Over the last several days the world has witnessed incredible carnage in the name of religion. Fox News reports “Indian police said Sunday that the only surviving gunman told them he belongs to the Pakistani militant group Lakshkar-e-Taiba. The group is seen as a creation of the Pakistani intelligence to help fight India in the disputed Kashmir region. Another group, Jaish-e-Mohammed, has also operated in Kashmir. Both are reported to be linked to Al Qaeda.” In that part of the world, religion is inextricably linked to politics and foreign policy.
We are also hearing reports that Muslims across the Middle East are condemning the violence which has killed more than 170 people. These “conscientious Muslims” are afraid that the violence will tarnish the image the world has of Muslims. I find this attitude astounding to the point of hilarity. Palestinians have been shelling Israeli settlements for years. The only reason they have not amassed the kill rate of the Lakshkar-e-Taibi is because they are so inept. They keep shooting small rockets into the Israeli settlements with no idea where they will land.
When you compare the average Muslim extremist attack with that undertaken in Mumbai last week, it is like comparing the bush league with the majors.
The BBC reported that the planning for the Mumbai attacks was extensive. At least one ship was hijacked and used as a mother ship to transport the attackers close to shore. They then went ashore in dinghies in two to four-man teams to conduct their attacks. The targets were preselected. All indications are that the attacks were rehearsed and well choreographed. The attackers were very well armed for the selected targets to affect maximum casualties. While a large number of people were killed, it doesn’t look like those killed were completely random victims. The attackers were specifically looking for people with American and British passports. They also specifically targeted the residence of an Israeli priest who had frequent Israeli guests.
This attack shows a high degree of planning and coordination, possibly with the complicity of elements of Pakistani Intelligence.
On the other hand, looking at the average Muslim extremist; young Muslims, mostly young men, are more than willing to strap on bomb vests and blow themselves up along with anyone who happens to be close by. But this is in the name of – well, I don’t know what they are trying to accomplish – I guess they are trying in some perverted way to advance Muslim principles. In my view this is a prime example of cowardice, not on the part of the suicide bombers, but on their handlers. If it is so glorious to die for Allah, why are they recruiting the young, passionate believers? Why do they not prove their devotion and blow themselves into the arms of their 72 virgins?
While fanatics can and often do create havoc, they are not the major concern for America; rather, it is the calculating and organized groups that may or may not be affiliated with Al Qaeda. However, certainly Al Qaeda has been an inspirational influence in the world of Islamic terrorism. The planning that took place before the Mumbai attacks reflect the thoroughness of the planning and execution of the 9/11 attacks. I’m sure the planning did not take nearly as long, but it was certainly as thorough. This shows that the enemy is still willing and capable to undertake the requisite planning for a successful attack.
What really worries me is that the exact same scenario can be used right here on American shores with only a few alterations to the plans. These highly coordinated groups would like nothing better than to conduct a successful attack against a high profile event.
With a change in administration and a change in national emphasis the next couple of years will tell how the world of terrorism views the United States. If we are viewed as ineffective or uncommitted to the war on terror we can expect renewed targeting of US assets, if not on US soil itself. Vigilance and pressure on the terrorists is the only thing that will keep their attacks from our soil.
As always, I welcome your thoughts and comments. This posting can also be viewed at: http://carpentersmate.blogspot.com.