Mumbai terror attack hotel taj
courtesy India Today
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Mumbai terror attack hotel taj
courtesy India Today

The Mumbai terror attacks in 2008 paralyzed the city for nearly four days. In March 2019, a movie about the incident, Hotel Mumbai will hit theaters.

Starting on November 26, 2008, ten Islamic terrorists conducted a dozen, well-coordinated attacks across the Indian city. The bulk of the attacks occurred over 60 hours, killing 174 and wounding hundreds more.

Courtesy Film Goblin.

You read that right: ten terrorists ran roughshod through the massive Indian city (population 18 million) for days. Clearly, the local authorities had no ability to handle such an attack.

While America has a well-established gun culture, India very much does not. At that time of the attacks, many local cops worked unarmed. A few police officers had old, bordering on obsolete bolt-action .303 British rifles. Some had never fired them before. Ever. Other officers had revolvers issued to them, and like the cops with rifles, they had little or no training in their use.

Up against well-trained and highly-motivated terrorists using modern AK-56 rifles (a Chinese version of the AK-47) with seven magazines each, hand grenades, and improvised explosive devices, the Indian cops fared very poorly.

While the attack did not eclipse earlier Muslim terror attacks in India in terms of casualties, many regard this one as the worst. A Rand Corp. report on the attack explains why it’s known as India’s 9/11:

Nevertheless, some aspects of this attack were significant, namely, its audacious and ambitious scope, the complexity of the operation, and the diversity of its targets. The prolonged nature of the episode, which went on for 60 hours with the steadily mounting death toll, made it a slow-motion shoot-out and siege that mesmerized the world’s news media.

Now, almost eleven years later, we have a movie about what happened at the world-famous Taj Hotel during that attack.

Terrorism can strike anywhere, any time. As if we needed another reason to carry a concealed weapon every day.

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  1. Thanks for adding the trailer. Looks like a good movie. Reminds me of the Hotel Rwanda movie. Everyone is on their own when it happens.

  2. AK-56s? You mean Type 56s? Those are just AKMs with thicker barrels and an optional folding M44 Mosin-style bayonet, and the military export models suck while the civilian semi-autos we used to get were top-quality. Most of the AKs floating around India in non-government hands (i.e. Maoist and Paki/Muslim insurrectionists) are Type 56s provided by China or through the Paki government, while the Indian government has AK-47s and AKMs that they got from Russia, and their horrible homegrown derivative rifles.

    • My uneducated guess is that these mujahedin were al-Queda supplied and equipped and had on them the best stuff, which is all really beside the point.

      My take-away here is that I should really think about a similar group waltzing into my favorite movie theater or my church [Is there a softer target than a Catholic Mass at 1000 on Sunday?] or the next nice hotel I stay at.

      It’s a paradox. I can’t carry a KAR-15 into church or the movie house. If I have to run to my car to get it, I and my family are Alpo.

      My best response is duck. Unlimber my 1911-A1 .45 and pop the closest gerbil. Take his/her weapon and magazines, and hopefully grenades, and attack.

      And the Lefties want to know why I think it’s necessary to be armed. They’ll never get it.

  3. You bet your ass it could happen in the US.

    The LE response might be better than in Mumbai, but an attack like that could happen…

    • We have plenty of people here who want to do it, as evidenced by the people who attempted to join ISIS overseas and others who were entrapped by the FBI in terrorist plots.

      The only reason why our adversaries have such a low success rate is because they’re not very bright.

    • It has already happened in the USA. Just Two Muslim men brought the city of Boston to a stand still for several days.

  4. I think I’ll pass on this one. I did a security after action walk-through of the Serena Hotel in Kabul a day after the January 14, 2008 attack. There was still broken glass everywhere and bullet holes in the lobby. You could clearly see the little crater in the parking lot where one of the suicide bombers had detonated when a security guard finally shot him.

    This kind of stuff does nothing but piss me off because too many people on both sides of the pond still have their heads too far up their third point of contact to take the kind of action necessary to fight these kinds of attacks. The security these kinds of places get is pathetic. The people in charge just throw a few warm bodies at the issue with no concept of how you actually secure someplace like a hotel or the Nairobi Westgate Mall with no real concept of concentric security perimeters or adequate training.

    No thanks, I don’t really want to watch it in a movie.

    • Mikial,

      The security these kinds of places get is pathetic. The people in charge just throw a few warm bodies at the issue with no concept of how you actually secure someplace …

      Truer words were never spoken.

      For the uninitiated: 99% of the “security” that you encounter is security theater — quite literally a show to make people feel good. A two-man terrorist (suicide) team with semi-auto rifles could promptly take down any “security” checkpoint that you have encountered. Heck, just about any two-man terrorist team could take down any “security” checkpoint with pump-action 12 gauge shotguns — or probably even readily available semi-automatic handguns.

      Now, contrast that same two-man terrorist team in an environment where every 12th adult had a decent handgun with a fair amount of ammunition. It should be readily apparent that the two-man terrorist team would not accomplish anywhere near the death toll that they would generate when everyone is unarmed.

      • Think of such terrorist teams facing two armed guards at some “secure” location as though that terrorist team is facing two paper wasps. Of course two humans can easily overcome two paper wasps just sitting there in plain sight who have no idea what is coming. Now imagine those same two humans trying to slink around on a killing spree when an entire swarm of seriously p!ssed-off paper wasps keeps coming at them from everywhere. THAT is how we minimize the death toll from terrorists and spree-killers — when the public is effectively a swarm of defenders with firearms, even if those firearms are only handguns.

        • I was thinking liberal town off the beaten path of a metro area. The metro area could just flood people in which would help. But could you imagine say the 20 9/11 hijackers in a town of say 20,000 with a bunch of AKs/ARs? Not exactly impossible either.

        • Andrew Lias,

          If all 10, two-man teams focus on a single small city of something like 20,000 people, that enables law enforcement (and even armed Good Samaritans for that matter) to concentrate all of their resources on that relatively small city. Law enforcement could send swarms of officers from a 60 mile radius and quickly assemble several hundred cops to oppose those 20 attackers. In other words several hundred cops arriving on scene within 45 minutes would probably limit the attackers to operate considerably less than 45 minutes before facing stiff resistance. Granted, the potential is there to murder a lot of people in 30 minutes or so. At the same time, there is a good chance that armed victims would be resisting along the way, once again limiting the death toll.

          For maximum affect, those teams should spread-out over a geographic area, covering 10 small to medium size cities within an area that prevents law enforcement from concentrating resources in one location. Then, employ “shoot-and-scoot” tactics, along with several building and even forest fires, and it would be next to impossible to contain something like that in any reasonable period of time. And we haven’t even touched on the added chaos if those 10 teams first went into rural areas just outside of those small cities and murdered unsuspecting families in their homes

        • I’ll toss this out there for your consideration:

          The terrorists seem to recruit engineers heavily among their direct actors. I’ll leave out the particulars of why – I’ve just noticed the pattern.

          Consider what could happen if you sent 10 teams out into the landscape with nothing more than a couple of high powered rifles and spotting scopes … and instead of targeting people, they targeted infrastructure.

          Imagine the chaos if such teams took out insulators on high-voltage transmission lines, and caused major power transmission lines to go down. Most of the US, modulo Texas, is highly dependent upon being able to wheel power over a half-continent. Take down the DC Pacific Intertie, and LA goes dark, for example.

          The teams probably couldn’t even be caught, much less defended against.

        • “Imagine the chaos if such teams took out insulators on high-voltage transmission lines, and caused major power transmission lines to go down.”

          Or *one* anti-materiel round like .50 BMG or .338(?) into a sub-station transformer. A transformer where there is likely no replacement sitting in a warehouse *anywhere*. Where a manufacturing lead time is 4 months at the best, and likely a whole lot longer (like *years*) if orders for a lot of them come in at once.

          There is a little good news, but not much.

          I’ve noticed sub-stations being ‘screened’ from view over the past decade down here. Tall fences or cinder-block walls. But *all* of them need that, and further protection…

  5. I remember a reporter covering this scene as it unfolded saying, “I wish I had a gun rather than a camera, so I could shoot back.”

  6. The real sick man of Asia…India. Ever wonder how a little country like Britain could control so many millions?!?

  7. The same sort of thing will eventually happen here. The only questions are when, what the targets will be and specifically what sort of attacks will be employed.

    The reasons we’ll fail to stop it are numerous but not unknown. They’re just ignored.

    • strych9,

      Just imagine the chaos that 10, two-man teams could generate if they had basic marksmanship ability, could be mildly discreet, and employed “shoot and scoot” tactics. Even with all of the armed people in our nation, it would still take several days to even identify the attackers much less neutralize them, unless some defender caught a really lucky break.

      To be totally honest, I am utterly stunned that this sort of attack has not happened already in the United States. In fact I think it is so inevitable that I carry a full-size handgun every day with a 15 round magazine and at least one spare magazine on my belt — with at least two more spare magazines in my vehicle. I would even keep a rifle in my vehicle if my state’s restrictions on rifles in vehicles didn’t render such a proposition virtually useless. (I don’t have a trunk and my state therefore requires my rifles to be unloaded and in cases that are not readily accessible to vehicle occupants. Of course “not readily accessible” == a long time to bring that rifle to bear in combat.)

      • Well if you remember back to the early 2000s, that’s what the DC snipers were doing. It was only two men and they effectively had that city at their mercy for quite sometime. Now as you said, amplify that two man team to 10 teams, and that’s a very bad time.

        • Remember Christopher Dorner, the rogue LA cop. One guy had southern California law enforcement freaking out for two weeks.

      • Whether they move around or not is, IMHO, largely irrelevant if they’re moderately effective, widespread and choose their targets appropriately. It’s basically the scenario Tom Clancy proposed in Teeth of the Tiger.

        10 groups, of whatever size, split 3/3/3/1 choosing a mix of targets, varying their attack strategies and spread over days or weeks would basically paralyze this country for quite a while whether the attackers were caught, killed or got away wouldn’t much matter since no matter what the exact outcome of each attack people would wonder where/when the next one was coming.

        Three major malls, three major airports, a major event of some kind like a major “march” and three attacks on smaller and more rural targets like say, a largish high school, a grocery store and perhaps a decently well attended Congressional “Town Hall” would cause absolute chaos. Especially if the attack types vary in at least their initial portion. For example, a major mall shooting with suicide vests after the shooting, a “Nice” style hit & run turns into a shooting and large VBIED, another “DC sniper” style etc etc.

        • Oh, I forgot to mention:

          This is pretty well guaranteed to happen at some point. Just look at sub-Saharan Africa right now. Loads of countries that are both mountainous and covered in jungle. Weak governments, porous borders, lack of infrastructure, locals who can’t defend themselves etc.

          Then look at what’s actually going on there. Terrorist groups like ISIS, AQIM, Boko Haram, Ansar al-Sharia, Islamic State in Somalia (yes, that’s now a thing), Al-Shabaab, al-Jama’a al-Islamiyya (Egypt) and at least 20 more groups are all in Sub-Saharan Africa or are actively moving into the area.

          Is the world doing sweet fuck all about this? Nope. It’s so bad in the DRC that health officials are worried that the current Ebola outbreak could go region-wide and beyond because of the fighting there making it impossible to deal with the situation. Jump Northwest a bit and the situation in places like Mali and the surrounding area is seeing a nexus between regular criminals, organized crime and terrorists who are all now working together where it suits their purposes. Neither area is getting anything other than minimal attention from the rest of the world.

          While there’s no reason for the West to take on every problem around the world you can rest assured that this will become our problem when these groups get dug in and turn all of central and Sub-Saharan Africa into another Afghanistan and, quite possibly, the world’s most dangerous biological weapons research facility. By the time we grow the balls to fight these guys it’s going to be serious work to dislodge them and we’ll only probably wake up to the situation when we have another 9/11.

        • ” It’s so bad in the DRC that health officials are worried that the current Ebola outbreak could go region-wide and beyond because of the fighting there making it impossible to deal with the situation.”

          Strych, there was a ‘Tom Clancy’ book that had as a plot terrorists weaponizing a hemorrhagic fever like Ebola.

          Now imagine a low-tech way of doing it – infecting a bunch of folks and turning them loose in the USA to spread it…

        • “Now imagine a low-tech way of doing it”

          That’s what I meant. If Ebola becomes a serious regional problem it will probably make it off the continent via an aircraft before we even know there’s a serious problem.

          The book with weaponized Ebola is Executive Orders btw.

    • Gun free zones are on the list as this place was. Schools, shopping centers, anyplace the lefties deem prudent to provide a nice soft target.

  8. “Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest.” – Mahatma Gandhi

  9. Seriously, a movie review? The Truth About Movies. “How I Became A Tier 3 Operator.” The story of Male Concubine a mild mannered couch potato who watched Delta Force and Rambo

  10. I’ll pass for the same reason I’ve never watched Blackhawk Down. It’s bad enough to learn from the news media that our guys lost. I don’t want to watch it for entertainment.

  11. Ultimately, the only way to dissuade Islamic terrorists is to get through to their medieval mindset. Modern, precise responses that “spare the innocent” will not work. They perceive such responses as an unwillingness of the West to fight them. The jihadis are suicidal, so killing them, or threats to kill them, mean nothing. As long as the jihadis can rack up a large count of infidels, they consider their lives well spent.

    Sooner or later, we’re going to need someone in a military policy position to actually sit down and read the Qur’an, Hadiths and Sira – and then read some of the modern commentary on same. Once this is done, perhaps we’ll finally dispense with the fevered dreams of the neo-cons that somehow, we’re going to introduce “Jeffersonian democracy” to Islamic lands and have it take hold, or that we can fight a “war on terrorism” and win a war against a tactic.

    The other wild bit of fantasy among policymakers is that there will be a “reformation” of Islam, per the Protestant Reformation in Europe in the 1500’s. This last bit of idiocy usually springs from the minds of Catholics and Jews, who don’t know actual facts about the Reformation (such as the Protestant doctrine of sola scriptura, which would lend great support to ISIS’s interpretation of the Qur’an and Hadiths), nor how many bodies were stacked up during the Reformation…

    Ultimately, Muslims will need to be made more scared of the West’s response than they are of the terrorists in their midst.

    • “Ultimately, the only way to dissuade Islamic terrorists is to get through to their medieval mindset.”


      I believe from here on out (depending on who occupies 1600 Penn. Ave.) the ‘War On Terror’ will be fought on two main fronts :

      1 – Occasional use use of US military (like SEALS) ‘boots down’ in-country. In-and-out.

      2 – Getting CIA or equivalent agencies to put operatives on the ground to provide targeting for a drone weapons platform high overhead. Then pick ’em off, individually or in small groups.

      We are stuck with this likely for decades or longer…

      • Neither one of which will do anything other than respond tit-for-tat with the jihadis. No minds will be changed.

  12. I will remind those who think this is an India thing that a teenager and a young man managed to make an explosive device with repurposed fireworks , and with one 9mm pistol and a pellet pistol completely shut down the city of Boston for days . So don’t be feeling like we would do so much better. we have a ton of militarized police who immediately turned on its own citizens when it happened . . in the wrong part of the city. when they lifted the stay indoors order , a citizen went outside for a smoke , noticed the cover of his boat was moved and reported the location to police, who ten found the remaining terrorist.

  13. The Mumbai attacks were bought and paid for by the government of Pakistan. The same government that sheltered Osama Bin Laden. The same government that supported and trained the Taliban. The same government that is a bigger sponsor of terrorism than Iran.

    The same government that’s our key ally in the region.

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