Mumbai Attacks: Retire the Sledgehammer!


As I write, we're just beginning to understand the full impact of today's bombings, shootings and hostage-taking at seven of Mumbai's (formerly Bombay) most recognizable venues including the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower hotel, the Trident Oberoi hotel, the Chhatrapati Shivaji (formerly Victoria) Terminus (Mumbai's largest ground transportation hub), Chabad House (formerly Nariman House and now a base for the orthodox Jewish group Chabad Lubavitch), and Leopold Cafe.

Most reports coming out of India's financial capital, Mumbai, are citing over 100 fatalities and 300 injured, many of them foreign citizens. I am keeping my fingers double-crossed. I lost a family member in the Delhi bombings of October 29, 2005 - two days prior to Divali - while she was shopping with her fiance at South Delhi's popular Sarojini Nagar market. And now this - one day prior to Thanksgiving!

To borrow Obama's terminology, all sides need to learn the use of a scalpel; the sledgehammer approach will only give us more innocent victims and moderate-turned-fundamentalists. The folly of the sledgehammer approach has most recently been demonstrated via America's blundering extension of the "war on terror" into an Iraq that was completely devoid of Al-Qaeda, Islamic fundamentalism or weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Iraq doesn't yet have WMD but, thanks to America's sledgehammer tactics, it does now have plenty of the other two - Al-Qaeda and Islamic fundamentalism.

Can we resolve to retire the sledgehammer before it consumes us all?

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