Mumbai – Terrorist or Criminal?

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Ohg Rea Tone is all or nothing. He is educated and opinionated, more clever than smart, sarcastic and forthright. He writes intuitively - often disregarding rules of composition. Comment on his posts - he will likely respond with characteristic humor or genuine empathy. He is the real-deal.

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Mumbai – Terrorist or Criminal?

The terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, are astonishing.  Groups of armed men spread out in the city and began wantonly shooting people.  The reports of fatalities are growing, and injuries are reported as over 1000 people.  Hostages have been taken, demands of the release of criminals from legal custody made.  One television reporter asked her color commentator, “Does the demands of the release of criminals make this more of criminal act than a terrorist act?”

The terrorists of the 21st Century are nothing less than criminals.  Organized criminals perpetrating organized crime.  The understanding is important because the perception of a problem dictates the response.

When Al Quaeda attacked America on September 11, 2001, the understanding was of terrorism.  The idea of a criminal enterprise was not discussed.  With the terrorist perspective the response was defined as a military action – nothing less than War.  The Taliban, that ruthless criminal government of Afghanistan, harbored and protected Al Quaeda.  The Taliban was complicit in the attacks on America.  The military response was justified because of the size of the criminal organization.  This writer agreed with that approach.

Here is the problem.  Once we define the problem as one of military intervention – the next logical step is military intervention with the next problem.  This logic led to the unjustified invasion of Iraq by the United States of George W. Bush.

Had we correctly defined Al Quaeda as organized crime, nothing less than strong arm tactics to extort the civilized world, we would have used the more correct response of police tactics.  This is not to say that a violent response was not necessary – it was.  We submit that the near success of the military intervention in Afghanistan reinforced the idea of physical violence and oppression of civil rights as the predominant solution to criminal activity.

We say ‘near success’ in Afghanistan because the ultimate goal was not achieved.  The leadership of Al Quaeda remains intact.  Osama Bin Laden has not been brought to justice.  The Taliban is resurgent in Afghanistan, granting safe harbor to further criminal activities by the organized hooligans. The idea of State sponsored terrorism changed the dynamic of appropriate response.

A police action would have kept the focus on the criminals who commited the criminal act.

The statement by the news anchor questioning whether the acts in Mumbai are terrorist or criminal continues the misunderstanding of the problem.  The ciivilized world will not solve this problem until we correctly identify the problem.

The spectacle of war, broadcast in real time, provides distorted emotional gratification for the mob mentality of angry people.  Shock and Awe is much more fun than boring detective work.  Police work is surgical, targeting the guilty.  Military action is brutal, with extensive collateral damage.  We are somehow able to dismiss the collateral damage as an unfortunate consequence of war.

As we reflect on the past seven years we can readily see that innocents have been killed while the head of the Organized Criminal enterprise of Al Quaeda remains free.  A police reponse would have had much different results.

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There Are 3 Responses So Far. »

  1. Interesting. How do you take into account the religious fanaticism aspect? I’m not saying that the criminal approach is wrong. In my opinion what Bush has perpetrated is no less than criminal.

  2. who is beladin ? he is engineer .that mean qualified person than why he think negative .and muslims have one problems ,they attracted quickly to short cuts .from the child hood family speek about blood shead not to change so the sicological mind always prvok to do worng thinking .they need dr, from the child hood .and family also think postive for there life and tell them to postive .may be after 100 years muslims change .on the name of god what they do even they never think what allaha think what i teach them and what they miss use my kuran ………

  3. We should not even worry about them. Military or police action by the U.S. is still going to lead to dead American servicemen and women. We already have enough bleeding hearts up in arms about conflicts going on around the globe. Pakistan has some involvement in this, not necessarily directly but they harbor those who do. Pres. elect Obama won’t do anything about it but talk to Pakistan Pres. Asif Ali Zardari. This would be like if Robert Kennedy had tried to negotiate with Hoffa. Pakistan is obviously a hub for terrorists. To say Pakistan is helping fight terrorism is like aying scratching is good for chicken pox. To hell with the rest of the world, we should close our borders bring our military home, missions etc. from everywhere and let the world deal with this on their own. Our allies want to pick and choose when they should be with us. Well, I say let them police their regions on their own and see where they stand then. France.

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