Saturday, November 29, 2008

Evaluating How India's Dealt With The Terrorists In Mumbai--Errors Were Made (2 Updates)

On Thursday, Israel was offering assistance to India for combating the terrorists in Mumabai. Apparently, the help needed would have been minimal:
The Israeli officials said that Indian counter-terrorist forces were well trained but failed to gather sufficient intelligence before engaging the terrorists.
Fox News seems to back up the assessment that there was an intelligence failure:
While terrorism experts say Indian special forces performed with remarkable bravery and professionalism in their battle with the terrorists, they believe the attacks should — and could — have been thwarted by better intelligence.
But there are also questions being raised on the training of the anti-terrorist unites and how they implemented the rescue:

From Let's Put DA:
Commandos are landing on the Nariman Building. They seem to be tip-toeing down. They are communicating to each other through hand signals. Secrecy & surprise are paramount. And NDTV is showing this live!!! With informative commentary on how many commandos have landed and so on. Perhaps NDTV's research has shown that terrorists only watch cartoon network during missions.
James S. Robbins point out that The New York Times was doing the very same thing:
I wonder if it occurred to Keith Bradsher that his extremely precise, minute-by-minute accounts of the locations of the security forces trying to free the hostages in the Chabad House in Mumbai provided very useful tactical information for any terrorist who might be reading it. E.g., "Fri, 28 Nov 2008 03:32:15: At least five commandos are on the rooftop balcony of Nariman House, trying to look over the row of small red flowerpots at the side of the building." Who benefits from knowing that information in real time, other than the terrorists?
From The Mumbai Mirror:
Sources said though the plane carrying NSG Commandos was ready by midnight, it could not take off due to the delayed arrival of a VIP, who wanted to accompany them to Mumbai, at the Delhi airport. Worse, the Commandos had to wait for a vehicle at the Mumbai airport until morning.
From The Belfast Telegraph:
But what angered Mr D'Souza almost as much were the masses of armed police hiding in the area who simply refused to shoot back. "There were armed policemen hiding all around the station but none of them did anything," he said. "At one point, I ran up to them and told them to use their weapons. I said, 'Shoot them, they're sitting ducks!' but they just didn't shoot back."
The police and military were faced with an enormously challenging and dangerous situation, but they better do better next time--because there will be a next time.

UPDATE: Check out Neo-Neocon, who puts the refusal of the Mumbai police to shoot in context:
The problem in the Mumbai station could have been the presence of the crowd of innocents. The police may have been waiting for an opportunity to get off a clear and unobstructed shot, one with little likelihood of striking an unarmed traveler instead of a terrorist. Of course, when the terrorist in question is engaged in calmly murdering scores of people in the crowded station, it seems obvious that the policemen should have taken that chance. Even if a police bullet killed an innocent bystander, the action would end up saving far more people than it killed.
Neo-Neocon backs this up, quoting from today's New York Times:
On Saturday afternoon, a sharpshooter who had spent over 60 hours perched outside the Taj Hotel said neither he nor his partner had fired a shot because they were not sure how to distinguish the gunmen from ordinary civilians trapped inside the hotel.

Similarly, a commando told a private Indian television station, CNN-IBN, that the gunmen seemed to be firing from so many different parts of the hotel that security forces did not quite know where to strike without inflicting civilian casualties. “There were so many people, and we wanted to avoid any civilian casualties,” he said.

Read the whole thing.

India's forces faced the same dilemma as the IDF--would Israel have acted differently?

UPDATE 2: Apparently it's hard to find good security. Mark Steyn relates this story:
Somali pirates hijacked a chemical tanker with dozens of Indian crew members Friday and a helicopter rescued three British security guards who had jumped into the sea, officials said...
Steyn comments:
So the Indian and Bangladeshi crew are now the hostages of the Somali pirates. But the high-priced "anti-piracy" elite (albeit unarmed) security team from London immediately jumped into the water and swam away. What "security" did the owners of the MV Biscaglia get for their money?
[Hat tip: India Uncut]

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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