Mark Steyn on Mumbai

Ethel C. Fenig
Blissfully unconcerned with political correctness, columnist Mark Steyn clears away the pc underbrush, forthrightly explaining the implications of the horror in Mumbai.

Yes, the terrorists targeted locally owned hotels. But they singled out Britons and Americans as hostages. Yes, they attacked prestige city landmarks like the Victoria Terminus, one of the most splendid and historic railway stations in the world. But they also attacked an obscure Jewish community center. The Islamic imperialist project is a totalitarian ideology: It is at war with Hindus, Jews, Americans, Britons, everything that is other.

In the 10 months before this atrocity, Muslim terrorists killed more than 200 people in India, and no one paid much attention. Just business as usual, alas. In Mumbai the perpetrators were cannier. They launched a multiple indiscriminate assault on soft targets, and then in the confusion began singling out A-list prey: Not just wealthy Western tourists, but local orthodox Jews, and municipal law enforcement. They drew prominent officials to selected sites, and then gunned down the head of the antiterrorism squad and two of his most senior lieutenants. They attacked a hospital, the place you're supposed to take the victims to, thereby destabilizing the city's emergency-response system.
And, aside from dozens of corpses, they were rewarded with instant, tangible, economic damage to India: the Bombay Stock Exchange was still closed Friday, and the England cricket team canceled their tour (a shameful act).

Mumbai wasn't a one time flash argues Steyn but rather a blueprint for future atrocities around the world. Even the USA. Multiple, more extensive September 11s.

What's relevant about the Mumbai model is that it would work in just about any second-tier city in any democratic state: Seize multiple soft targets, and overwhelm the municipal infrastructure to the point where any emergency plan will simply be swamped by the sheer scale of events. Try it in, say, Mayor Nagin's New Orleans.

Hey, it happened in first tier cities. NY. Washington DC. Remember?

"But why?" the official peace lovers wail. Hint: this has nothing--absolutely nothing--to do with internationally sanctioned hatred for President George W. Bush so it won't stop with the ascension of the Office of the President-Elect Barack H. Obama (D). Another hint: this has nothing to do with the terrorists' need to save the whales.

There is a uhm, religion, oh, alright, some followers of a religious ideology, that just doesn't want to get along; Islam, whose followers are Moslem that was previouly mentioned.

But we're in danger of missing the forest for the trees. The forest is the ideology. It's the ideology that determines whether you can find enough young hotshot guys in the neighborhood willing to strap on a suicide belt or (rather more promising as a long-term career) at least grab an AK-47 and shoot up a hotel lobby.

Disabusing the ACLU types who wring their hands about preserving such niceties as wiretapping by warrant only, and criminals who just happen to be terrorists being read their rights and oh, the horrors of Guantanamo! Steyn explains that this is not a law enforcement matter but "an ideological assault – and we're fighting the symptoms not the cause."


Read it all.

Blissfully unconcerned with political correctness, columnist Mark Steyn clears away the pc underbrush, forthrightly explaining the implications of the horror in Mumbai.

Yes, the terrorists targeted locally owned hotels. But they singled out Britons and Americans as hostages. Yes, they attacked prestige city landmarks like the Victoria Terminus, one of the most splendid and historic railway stations in the world. But they also attacked an obscure Jewish community center. The Islamic imperialist project is a totalitarian ideology: It is at war with Hindus, Jews, Americans, Britons, everything that is other.

In the 10 months before this atrocity, Muslim terrorists killed more than 200 people in India, and no one paid much attention. Just business as usual, alas. In Mumbai the perpetrators were cannier. They launched a multiple indiscriminate assault on soft targets, and then in the confusion began singling out A-list prey: Not just wealthy Western tourists, but local orthodox Jews, and municipal law enforcement. They drew prominent officials to selected sites, and then gunned down the head of the antiterrorism squad and two of his most senior lieutenants. They attacked a hospital, the place you're supposed to take the victims to, thereby destabilizing the city's emergency-response system.
And, aside from dozens of corpses, they were rewarded with instant, tangible, economic damage to India: the Bombay Stock Exchange was still closed Friday, and the England cricket team canceled their tour (a shameful act).

Mumbai wasn't a one time flash argues Steyn but rather a blueprint for future atrocities around the world. Even the USA. Multiple, more extensive September 11s.

What's relevant about the Mumbai model is that it would work in just about any second-tier city in any democratic state: Seize multiple soft targets, and overwhelm the municipal infrastructure to the point where any emergency plan will simply be swamped by the sheer scale of events. Try it in, say, Mayor Nagin's New Orleans.

Hey, it happened in first tier cities. NY. Washington DC. Remember?

"But why?" the official peace lovers wail. Hint: this has nothing--absolutely nothing--to do with internationally sanctioned hatred for President George W. Bush so it won't stop with the ascension of the Office of the President-Elect Barack H. Obama (D). Another hint: this has nothing to do with the terrorists' need to save the whales.

There is a uhm, religion, oh, alright, some followers of a religious ideology, that just doesn't want to get along; Islam, whose followers are Moslem that was previouly mentioned.

But we're in danger of missing the forest for the trees. The forest is the ideology. It's the ideology that determines whether you can find enough young hotshot guys in the neighborhood willing to strap on a suicide belt or (rather more promising as a long-term career) at least grab an AK-47 and shoot up a hotel lobby.

Disabusing the ACLU types who wring their hands about preserving such niceties as wiretapping by warrant only, and criminals who just happen to be terrorists being read their rights and oh, the horrors of Guantanamo! Steyn explains that this is not a law enforcement matter but "an ideological assault – and we're fighting the symptoms not the cause."


Read it all.