There’s a giant hollow where my stomach used to be and I feel as though my country is at war.
We’ve been bombed before, the people of Mumbai perhaps more than any of us, and we’ve dealt with it and moved on. We’ve become anesthetized to the images of blood soaked roads and ambulances carrying broken bodies. We shouldn’t be, but we are.
This feels different. The mental picture of gunmen landing at the Gateway, physically storming the city, taking hostages at the Taj, the army patrolling the streets… what the fuck is this? I see the images but I seem to have lost the ability to comprehend somewhere along the way. It’s like a bad movie that refuses to end.
And then the thought comes (perhaps too soon – considering the operation is still underway as I write this) that the time has come to play offense rather than just defense. We won’t know for a while if the interim reports about this attack stemming from Pakistan are true, but we all know where the psychological will of Islamic militancy is concentrated right now: Afghanistan. Maybe the time has come for India to do something other than play catch up.
Not that our defense was all that great. The chances that India will soon be embroiled in a formal war are slim, but the chances of another terror attack on its soil is next-to-certain. What India needs, therefore, are not nukes but the best technology and equipment available anywhere to the police. We obviously have the talent, but as always they need political backing to get the job done to the best of their ability. To watch the NSG, the Navy and the Mumbai Police hard at work, despite the ineptitude of the government for which they work, has been the one positive experience of these nightmare hours.
The terrorists are clearly changing their game – from bomb blasts and suicide attacks to flamboyant gun battles and hostage takeovers. Shouldn’t we do the same?