So it seems like there’s still a lot left unresolved in regards to the attacks in Mumbai (though it does look like the group had ties to the Pakistani Lashkar-e-Taiba), so I’ll hold off on speculating too much.
Instead, I’ll just make the point that a terrorist attack that arrested the world for over 60 hours resulted in the death of just 162 people (as of now). Now, I hardly wish to seem insensitive — the attacks were unquestionably tragic for many people — but the fact remains that this is a reminder that international terrorism is more constructively viewed as a small, dangerous, and malign force, but not as an existential threat to civilization. An asteriod strike is an existential threat, worldwide nuclear war is an existential threat, global warming is an existential threat; a handful of gunmen with AK-47s are not. This is not to suggest that combatting interntional terrorism is not a national security imperative, but simply couching the issue as an iminent threat to civilization itself (the “War on Terror”) is an unproductive framework that leads to bad policy making.