A Cautious Man
August 01, 2007
More From the FRIGGIN' Bombardier
Two summers ago, in a post entitled "Playing Backyard Bombardier", we saw Congressman Tom Tancredo's absolutely idiotic proposal to deter terrorist attacks:
TANCREDO: Well, what if you said something like, if this happens in the United States, and we determine that it is the result of extremist fundamentalist Muslims, you know, you could take out their holy sites.

CAMPBELL: You're talking about bombing Mecca.

TANCREDO: Yeah. I mean, what if you said, "We recognize that this is the ultimate threat to the United States, therefore this is the ultimate threat, this is the ultimate response." I mean, I don't know -- I'm just throwing out there some ideas because it seems to me, at this point in time, or at that point in time, you would be talking about taking the most draconian measures you could possibly imagine. Because other than that all you could do is, once again, tighten up internally.
A few days later, he issued a statement to say that he was just "musing", and not really serious -
"I do not advocate this. Much more thought would need to be given to the potential ramifications of such a horrific response," Tancredo wrote.

His spokesman, Will Adams, said the congressman is a "free thinker" who was grappling with a hypothetical situation.
And, at the time, this is what I thought of that -
Now, I have a serious problem with this. First of all, this is a statement which could only come from someone who was either screamingly ignorant, or simply venal - because he confuses "Muslim" with "terrorist". But, more important, you know that if some Imam somewhere said that it would be a good idea to set off a bomb at the National Cathedral, or the Lincoln Memorial, as payback for something that America did, the usual crowd from Fox News and talk radio would be foaming at the mouth, demanding that every single Muslim denounce such statements - and continuously bringing it up in case they didn't think the denunciations were public enough or strong enough.

Not to mention the fact that a headline like "U.S. Official Threatens Bombing of Holy Sites" not only hinders our nation's ability to reach out for allies in the Muslim world, but is also a handy little recruiting tool for those who need pliable, impressionable young men to strap on a bomb vest and blow themselves up.

Well, via Talking Points Memo, we see that apparently he's at it again -
Followers of radical Islam must be deterred from committing a nuclear attack on U.S. soil, Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo said Tuesday morning, saying that as president he would take drastic measures to prevent such attacks.

"If it is up to me, we are going to explain that an attack on this homeland of that nature would be followed by an attack on the holy sites in Mecca and Medina," the GOP presidential candidate said. "That is the only thing I can think of that might deter somebody from doing what they would otherwise do. If I am wrong fine, tell me, and I would be happy to do something else. But you had better find a deterrent or you will find an attack. There is no other way around it. There have to be negative consequences for the actions they take. That's the most negative I can think of."

Are the Republicans going to distance themselves from this guy? Does anyone think that would happen?

[Edited to add] Well, wonders never cease, and I stand (partially) corrected. Commentator Jim Geraghty at the National Review (of all places) has a major take-down of Tancredo over this, similar to the thoughts I had previously expressed -
The problem, Congressman, is that having already lost an American city in this scenario, we will have gone from having some debated percentage of the Muslim world as our enemy to having 100 percent of the Muslim world as our enemy. And then our problems will be even worse than they were when we had lost one city.

And oh, by the way, casual discussion of nuking two holy sites seems likely to make the situation worse in the here and now, not just a future horrific time. If a foreign state talked about deterring Christians by attacking Rome and Jerusalem, would we feel assured that the country was not "at war with Christianity"?

Let's hope for more of the same.

[Edited again to add] His campaign spokesperson, Bay Buchanan, is apparently just as nuts as Congressman Tancredo. According to her, the fact that he would make this threat is a positive aspect of his personality -
“This shows that we mean business,” said Bay Buchanan, a senior Tancredo adviser. “There’s no more effective deterrent than that. But he is open-minded and willing to embrace other options. This is just a means to deter them from attacking us.”

In the same news story, the State Department has an appropriate response to this -
Tom Casey, a deputy spokesman for the State Department, told CNN’s Elise Labott that the congressman’s comments were “reprehensible” and “absolutely crazy.”

And, of course, there are reports overseas, in Muslim countries, about this now, and governments of even our allies are reacting, such as in Pakistan -
Speaker National Assembly Chaudhary Amir Hussain has said that a full-fledged debate on the highly provocative statement of Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo would be carried out in the parliament on Monday.

Talking to APP here Saturday evening, he expressed the hope that house will unanimously adopt a resolution against this mischievous statement. Amir Hussain said that Makkah and Madina are the holiest places of Islam and Muslim Ummah would not tolerate such statement which are highly condemnable.

It is a fact that such statements would further widen the gap between Muslims and rest of the world, he added.

Seriously, his fellow Republicans have to say something about this, and they had better condemn it.



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