Wednesday, December 03, 2008


Yesterday I noted that right-wingers see parallels between the Indian government's response to the terror plot in Mumbai and certain strains of American political thinking. I said it was inappropriate to make such a comparison.

I was wrong.

Right-wingers are correct -- the government response in Mumbai did, in fact, seem like something you'd get from American ideologues. But not liberal American ideologues. No -- it seemed rather Rumsfeldian:

Indian police who bore the brunt of last week's attacks on Mumbai had defective bulletproof vests, First World War-era firearms and insufficient weapons training, police sources have told The Times.

Many wore plastic helmets and body protectors designed for sticks and stones, rather than bullets, as they fought highly trained militants armed with AK47 rifles, pistols, grenades and explosives.

The contrast between them was vividly illustrated yesterday by CCTV footage of two militants attacking Chhatrapati Shivaji terminus, Mumbai's main railway station, last Wednesday.

It shows the gunmen spraying automatic fire while two constables cower behind pillars, one armed with a .303 rifle similar to the Lee-Enfield weapons used by British troops in the First World War.

... Ajay Sahni, of the Institute for Conflict Management, ... described India as one of the "least policed" places in the world, with 126 officers per 100,000 people, compared with 225-550 per 100,000 in most Western countries.

...Y. P. Singh, who retired after 20 years in the Maharashtra police in 2005, said that he knew of two batches of body armour that had failed tests in 2001 and 2004. "They couldn’t take rounds from AK47 or AK56," he said. "The bullets pierced the jackets." ...

Inadequate troop strength? Inadequate body armor and the inability to defend against the specific weapons being faced?

Yup, sounds like a Rumsfeld deal to me.

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