As Galrahn appropriately points out, it is far too early for any consideredanalysis of the Mumbai attacks, but he notes two issues worth considering. He notes an angle of acute interest to him:
With that said, there does appear to be a maritime interest in this attack that I intend to follow closely. The details are sketchy at best, but news reports like this one, this one, and this one give some hint that the Indian Navy and Coast Guard are very active off the coast of India near Pakistan investigating a couple of maritime aspects to the attack.
While it is still unclear, it looks like there may be two specific maritime aspects of this story to watch for, an act of piracy and a possible amphibious assault terrorism style. There is a lot to think about, but if there was indeed a maritime aspect to the attack there will be important lessons for both the Navy and the Coast Guard in tweaking our own homeland security against potential terrorist attacks of this nature.
I look forward to his assistance in understanding the maritime aspects of the situation and how it will impact our anti-terror thinking as we go forward. His second point (also noted by Richard Fernandez, et al) concerns the role of technology and connectivity in the fight:
Something else that might be interesting to keep an eye on. If you recall, text messaging made a big impact during Hurricane Katrina. Well, it appears Twitter has had a significant impact on the information flow in real time during the attack (see here and here).
Real time, Open Source Intelligence during a terrorist attack on a major city... There is something significant in that statement worth pondering, and worth local responders to consider very carefully regarding the dissemination of information in real time during future crisis. After all, just like text messages to specific people, a cell phone can be a Twitter client to the masses.
The idea of "Real time, Open Source Intelligence" is closely akin to the concept of an "Engaged Society." The enemies of civilization consider everyone, man, women, and child to be their mortal enemy. It is only the civilized who continue to imagine there is a difference and a meaningful distinction between combatants and non-combatants. (This is one of the reasons the international press continue to draw an equivalence between civilians unintentionally killed or injured during military engagements and civilians who are targeted or used as human shields by those who do not conform to the norms of civilized behavior; they wish to preserve a world view in which terrorism is a minor nuisance and the "real terror" is committed by the West [especially America and Israel] exclusively.)
Long ago the Israelis learned that for the protection of the innocent, the capable must be ready to protect them at a moments notice. Recent terror attacks in Israel have been stopped by armed civilians who were unwilling to wait for the proper authorities and the proper authorization to respond. In America the passengers of Flight 93 recognized that they had been drafted into a war by our enemies and took action, for which we will always be grateful to them. The more of us who accept that there are no innocents in this war, the safer we will all be.
On another, related note. It should be clear to all but the most willfully blind, that this is indeed a war and that depending on a law enforcement approach to Islamic terror is a fool's gambit. Our enemies' desire to kill is limited only by their capabilities. They have now used airplanes and ships as tools to murder what we still naively consider innocents. If they can obtain tanks, they will attack with tanks; if they can obtain nerve gas, they will attack with nerve gas; if they can weaponize biological agents, they will attack with biological agents; if they can obtain nuclear bombs, they will use nuclear bombs for their attacks. Our intelligence forces, civilian, military, and police are our primary protection but we are all potential intelligence agents now. Further, and for the foreseeable future, for the majority of terror attacks, we may also, without warning, find that we are the frontline soldiers in the war. The psychological shift from victim to defender, from sheep to sheep dog, is probablybeing made within the psyches of a great many Americans this morning. It is unfortunate that such a shift should be necessary but we should all be grateful that the shift is taking place.