Since 9/11 it has been assumed by many that Al Qaida would be forced to top themselves in any future attacks on the US. Mumbai show us the real possibilities. A young crew with minimal training but well rehearsed and ready to die could if well armed wreak havoc on a population.
As the Miserly Bastard puts it:
…a dozen trained shooters, equipped with little more than semi-automatic assault rifles, body armor, radios, improvised explosives, plenty of ammunition, sound tactics, and a willingness-to-die, could absolutely devastate soft targets such as the Mall of America, the University of Michigan commencement ceremony, Navy Pier in Chicago, the New York marathon, or any other number of target-rich environments where force protection is largely absent. The attacks in Mumbai should be a warning to our law enforcement and intelligence apparatus, and as civilians, each of us should try to think about how we might manage to survive a situation such as what just occurred in India.
The only things working in our favor are a well-armed populace, but how many of us are packing the heat when it’s really needed? If the crazy guy next door says he’s going to kill me, I’ll have something loaded and waiting. In a house with kids, normally not. If I go to the mall, or a concert, it’s generally frowned upon for me to have a loaded firearm. That is precisely the type of place where it would most be needed, and also be lacking.
Another is our American lifestyle. It’s infectious. Terrorists rely on angry young men with little hope generally. Plop them down in the United States and tell them to blend in, and soon they’re dreaming of girlfriends and new cars. Independent cells don’t always work well here; it would require a barracks type environment with no outside influences while plans are readied.
Gangs here in the US provide ready access to sophisticated assault weapons, such as MS-13 with their ties to the group members in El Salvador. Trafficking in weapons is one of their main sources of revenue, and they sell to anyone with the right connections. Connections such as the drug importation racket, for example.
Recently with the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan, heroin has been flooding the world drug markets and overwhelming local authorities in the UK and elsewhere. Here in the US, we have ready access to the global supply from all areas including Southwest Asia (Afghanistan), so it makes an exclusive distribution difficult to groups with other motives than simply distribution of illegal drugs. More often the SWA traffickers don’t readily trust anyone not of their ethnicity so distribution is mostly limited to ethnic enclaves in various large cities here. These are the places where terrorist plans would likely be hatched, and eventually weapons could be obtained through convoluted channels basically tied to the drug sources.
For the SWAT guys, a large building with lots of rooms, civilians possibly in every room, and heavily armed attackers running from location to location would stump even the LAPD SWAT team. Add to that some explosions, terrified survivors running out with an escalating rumor mill feeding a raging media fire outside. Then throw in a similar attack across town, and another. All could be carried out by 15 guys.
When it comes to another attack on US soil, don’t think 9/11, think Mumbai.