Massacre in Mumbai

Well, here we are, two days after the start of the terrorist attacks at a reported ten locations throughout Mumbai, India. The news has recently announced the deaths of five Americans. Reports indicate that two victims were from my home state of Virginia: a 58 year-old father and his 13 year-old daughter. From what I can piece together, it appears that Alan Scherr (and his daughter, Naomi) were in India for a spiritual retreat.

The news has also announced the deaths of at least five at Chabad House, a Jewish center for Chabad-Lubavitch, a large Hasidic movement based in Brooklyn, NY. The deaths include American-born Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg and his Israeli-born wife, Rivka. Their two year-old son escaped with another person. The video of the Chabad House that I have seen on TV is eerily reminiscent of scenes from the Munich Olympics.

The current wisdom is that the attackers were Al-Qaeda or Al-Qaeda-inspired. There is talk that “rogue elements” of Pakistan’s Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) may be behind, or may have supported, the attacks. Commentator¬†Mansoor Ijaz believes the attacks are linked to the recent declaration of new Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari that Pakistan will not be the first country to use nuclear weapons in any conflict with India. According to Ijaz, a reduction in tensions between Pakistan and India would reduce the influence of the likes of the ISI, which seems to operate independently of civilian or military control.

As conditions improved in Iraq, the major news outlets have significantly reduced their coverage. Clearly, to them, no news is better than good news. So, the Mumbai Massacre is a not-so-subtle reminder that the war against terror still exists, and it is not just isolated to Afghanistan. To those that bristle at the phrase “war on terror”, I ask what term would you rather I use? It is a multi-front war…just ask the people of New York, Spain, Great Britain, the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania (remember the Beslan school?), Thailand, the Philippines, Cyprus, Sudan, Kashmir, …. and now, Mumbai. Only now, the tactics have changed to urban warfare.

Recent reports were that gun dealers here in the U.S. were doing a brisk business before the Mumbai attacks. I imagine that business is very good indeed now. I’ll be visiting Clark’s Brothers in the morning.

Some of the gunmen have been described as of Pakistani descent and in possession of British passports. It will be interesting to see if any of these goons can be traced to the mosques in Britain. As the complete operation is pieced together, it will become clearer who is responsible.

News reports suggest that there have been survirors among the gunmen. George W. Bush is still the President. Here’s hoping that the CIA has been paying their water bills.

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