Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

The Terror in Mumbai Deconstructed

with 7 comments


Armed attackers struck a number of targets in Mumbai, India’s largest (and  the world’s fifth largest) metropolitan area. It’s getting a lot of news coverage, in fact an almost unbelievable amount of news coverage considering the scale of the attack. Sensationalism is the watchword of the day in the mainstream media I guess. No disrespect meant to the victims of this terrible crime, but I have to wonder if the media spotlight is making it even worse for them. Rambling aside, there really isn’t a whole lot of information available about the attacks yet, so I’m going to try and deconstruct the situation with what we do know and see what’s going on. What follows is often my opinion, and is subject to change as more information becomes available.

The first point is…we don’t know much and likely never will. Initial media reports in a  situation like this are always garbage, it’s best not to even pay attention to them. The perpetrators of the attack may very well want to obscure aspects of their operation, so they aren’t a reliable source even if they can be identified. Add to that the fact that the governments involved are going to do their best to spin the situation to their benefit and we have  a situation where everything we hear is suspect. So our analysis is going to have to be based only the most bare boned facts available.

So what do we know? A few dozen attackers attacked ten high profile targets in Mumbai almost simultaneously with grenades and small arms. That’s pretty much it. The number of attackers and their obvious professionalism and careful selection of targets pretty much rules out any sort of amateur effort, so this was conducted by an established insurgent group and/or a government. That’s not much, but it’s a start. The selection of targets is the other obvious clue. And here we immediately see one thing…the attackers have already achieved at least one of their objectives in spades. The selection of international targets in India’s financial centre was obviously designed to garner as much international and domestic media attention as possible…in that sense the attack is already wildly successful. If they wanted to sow fear and confusion, and it’s a good bet that was part of their aim, they’ve already won. Great.

It gets worse. Since the attack was designed with publicity in mind, it’s a pretty good bet that they were hoping for a knee jerk  response. The obvious knee jerk response is “kill all the Muslims.” This immediately suggests to me that people who are responding this way are doing exactly what the attackers wanted. Which again suggests we shouldn’t leap to any conclusions about who launched this attack. Fortunately, I’m not seeing much of this from governments, not surprising, the “crazed Muslim terrorists are out to kill us all” line has turned out to be one of the most counterproductive propaganda campaigns in history. Sure, it got Bush’s crusades in Iraq and Afghanistan American public approval, but it has hurt moderate Muslims and encouraged Muslim extremists to no end everywhere.

So, really, who knows. I do think it can safely be said that the world’s media are over-reacting. As a friend said, if this happened in Kinshasa it wouldn’t even make the last page. Similar terrorist and military attacks kill over 100 people almost daily somewhere in the world, so the only thing different about this is the location and targets. Basically, because white people were targeted in what were supposed to be bastions of western civilization, this is huge news. In most cases, it’s brown people killing brown people or white people killing brown people somewhere the in third world. That kind of violence hardly makes a ripple in the west.

To extend this thought, a case can be made that the western media’s reaction to this case shows just how deeply racist and colonial attitudes still pervade the western mind set. We are shocked beyond belief when a  few western tourists get caught up in terrorist violence, yet we have no trouble sending armies into foreign lands that have killed and are killing innocents in numbers that dwarf the casualties in Mumbai? To claim that this is some sort of terrible crime while ignoring the equally horrible crimes committed in our name is pretty, basically, demented. Or as I recently read “How can anyone think we can stop terrorism by invading Islamic countries?” Not that’s there’s any shortage of demented thinking all around, the Jihadists have their own problems in this regard. That’s why this sort of tit-for-tat madness has continued throughout human history. The crusader/crusadee game, whose side are you on?

However, I digress. The nature of the attack (its size, sophistication, and knowledge of Mumbai) and the history of similar attacks (similar attacks were a hallmark of an insurgent group in Kashmir) point to the idea that this attack may very well have originated within India’s enormous Muslim minority. There’s 150 million Muslims in India, it’s the third largest Muslim population in the world. So we may be seeing something here akin to the creation of the IRA or Hamas. Probably/possibly with the backing of Kashmir militants and maybe even sinister third parties: rogue counter-intelligence elements in Pakistan, etc. The later part though is the stuff us worms won’t know the facts about for years or decades or ever. There’s a fairly good succinct overview of the background to this attack here, it didn’t occur in a vacuum. It’s not the whole truth, but at least gives some information for those that are trying to analyze this situation.

I any event, I hope no one took offence here, none was meant. These are terrible crimes and my thoughts and prayers go out to the victims. My efforts here are directed at understanding what happened so that maybe the mistakes that led to this can be prevented in the future. I know there’s going to be a chorus of “we have to kill all these monsters”…I can only hope that cooler heads prevail. This isn’t a problem that can be solved with a simple black and white military solution, it’s going to have to be more nuanced than that.

We’ll see though, I have been saying for years that when the next 9/11 occurs, try not to leap to any conclusions. That’s what they want us to do. Well, this could be it.

(The above image of one of the mystery attackers is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s not being used for profit, its use here in no way interferes with the copyright holder’s commercial use of the image, and arguably it is a historically important image. Credit and copyright: AP. I predicted that the world is going to end before next July, an analogy  for the Mumbai attacks are the John Brown’s Raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859…a harbinger of the things to come.)


Written by unitedcats

November 28, 2008 at 2:07 pm

Posted in History, Terrorism, World

7 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. “[…]an almost unbelievable amount of news coverage considering the scale of the attack[…]”

    I can see why you might believe some may take offence to the contents of this post. The sentence above is a good start. Being in (and from) the city that has faced this situation for nearly 60 hours, it is very easy for me to be offended, because your statement above suggests that the event was insignificant (even in a context). The event has hurt my city badly.

    Yet, I agree with you on the media (especially the western media) reaction. 2008 has been a bad year for India, and unless direct Western interests were affected or within the realm of being affected, this kind of coverage is unexpected. Though, there was senseless sensationalism on the part of the India media (which is understandable(?)), I was surprised with the CNN coverage.

    In spite of the political rhetoric of “common enemy” and “war on terror”, terrorism seems to be necessarily a local problem in a global context. Till, no direct implications are obvious, no one really cares for any event anywhere in the world.

    I have been a regular reader of the Dark World, so I know the context and the background of all your posts, especially this one. This post needs to be read in the context of the rest of the material on this blog. That no offence is meant is abundantly clear. You have in fact, put out a sane voice in these insane times.


    November 29, 2008 at 2:05 am

  2. Similar to the reason for the World Trade Center being chosen as a target, the group intended to force the US into a knee-jerk reaction which would make them expend a large number of resources and scatter their forces around the world making their military far more vulnerable to attack and eventually harming their economy. Its amazing how many times this tactic has worked without people learning from history.

    Blayze Kohime

    November 29, 2008 at 6:55 am

  3. You know if you want to know why this happened or any of the many number of strange attacks going on in the world in these times, and you ask yourself: How can I, a lowly citizen, find the truth?
    You don’t need to sneak into a government top secret vault and get level gazillion security passes. You can watch the Star wars prequels and know it all. Both sides in this war are controlled from the same control room. Its a simple equation.
    I mean give me a break, you don’t really believe there are bands of terrorizing psychopaths, bent on destroying the fruits of colonial conquest, by planning focused attacks throughout the world. And to top it off, they are supposedly muslims; or jihadists, islamists etc etc, take your pick of the terms coined by the think tank controllers. These words don’t refer to anything real by the way.
    This is the part hard to swallow, because according to common opinions on Islam; aren’t muslims meant to be backward ignoramouses stuck in the stone age. Yeah, muslims can really organize such a grand scheme.
    Normally when I get cranky at the confused bystander in all this, I think, he’s watching too much TV or playing too many video games. I wonder, that maybe you aren’t watching enough.


    November 29, 2008 at 9:32 am

  4. The Mumbai assaults/Harper’s Ferry parallel is a complete mistake.

    Louis A. DeCaro Jr.

    November 29, 2008 at 5:54 pm

  5. Well, I’m not sure from what we know now if the US was a target. At best a secondary target, I’m still going with the idea that this originated in and concerns India and its politics and history.

    I did express the possibility that this might be a false flag operation, that must always be kept in mind. Not convinced yet though, there are still other possibilities at this point.

    All I meant with the Harper’s Ferry analogy is that a small number of ideologically motivated raiders had an impact far beyond what their numbers would suggest. Nothing more.

    I will be posting again on this subject, for good or for ill (well, mostly ill,) there’s going to be blowback from this attack.


    November 29, 2008 at 8:37 pm

  6. You guys are way over-thinking this.

    Just like all politics are local, so are all terrorists attacks, and all media attention. A terrorist attack that more directly affects Western interests is going to be covered more closely by the Western media. Not only do we have the Western business and tourist angles, but we also have an attack that affects a politically unstable region that includes two nuclear powers.

    But I disagree that non-Western-related terrorist attacks are ignored by the U.S. media. One example that was followed closely by the Western media was the Beslan school hostage crisis. And we often hear about the latest suicide bomber who kills a few people on a bus or in a pizza parlor in Israel. Also, the claim that “similar” attacks where more than 100 people are killed in terrorist attacks is specious. Yeah, I know you added “military” in there, but that’s a red herring.

    Evil exists, there are evil people in the world, and they want to kill their enemies. The argument that 9-11 happened because of some master plan to pull America into a drawn-out war to weaken it militarily and financially is a dark conspiracy theory. It happened for the same reason that most of these terrorist attacks happen … people wanting to kill people they don’t like.

    And you can’t continue to hide from the fact that most of these terrorist attacks are made by Muslims. I don’t know of Jews or Christians who are strapping bombs to themselves (or mentally ill children) and walking into crowded public places, although I’ll agree that there are a handful of such people willing to kill for what they consider a higher purpose. But for the seven people killed in America (and none in the last decade) by “Christians” in abortion-related murders (just to use the favorite example of liberals), that dwarfs the number of people “Muslims” have killed in recent history.

    The fact is that a tiny percentage of Muslims have plotted and continue to plot the killing of their enemies, and they do it partially for religious reasons (but mostly because they hate Israel and its main supporter, America). And with 1 billion Muslims in the world, even one-tenth of 1 percent of them is a lot of people willing to use the Koran as a rationale for killing their enemies.

    Conservative Stych

    November 30, 2008 at 7:47 am

  7. […] Space Exploration The Terror in Mumbai Deconstructed […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: