India is second only to Iraq in the number of terrorist attacks and casualties, but the attacks in Mumbai--now in their third day--indicate a shift in terror strategy and tactics.
While the IslamoNazi attacks have not featured the mass casualties produced by the standard, lone suicide bomber, the very well organized small unit guerilla assaults on Mumbai's soft targets was far more successful in achieving its major goal... creating widespread terror.
The attackers more resembled a disciplined commando unit than a rag-tag group of terrorists intent on ending up ASAP at the right hand of Muhammad.
By striking highly-populated venues--a railway station, hospitals, hotels, restaurants, bars, hostels-- at the peak of tourist season, the sub-humans made the most of automatic weapons and grenade attacks, inflicting hundreds of casualties. Early reports are more than 150 dead and 300 wounded. Included in the death toll were five Israelis, apparently including a rabbi and his wife, who were taken hostage and later executed.
Fourteen police officers had been killed in the city, along with nine gunmen. Nine attackers have been captured.
The benefit of this strategy is multi-faceted; by striking these very soft targets over many square miles, and entire area is rendered unsafe, psychologically impacting visitor and citizen alike. Almost immediately the financial impact has been felt by India's hotels, entertainment centers, travel agents, as well as airlines and tour companies. Financial losses and layoffs will follow.
To have done this much damage the death squads had to have relied on previously cached ammunition and perhaps, explosives. It seems unlikely that a relatively small group could have landed all the weaponry and supplies in the small boats used to land on the west coast of the Mumbai peninsula. A well-done chronology of the attacks here.
Some of the the well-armed killers are still holding out, lending further credence to the possibility of well--organized confederates who provided building plans, transportation, and may have served as drivers and or ammo/ordinance bearers.
The time it has taken for India's military and law enforcement units to forcefully and successfully end these attacks indicates a lack of preparedness and the mind set necessary for search and destroy.
News photos show soldiers without body armor, armed with outdated rifles, above, and limited communications. Most police responded looking just as they would to writing a parking ticket. Some were armed with what appeared to be obsolete bolt-action rifles.
Chief of the Mumbai Anti Terrorist Squad, Hemant Karkare, below, was killed Wednesday leading an operation at hotel Taj against terrorists holding 15 people, including seven foreigners, as hostages.
Overall they made the mistake (just the the US often does) of responding to terrorist attacks as crimes.
I remain surprised that such Muslim death squads have not hit soft U.S. targets in similar fashion. When it does occur, I doubt we'll fare much better.
Remember the 1997 North Hollywood bank shootout between two gunmen and the LAPD? Ten officers and seven civilians were wounded before both robbers were killed, but not before the robbers fired 1,300 rounds in 44 minutes. I am also reminded of Columbine High School where children died while scores of SWAT teams crouched outside, hiding behind armored vehicles.
Yet at North Hollywood and Columbine, there were only two shooters in each incident; in the Virginia Tech massacre, one lone gunman killed 32.
And none of them were hard-core terrorists.
Cops don't stop crimes, they investigate crimes.