Blazing Indiscretions has an useful overview of reaction to the Mumbai terror attacks from the blogosphere.
One common thread is no one can figure out what the message from the terrorists was. Usually, especially with something as apparently well-planned as this, the message would be clear. So maybe they never got to the real target and hence the real message.
After using the nautical attack vector, the group attacked a series of targets using automatic weapons and grenades before making their way to the hotel in hijacked vehicles. Along the way they managed to murder the head of the Anti Terror Squad, purely by luck, and then split up to the hotel, the hospital, and the Nariman house. In essence, a well planned coordinated attack that collapsed into a killing spree.
There were 25-50 terrorists. It wasn’t that they were brilliant tacticians and strategists, but rather that the targets were soft, no one was expecting what happened, and the assailants were ruthless and ready to die. But, at delivering whatever their message was meant to be, they failed.