Terror in Mumbai: Finally, an Unapologetic Look at Jihad

The film tracks the entire siege, one that lasted for three days while local law enforcement officials scrambled in vain to bring it to a halt. The police effort proved nearly comical in its ineptitude, the documentary shows, although there’s nothing humorous about the massive delays that cost some bystanders their lives. Police initially on the scene were poorly equipped and, frankly, stunned by what was going on around them. It’s hard to blame them for being shocked by the carnage.

Terror in Mumbai takes a standard narrative approach to the killings, but the combination of security footage and first-person recollections will chill viewers.

We meet the victims who still bear the terrible scars from the violence. Their recollections are the stuff of nightmares -- harrowing tales of being confined in tight quarters, unsure if or when the gunmen will unload their weapons on them.

One women had to give birth without making a sound for fear the gunmen would hear her cries and enter the room where she was delivering her child, guns blazing. A holy Muslim man praying for help was killed mid-prayer. An entire family was slaughtered by the emotionless killers.

The gunmen, young Pakistani men who killed robotically and set fires in their wake, checked in regularly with their controllers for further instruction.

“You’re very close to heaven, brother,” one of the controllers tells a gunmen as he nears the end of the mission.

One of the gunmen was captured after the assault, and we watch as a Mumbai official questions him about his mission, his motives, and what he expected to accomplish. The conversation is almost casual in nature, which is somehow even more chilling than had he been ranting and raving from his hospital gurney.

Terror in Mumbai is not for the squeamish. We see blood-streaked floors, severely wounded innocents, and other visuals that pack a punch no horror film can match.

Zakaria cautions audiences that the simple resources behind the attack -- a group of deluded young men with some automatic weapons and grenades -- is an easily replicable formula.

“Their method of attack could be easily adapted to any American city,” he says.

HBO deserves credit for airing a documentary that shows the unvarnished nature of a terrorist attack without any of the moral hand-wringing currently on display with Fort Hood.