credentials for becoming an “expert” of Atlantic Council and
    “Visiting Research Associate in the Department of War Studies at King’s College London”. (Who are those idiots at King’s College London to invite the obvious fraud to teach the youth there?)
    “Bellingcat is a UK-based group, headed by Eliot Higgins. They have been publishing claims accusing the Russian military of direct involvement in the shoot-down. A Dutch-based group has published detailed analyses of Bellingcat and concluded its evidence has been fabricated and its claims false.

    The main decider of the Dutch Safety Board is Tjibbe Joustra, its Chairman. In the past, Joustra was caught on giving misinformation related to his expensive lifestyle on a public dime. Later on, Joustra was appointed a “National Antiterrorism Coordinator. He was the first person to hold this new position, advising the Ministers of Justice and Interior on matters of terrorism prevention.”
    Do we need to know more? He seems to be a Dutch version of Mr. Hayden of Trailblazer fame. Dishonesty and Profiteering are his birthmarks.

    • Replies: @Jim Bob Lassiter
  22. @annamaria

    A neocon Eurotrash panty feeler??– You don’t say Anna. Hard to make up stuff like that!

    • Replies: @iffen
  23. Art says:
    @Anonymous Nephew

    Today’s BBC radio lunchtime news devoted 35 of its 40 minute span to Syria and how evil Assad is. … …. …. …. Are we being ‘prepped’ for more military action?


    We are about to be treated to the Benghazi Hustle in Syria.

    Out of the clear blue, a false story came out that Gadhafi was going to massacre all of Benghazi.

    100% of the Jew MSM – all of the neocon literati and the US administration said it.

    Days later the bombing began. Libya was destroyed.

    Clearly they want to do the same in Syria.

    Will the Syrian people, Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah fight back?

    p.s. The untold story is that Libyan arms were shipped to Syria to start this ungodly war.

    • Replies: @RobinG
  24. Art says:

    It must be said!

    The Israeli, US, and Saudi governments are the Axis of Evil in the world – PERIOD – End of Story – FINI.

  25. RobinG says:

    Yes, Art, well said. The MSM is aided and abetted by the R2P “Human Rights” Interventionists. Their purported “No Fly Zones” in Syria are really “Open Kill Zones” – just as they were in Libya.
    “Human Rights” front groups (“Humanitarian Interventionalists”) warring on Syria

    The Israeli, US, and Saudi governments are also the Axis of Hypocrisy.

    • Replies: @annamaria
    , @Art
  26. annamaria says:

    Reposting a link to a short article by Theodore McIntire, a Major (retired) of the US Air Force:
    “The mid-September 2016 a series of events that could be interpreted as retaliation in kind appears to have been intentionally overlooked and totally buried by Western mainstream media.
    17 September 2016: U.S. admits carrying out airstrike that Russia says killed 62 Syrian soldiers
    21 September 2016: U.S. Coalition Intelligence “Operations Room” Inside Syria, Destroyed by Russian Missile Attack: Thirty Israeli, American, British, Turkish, Saudi, Qatari Intelligence Officials Killed.”
    The 30 Israeli, American, British, Turkish, Saudi, Qatari servicemen were killed while advising to “moderate jihadis”, including Al Qaeda affiliates, in U.S. Coalition intelligence “Operations Room” inside Syria.
    Splendid. Just a few days after commemorating 9/11, the US was caught up on cooperating with “freedom fighters” (some belonging to Al Qaeda).
    It was during the process of punishing the Al Qaeda for 9/11, when the US neocons have committed numerous violations of the US Constitution, including the use of torture and indefinite renditions, destruction of Iraq’s cultural heritage and use of depleted uranium in Fallujah — all while inflicting a humungous debt on the US citizenry. And now this partnership with jihadis in Syria…
    “Nobody believes in it. You’re like, ‘Fuck this,’” a former Green Beret says of America’s covert and clandestine programs to train and arm Syrian militias. “Everyone on the ground knows they are jihadis. No one on the ground believes in this mission or this effort, and they know they are just training the next generation of jihadis, so they are sabotaging it by saying, ‘Fuck it, who cares?’ “I don’t want to be responsible for Nusra guys saying they were trained by Americans,” the Green Beret added.

  27. Art says:

    Assad has held on for 5 years – for only one reason – the people of Syria support him over anything that the Israeli/US/Saudi governments will install.

    Syria’s Heroic Fight Against Western Imperialism

    By Andre Vltchek – New Eastern Outlook – 01.10.2016

    It is hard to imagine a more resilient, more heroic nation than Syria!

    With only 17 million inhabitants (according to the 2014 estimate), Syria is now facing the mightiest coalition on Earth – a coalition that consists of virtually all traditional Western colonialist and neo-colonialist nations.

    It is also facing some of the cruelest and deadliest inventions of the West – the extremist and murderous post- and pseudo-Islamic groupings, similar to those that were already unleashed against the Soviet Union during the war in Afghanistan.

    Because of the tremendous determination of its people, Syria is still standing! But it is standing against all odds. Its Golan Heights are illegally occupied by Israel, its borders constantly violated by the Turkish military, and by the West’s ‘special forces’ and air force.

    Syria’s “political opposition” was created, then groomed and financed by the United States and Europe, in the style of “Color Revolutions”, as has happened in all other socialist countries that the West has been trying to destabilize and return under its deadly rule. Millions of Syrian people have been, during the last six deadly years, terrorized, slaughtered and intimidated by jihadi cadres, implanted by the West and its regional allies: Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, Israel and others.


  28. iffen says:
    @Jim Bob Lassiter

    WTF is a panty feeler? Is it similar to a panty peeler?

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