Terror in Mumbai: Finally, an Unapologetic Look at Jihad

HBO’s programming slate teems with documentaries eager to please the blue states.

This month‘s presentation of By the People: The Election of Barack Obama is the most recent example, but other films like Teddy: In His Own Words and Right America: Feeling Wronged -- Some Voices from the Campaign Trail did little for those with a copy of Going Rogue on their nightstand.

Now, the movie channel is shaking things up with an unflinching look at the threat of global terrorism.

Terror in Mumbai, airing tonight, sounds as if the Weekly Standard wrote the narration and chose the images to display. It doesn’t mince words, hide the truth, or make excuses for the monsters behind last November’s attacks on the Indian metropolis. No mindless recitations of “Why do they hate us?”

“The Mumbai attacks should worry us all,” says host Fareed Zakaria, the Newsweek correspondent who offers a bit of his own perspective on the attacks. He grew up in Mumbai, and many members of his immediate family still call the city home.

For Zakaria, the attacks were personal, and his grave appearance reinforces that reality. It’s an approach perfectly suited for the film, which offers a seemingly unprecedented look into nearly every aspect of the terror assault. You won’t be able to look away, but you’ll wish you could close your eyes and make the images fade.

Terror in Mumbai is like a grisly slasher film, but the real-life implications are too terrible to ignore.

The documentary promises a 360-degree view of terrorism, and it’s mostly true to its word. We hear from the survivors of the attack, watch surveillance camera footage of the assault in action, and listen in on intercepted cell phone conversations between the terrorists and the madmen pulling the strings.

The latter is the most amazing component of the production. Their running dialogue reveals the fears, motivations, and anger that made the attacks possible.