As I type, the death toll in the Mumbai attacks stands at 195 souls. The Mumbai terrorists have raised the stakes with these attacks, using well trained and coordinated attack teams to carry out their bloody mission. As Bill Roggio writes:
The Mumbai attack is unique from past terror strikes carried out by Islamic terrorists. Instead of one or more bombings at distinct sites, the Mumbai attackers struck throughout the city using military tactics. Instead of one or more bombings carried out over a short period of time, Mumbai I entering its third day of crisis.
An attack of this nature cannot be thrown together overnight. It requires planned, scouting, financing, training, and a support network to aid the fighters. Initial reports indicate the attacks originated from Pakistan, the hub of jihadi activity in South Asia. Few local terror groups have the capacity to pull of an attack such as this.
While it is early to know exactly what happened in Mumbai as the fog of war still blankets the city, multiple press reports from India allow for a general picture to be painted. An estimated 12 to 25 terrorists are believed to have entered Mumbai by sea. After landing, he attack teams initiated a battle at a police station, then fanned across the city to attack the soft underbelly of hotels, cafes, cinemas, and hospitals. Civilians were gunned down and taken hostage, while terrorists looked for people carrying foreign passports.
Announced almost simultaneously with the Mumbai attacks was a "Madrid style" threat to Penn Station in New York:
A terror suspect arrested in Pakistan by the FBI in recent days provided authorities with details of a bomb plot against the Long Island Rail Road and other information that led to series of high level intelligence and law enforcement conference calls over the past 24 hour and the issuing of a bulletin warning of an unspecified holiday attack on the New York City region's commuter rail system, ABC News has learned.
The suspect - according to some reports the arrest took place in Pakistan - recently met with Al Qaeda leaders and was able to provide authorities with significant detail as to how the plotters would have carried out an attack if their plans had gotten beyond the so-called "aspirational" stage.
Terrorists make plans and issue threats on a regular basis. Perhaps the Penn Station threat was not credible or has been thwarted. However, while pondering the events of the past few days I recalled a comment made by then VP-Candidate Joe Biden:
"Mark my words," the Democratic vice presidential nominee warned at the second of his two Seattle fundraisers Sunday. "It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy.
Biden's comment was less than helpful to the Obama campaign as it highlighted Obama's relative inexperience on foreign policy matters, a place the campaign didn't want to go. Nevertheless Biden got it half right. I fear Obama will indeed be tested, not by the world, and not like JFK, but by radical Islamic terrorists just like Presidents Clinton and Bush.
Consider this: Bill Clinton was sworn in as the 42nd President on January 20, 1993. On February 26, 2003 Tower One of the World Trade Center was attacked with a truck bomb. Ramzi Yousef as his cohorts intended to knock the Towers down with the blast. Al-Qaeda and Yousef failed in 1993, but just eight months into George W. Bush's first term al-Qaeda terrorists brought down both World Trade Center Towers, attacked the Pentagon, and intended to attack another target in DC with United flight 93.
On January 20, 2009 Barack Obama will be sworn in at the 44th President of the United States. The preceding two Presidents were "tested," to use Biden's term, by radical Islamic terrorists. Radical Islamic terrorists this week carried out brutal attacks in Mumbia India and made noise about a "Madrid style" attack on a US subway system. I think it's clear, we need to be on guard for an imminent attack on our homeland.