Terror attacks in Mumbai

The news from Mumbai is still unclear, but extremely grim. Scores of people are dead, and hundreds wounded in yet another murderous terror attack.

As the cycle of war and terror has gone on, it’s become increasingly clear that the kind of easy evasion involved in slogans like “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” is no more tenable than the bogus arguments for war put forward by Bush and his followers. Terror attacks like this one are always crimes regardless of the purported cause, regardless of whether the terrorists deal death hand to hand or with bomber planes, and regardless of whether they are individual criminals, political or religious groups, or national governments.Phenomenon movie full

44 thoughts on “Terror attacks in Mumbai

  1. #20 SATP: The point being what? I read it but can’t understand it, except psychologically. Maybe you could explain his argument in coherent language for us. (This is a genuine request.)

  2. “Do you think they will strike again? Or will this attack have drawn world attention to their grievances?”

    This is just the biggest of numerous terror attacks in the last few months in India. And their messages are not encouraging. They have a list of grievances for sure, but they’re also getting off on the righteous power-trip of it all.

    What remains to be seen, if it can be seen, is the role of Pakistani influence and support. The Pakistani government announced less than a week ago that the political wing of their big intelligence agency, ISI, was being closed; and then a few days later, we have this. I am reminded of the attack on the Indian parliament in December 2001, just a month after the fall of Kabul. Like that attack, this was an enormous operation, carefully planned, and not something which would be unleashed on a whim. Some event or set of conditions caused the masterminds to decide that now would be the time. And I tend to think that the ongoing post-Musharraf crackdown on elements of the ISI (though not necessarily the closure of the political wing, specifically, which may be more of significance to Pakistani politicians than to anyone outside Pakistan) would be a factor.

    Just to spell it out, the idea is that in both cases the loss of a strategic asset (Taliban Afghanistan, freedom from civilian oversight) caused the pro-jihad elements in the ISI to try a doomsday option.

  3. India is mostly pre-occupied with parity with the PRC in economic prosperity and national security games. Pakistan is really only nuisance value but at least gives the Indian Artillery Corps some valuable field practice.

    One of these days Pakistan is going to seriously overstep the mark. Then India is going to chuck a monster wobbly and turn Pakistan into a parking lot.

    When I suggested this to an old (and impeccably Left-liberal) journalist hand who has covered the region for yonks his immediate response was “couldnt happen to a better country”.

    Even I was shocked.

  4. The terrorist attack is an attempt to hit India in its newly won globalising heart. Mumbai is rich and worldly, exactly the opposite of those who desperately crave austerity and purity.

    India’s burgeoning middle class will want to conserve its hard-won accumulations of residential and educational human capital. The Indian neo-bourgeois will not tolerate free-for-all pitched battles in its ritziest city.

    With so much of India;s resources and reputation at stake there will be alot of Indian’s thinking seriously about “working for the clampdown” (Joe Strummer). The immediate upshot of all this will be a clamp down on India’s much lauded civil liberties.

    Foreigners will have to segregated somewhat from the more general community. Border controls tightened. Machine gun toting police will be a highly visible presence in touristy precincts, as they were the last time I was in London, post-2005.

    (Musharraf sensibly curtailed Pakistan’s civil liberties when the their whack-job brigade threatened to bring the house down. He relented somewhat, after a chorus of civil libertarian disapproval including usual suspects in the Northern media, and raised up the clamp. Sure enough Ms Bhutto got knocked and half the country went berko for a while, causing tremendous amount of death and destruction. Still, at least the liberals could congruatulate themselves on their ideological purity.)

    Australia’s few remaining dyed-in-the-wool liberals have no cause for national self-congratulation. We are equally prone to donning the fur-lined jack-boots. Hence our meek acceptance, even enthusiastic embrace, of Howard’s mildly repressive anti-terror legislation. (I thought he didnt go far enough, but there is no satisfying some people.)

  5. maybe some Muslim fundamentalist version of Sean convinced these people that if they were too “Pacifist” to commit acts of terror against Western targets, then they were being “objectively pro-Bush”.

  6. John, if I may reply to jack strocchi by saying the language you use is very similar to that of the buckwit terrorists. Dream on.

  7. Machine gun toting police will be a highly visible presence in touristy precincts, as they were the last time I was in London, post-2005.

    I’m sure you may have spied one or two post 7 July, but I read this and felt it was a substantial over-exaggeration, having lived there through that period.

  8. JS wrote “…half the country went berko for a while…”

    I have been trying to make sense of “berko”. The nearest I can get is that might be a dig at the actor Steven Berkowitz, who sometimes played the wild-eyed maniac sort of role. What is going on here?

  9. Apparently, security at the hotels is already normally very tight.

    Apparently, there was an alert from the intelligence sources a month or so back which led to security being tightened further.

    Then tragically a week or so back when the threat hadn’t eventuated the intelligence services decided it was a false alarm and called off the alert.

  10. haiku Says: November 29th, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    Jack, I’m sure you may have spied one or two post 7 July, but I read this and felt it was a substantial over-exaggeration, having lived there through that period.

    I was only in London for a week or so a year after 2005. I saw a half-dozen or so in Pall Mall in one day. Another couple in Oxford St. I remember noticing others here and there. Is that a “substantial exaggeration” of the phrase “highly visible presence”?

    Perhaps there was a temporary alert on. But no one seemed to be very agitated by their presence. Traditional British phlegm?

    I never saw any automatic weapon-armed police in London during the eighties. This was during the height of the IRA terror campaign.

    London today – with its sensational inequities of wealth, rich foreigners seeking safe havens for ill-gotten gains, roving gangs of intoxicated youth bent on bother, constant pan-handling coming from every quarter and heavily armed cops – is starting to resemble New York a generation ago. Without the New Music scene.

    I didn’t much care for it.

  11. IG, repeated false alarms – the wolf crying wolf – is one of the four standard ways of breaching security. The Indians would have known this, and not simply called off an alert for that reason alone. There must have been other factors in their decision.

  12. # Michael of Summer Hill Says: November 29th, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    John, if I may reply to jack strocchi by saying the language you use is very similar to that of the buckwit terrorists. Dream on.

    If “the language [I] use is very similar to that of the buckwit terrorists” then they must be channeling Otto v. Bismark, the politician I feel most sympathy for these days. We should be paying more attention to old “Blood and Iron”.

    I am unashamedly on the side of law-and-order, border security and “mindful conformism”. Obviously the good citizens of Mumbai will shortly follow suit, if they arent there already.

    Terrorism seems to be a allergic cultural reaction to the post-modern Shock of the New and the the post-colonial Shock of Other. You cant really stop the urge, just constrain and defuse it.

    The authorities response to it should be epidemiological. Quarantine risky areas, surgically excise infected parts and administer palliative medication. Then sit tight until the locals evolve antigens (ie feminism and neoteny) to the pathogens of modernization (gangs, drugs, hot-heads).

    The civilized powers (including India now that it is on the path to civic modernity) should aim to “do no harm”. Begin by getting the hell out of Islamic Dodge. Its what the British and French did in Bengal and Algeria. And its what the Americans will have to do in Mesopotamia.

    We are well past the stage of Great Powers playing the Great Game. Let the UN send in posses of US robots to chase outlaws in the Badlands.

    And invite those remaining within their lawful jurisdiction who dont want to play by the rules of modernity to fit in or clear out.

  13. The 9/11 incident changed our world dramatically. It changed the US relationship with the world. It changed the Wests relationship with the world. The initial reponse to 9/11 may have been popular, including The military presence of the US and its allies in Afghanistan and Iraq. But the reality of war and the prolonged occupation / presence of the US and its allies in the middle east has done nothing but create more social and economic problems.

    We musn’t underestimate the blatant disregard for, and reduction of civil liberties in most Western countries as a result of the 9/11 incident . Would the Haneef incident have ever arisen except for the AFP and Co. greater powers.

    I have no doubt the Indian government will respond in a similar fashion. Hell it may even be an excuse to blow Pakistan of the face of the earth. The state can get away with anything when the people are at their most vulnerable.

  14. I don’t have any answers when it comes to why people believe that killing a bunch of other people in a busy city is going to improve anything.

    Treating these terrorists as perpetrators of a particularly nasty crime, and locking them up for (a long) life in a cell somewhere; perhaps thats the best that can be done for now. In the meanwhile, the politicians can do their talking thing with the terrorists having gone through the legal system. If Pakistan home-grown terrorists are involved, then the processing of the perps through the criminal justice system gives India the high moral ground.


  15. John, if I may respond to jack strocchi by saying I can only reiterate what I said before. Dream on.

  16. War is no (can never be a) solution to peace. War against terror can not and will not be able to solve this complexity of terrorism to bring about peace. What war against terror has done is just added fuel in the fire, helping to further prolong the fire.
    The war against terror is very much against the fundamental and basic principle of Mahatma Gandhi.
    War against terror is nothing, except playing at the hands of terrorist.

  17. I don’t pretend to understand this issue, but I suggest readers open their minds to the possibility that the Mumbai attacks were a ‘false flag’ operation as were the devastating terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001.

    The Mumbai attack is discussed, amongst other places, here.

    If anyone considers my claim about the September 11 attack to be far-fetched, view this YouTube presentation or read this post and subsequent discussion from an Online Opinion forum on “9/11 Truth” and then try to convince yourself that the ‘collapse’ of World Trade Center Tower 7 on 11 September 2001 was not a controlled demolition.

  18. Socrates,

    I assume that Thatcher’s “right” approach was killing civilians? As the English paramilitary did many times all around the world. You maybe be right that she wouldn’t have “fallen” for Bush’s plan, however,her plan would have been a lot more evil.

  19. “War is no (can never be a) solution to peace”.

    Of course it is; if peace itself is your problem or an intrinsic part of it (as when, say, someone is practising “peaceful penetration” against you, or there is a strategic resource embargo like that of the USA against Japan in the early 1940s), then war is a solution or an intrinsic part of it, if there is one. While all good outcomes involve peace, not all peace involves good outcomes.

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