Reading this article: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/12/defending_the_shores.html, I see that David Ignatius states:
“Most U.S. police departments aren’t well prepared to deal with such “active shooters,” as they’re called. Police are trained to cordon off an area that’s under attack and then call in a paramilitary SWAT team to root out the gunmen.”
That used to be true, but in the post-Columbine era– it’s no longer the case. Police officers are now trained to deal with active shooters, so as to reduce loss of life in situations similar to Columbine. At the police department I worked for, we trained entering schools and dealing with hostage situations in which there was no time to wait for SWAT. It was a call that needed to be made by individual officers arriving at the scene: To enter or not to enter….
At Columbine High School, the police officers did what they were trained to do. They sealed off the area around the school so as to prevent people from entering or leaving. All the while Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were mowing down fellow students venting a rage forged in nihilistic lifestyles.
This was not morally acceptable–and no government agency sponsored to protect the people could go on without changing the way it dealt with these situations.
Police patrol officers are also routinely trained to use and armed with assault-style weapons, such as the M-4 carbine. Response time would not have been an issue. It took Indian commandos 10 hours to respond to the Mumbai attacks. It seems that the fact that the attacks took place at multiple places had something to do with this.
Attacks on multiple places inside a US city would indeed cause serious problems inside the US. However, I believe that Indian law enforcement is probably Federal in nature and may not have the local assets needed to deal with multiple events. Of course, Mumbai is the largest city in India, so Federal assets should have been numerous.
Imagining this scenario on US soil, the terrorists would immediately be confronted by local law enforcement; city police. As soon as the “shots fired” call went out, neighboring agencies, city, county and state would immediately respond. Also, the FBI, in it’s role as support liaison for local law enforcement, would dispatch as many assets as possible from its local office, probably from the nearest federal building such as the post office if it were large enough. Once the scope of the attack became apparent, more FBI assets would be called for, such as negotiators and FBI SWAT. State police SWAT would also respond.
Were it not so trite, the attacks in Mumbai would draw comparisons in the media to the video game, Rainbow Six. In the game, players must deal with terrorist organizations taking hostages in labyrinthine structures that take large amounts of time to clear.
In reality, the Russians dealt with similar problems, such as the Moscow Theatre hostage crisis, and the Beslan School hostage crisis. In the Beslan situation, 334 hostages were killed by Chechen separatists, including 186 children. In Moscow, the Russians deployed a narcotic gas, which incapacitated the Chechen rebels, after which they were summarily executed by assaulting Spetznaz. Employed in both cases were Russian special ops units, Vympel and Alfa. As with most operations conducted by Russia, there are many questions surrounding both situations. In both cases the terrorists affixed bombs at several points inside the buildings as well as to themselves. In both situations, over 800 hostages were taken. The use of the narcotic gas in Moscow drew complaints after the Russian military refused to release the components of the chemical weapon to doctors and paramedics. Some of the hostages dies as a result, however several hundred fewer than at the Beslan site. It appears for all of the mistakes made, that the Russians were on the right track; there’s few other ways to defeat terrorists who’ve made the building they’re in and themselves into bombs.
The NSA had warned India of possible attacks in Mumbai, originating from the sea. NSA programs had intercepted phone calls where operatives spoke of the plans. But to be defensive is to die. It’s doubtful, even when given information as specific as that which the NSA provided, that security forces could have stopped this. Aside form posting commandos at the doors for months on end that is–and even then, the terrorists could just attack someplace less guarded. The terrorists must be attacked where they train, and their sources of money and aid–destroyed.
The new Pakistani government must help the world in destroying militants in the Kashmir region, or else the world may do it without any Pakistani help at all.