Smart Commentary on Mumbai Disaster


I work with some of the greatest minds in the country when it comes to understanding what is going on in the global terrorism field — Steve Coll, Peter Bergen, Nicholas Schmidle, Robert Wright, Tim Golden, Afshin Molavi, and others. And we are close strategic partners with Karen Greenberg’s NYU Center on Law and Security which has done so much to wrestle with the torture era America rushed into during the Bush/Cheney administration.
Both institutions are great resources for smart, informed commentary on the Mumbai terror disaster.
And then, of course, there is my friend Juan Cole. . .
So here are three pieces that can help most become smart quickly on what a muddle the Mumbai terror scene is:

Steve Coll: Decoding Mumbai
Paul Cruickshank: Hunting for the Killers
Juan Cole: India — Please Don’t Go Down the Bush-Cheney Road

— Steve Clemons


10 comments on “Smart Commentary on Mumbai Disaster

  1. söve says:

    This is a religion that proselytizes, nurtures, and finances jihadist mass murderers, and jihadist mass murder gangs all over the world.


  2. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    Bruce Riedel’s recent observations are useful:
    …”Al Qaeda and its allies like LeT and JeM would see this easing of tensions as a threat to their interests. They want conflict between India and Pakistan today just as they did in 2001. They thrive on the hatred the Indo-Pakistan conflict produces. If they are involved in the Mumbai attacks it would be in part to disrupt any chance at easing tensions in the subcontinent and perhaps also to divert Pakistan’s army away from the badlands along the border with Afghanistan to the border with India, again as in 2001….”
    This Mumbai event, India’s 911, is consistent with AQ ideology and its longstanding propaganda about a US-Zionist-Hindu axis. This is not about Kashmir alone, its about the destabilization of India as a rising power in an emerging multipolar world.
    US policy from Team Obama should include a considered and prudent “tilt” toward India while at the same time attempting to work constructively with a semi-failed Pakistan state.


  3. questions says:

    It’s worth thinking through which is the tail and which is the dog in the politics/religion wagging dynamic. Does Wahabism dictate what the politicians do, or do politicians (in the broadest sense) dictate what Wahabism means? We could say lots of things about what religion in the US justifies or has justifed (slavery, death penalty, beating up people who stray, keeping women barefoot and pregnant, raping women who tempt men…) BUT our political system currently (for the most part) dictates that religion can’t be used to justify such behavior, and so we don’t engage in those behaviors.
    Politicians use religious beliefs to move people. What better motivating force than G-d says so…? Remember, it’s a politician’s “job” to gather power and maintain power. Using fear and religious feeling is a short cut that a lot of politicians find helpful.


  4. kotzabasis says:

    TonyForesta is absolutely right. Wahabism generates fanaticism and pathological killers that “must be stamped out.”
    WigWag’s suggestion that “paradoxically the Mumbai disaster will provide the Obama Administration with an opportunity to pursue an opening with Iran,” is imaginatively thoughtful but in my opinion unrealizable. The test to such an outcome will be whether the libido dominandi of Iran in the form of nuclear weapons will be lessened by its fear of the resurgence of the Taliban and al-Qaeda and the support the latter get from “Pakistani army and intelligence service” elements. But there is no evidence that Iran’s concern of a Taliban-al-Qaeda-Pakistani military axis and its economic weakening as a result of falling oil prices will check Iran’s surge for power in the carapace of nuclear weapons.


  5. easy e says:

    Certainly more credibility in these minds than Rita Katz and SITE – – – the source our “intelligence community” & MSM has used for years to inflict fear about the Osama bin Laden boogeyman. More on Rita Katz and SITE at , , and
    Then again, it’s still early and Rita’s government psy-op contract might be renewed just in the nick of time.


  6. Paul Norheim says:

    “Posted by WigWag Nov 30, 11:24PM – Link
    I can’t help but wonder whether, paradoxically, the Mumbai
    disaster will provide the Obama Administration with an
    opportunity to pursue an opening with Iran.”
    There is unrest, wars and risk of new wars both to the east and
    the west of Iran, and Iran is not to be ignored in either case.
    Attacking Iran in the current situation would be sheer madness.


  7. TonyForesta says:

    We can and all should learn from 9/11, and hopefully India will follow most of Mr. Coles suggestions.
    But if you would, please convey the message to your friend Jaun Cole that Wahabism IS evil. Wahabism is a primitive, perverted, predatory pathologically disturbed mangling of islam. This is a religion whose imams teach five year olds it is allahs’ will to kill all Americans, Jews, and infidels, (including their own muslim sisters and brothers.)
    This is a religion that beheads or stones women in public for exposing thier ankles.
    This is a religion that will allow dozens of thier young daughters to burn before a sanctioned male escort bothers to guide them out of the flames engulfing their segregated school.
    This is a religion that proselytizes, nurtures, and finances jihadist mass murderers, and jihadist mass murder gangs all over the world.
    This a religion whose operatives, logistics, and financing streams are directly culpable for 9/11.
    So inform Juan Cole that wahabism IS evil, and must be stamped out, and damned for all time like the nazi’s.
    Other than that, let’s hope India reacts more intelligently and effeciently in the process of holdiing those responsible for these heinous acts of cowardice accountable, and avoids invasion and occupations, and stuffing some creepy version of democracy down other nations throat, and erecting puppet governments beholden to the will of the Indian oligarchs, and – let us not forget – wanton profiteering in and from the process.
    Hopefully no other civilized nation will react with such incompetence and criminality as America did under the tyrannical reign of the bushgov.


  8. easy e says:

    I would also include Michel Chossudovsky’s commentary to your list:
    India’s 9/11. Who was Behind the Mumbai Attacks?
    What interests are served by these attacks?
    Washington is intent on using the Mumbai attacks to:
    1) Foster divisions between Pakistan and India and shunt the process of bilateral cooperation and trade between the two countries;
    2) Promote internal social, ethnic and sectarian divisions in both India and Pakistan;
    3) Justify US military actions inside Pakistan including the killing of civilians in violation of the country’s territorial sovereignty;
    4) Provide a justification for extending the US led “war on terrorism” into the Indian sub-continent and South East Asia.
    * * * * *
    Additionally, I would urge your readers to re-read info on the “Strategy of Tension”, as arthurdecco recommended in an earlier post,
    Your prior post & comments on War Profiteering (Woolsey, Cambone, Zakheim, PNAC) should only reinforce that…..


  9. WigWag says:

    I can’t help but wonder whether, paradoxically, the Mumbai disaster will provide the Obama Administration with an opportunity to pursue an opening with Iran.
    Throughout the 1990s Iran and India were allied in their support of the Northern Alliance and Iran supports Indian aspirations in Afghanistan today much to the chagrin of the Pakistanis (and their Chinese allies). Iran can’t be happy to see the success with which the Al-Qaeda affiliated Kashmiri terrorists attacked Mumbai. After all, Al-Qaeda considers Shias to be apostates deserving death.
    It is also hard to believe that the Iranians are not just a little nervous about the Taliban’s resurgence in Afghanistan. They cooperated in important ways to help the US overthrow the Taliban only to see the Bush Administration reward their cooperation by placing them in the “Axis of Evil.”
    If Steve Coll is to be believed, elements in the Pakistani army and intelligence service actively support the Taliban as a counterweight to Indian influence in Afghanistan, so Iran must view with concern the new found strength of their Taliban and Al-Qaeda enemies in the Pakistani tribal regions.
    Add all of this to the economic woes that Iran is bound to face because of falling oil prices and it suggests that a dialog with Iran about joint American-Iranian interests in Afghanistan (and to a lesser extent India and Pakistan) might just bear fruit.
    Or perhaps my thinking is just too convoluted.


  10. Paul Norheim says:

    Let`s hope that Juan Cole`s article is read in India, and quoted
    by Indian newspapers.
    A quote:
    “With a new civilian government, headed by politicians who have
    themselves suffered from Muslim extremism and terrorism,
    Pakistan could be an increasingly important security partner for
    India. Allowing past enmities to derail these potentialities for
    detente would be most unwise.
    Don’t Swing to the Right
    The American public, traumatized by 9/11 and misled by
    propaganda from corporate media, swung right. Instead of
    rebuking Bush and Cheney for their sins against the Republic,
    for their illegal war on Iraq, for their gutting of the Bill of Rights,
    for their Orwellian techniques of governance, the public gave
    them another 4 years in 2004. This Himalayan error of
    judgment allowed Bush and Cheney to go on, like giant
    termites, undermining the economic and legal foundations of
    American values and prosperity.
    The fundamentalist, rightwing Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party,
    which has extensive links with Hindu extremist groups, is
    already attacking the secular, left-of-center Congress Party for
    allegedly being soft on Muslim terrorism. The BJP almost
    dragged India into a nuclear war with Pakistan in 2002, and it
    seeded RSS extremists in the civil bureaucracy, and for the
    Indian public to return it to power now would risk further
    geopolitical and domestic tensions.”


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