August 4th, 2007
02:08 PM ET
10 years ago

Tancredo: Threaten to bomb Muslim holy sites in retaliation

Republican presidential hopeful Tom Tancredo

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo's campaign stood by his assertion that bombing holy Muslim sites would serve as a good "deterrent" to prevent Islamic fundamentalists from attacking the United States, his spokeswoman said Friday.

"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."

On Tuesday, Tancredo warned a group of Iowans that another terrorist attack would "cause a worldwide economic collapse." recorded his comments.

"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," Tancredo 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."

Tom Casey, a deputy spokesman for the State Department, told CNN's Elise Labott that the congressman’s comments were "reprehensible" and "absolutely crazy." Tancredo was widely criticized in 2005 for making a similar suggestion.

–CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich

Filed under: Tom Tancredo
soundoff (1,648 Responses)
  1. Veronica - San Francisco

    Umm... we should have nuked mecca on 09/12/2001.

    August 3, 2007 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  2. J.L. Cummings, Lewiston, Idaho

    To Rep Tancredo:

    Are you nuts?

    August 3, 2007 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  3. HP, Fort Collins, Colorado

    You heard of great minds think a like. Apparently, terror minds think a like too. Tom, I think if we flip your position with Osama, you two think exactly the same way.

    Put these 2 in an UFC octagon and let them fight to the death. I will buy the pay-per-view.

    August 3, 2007 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  4. Fred Starr Istanbul Turkey

    Does any body remember Ronald Reagan's MAD policy used against the USSR? MAD= Mutually Assured Destruction. Did it work? Damned right it worked! Where is the USSR today? Think about it!!

    August 3, 2007 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  5. Laith, Birmingham, AL

    This doesn't make any sense. It's like sentencing a murderer's family do death while the murderer is still out there. First of all, the family didn't do it. More importantly, killing the family doesn't catch the murderer. As a matter of fact, you just embolden the murderer to do something worse that he might have not done otherwise. Finally, religious sites are a historic symbol that is valued by all that share that religion. Sure, this approach means you're going after the most valuable thing the terrorist is fighting for. But, you'll be killing so many people that have nothing to do with it and doing far more damage than the terrorist ever could have.

    August 3, 2007 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  6. Bill New York, NY

    For those opposed to his solution, what is yours?

    August 3, 2007 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  7. Abm Habibullah Dallas,TX

    The main steam American people and nice, kind and very compassionate. I have been living in this country for 16 years and I love being here and consider myself an American. As an American, I consider OBL as enemy of the state. He is an individual with some nutcases and now a days, not even supported by muslims. I do not know why this Congressman think all 1 Billion mulsims are his enemy and how bombing muslim holy site will help his cause. People with this kind of freaky mentality caused 6 million jews to die in Holocaust. We all know UBL is a nutcase maniac and we expect no sanity from him; but we do expect responsible behavior from US congressman. Hating muslims, hating mexicans, will only bring to himself. Love and hate both are 4 letter word. I hop Congressman will choose love over hate. Peace.

    August 3, 2007 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  8. Greg, Houston

    This guy has lost his mind. He wants to start a war with all of Islam. Insanity to say the least.

    August 3, 2007 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  9. Joe, NJ

    Sounds like the mutually assured destruction (MAD) tactic utilized during the Cold War. What's wrong with this tactic? Last time I checked, the textbooks used in Saudi schools preach of Jews and Westerners being inferior to Muslims. If these people are our allies, I would hate to see who our enemies are. Just because your liberal socialist Professors trained you to think in a particular way does not it make it the correct or the only way of thinking. Anyone hurling the racist, bigot argument is a moron schooled in American PC.

    August 3, 2007 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  10. Joe Buccolo, Bradenton, Florida

    The only thing that is "reprehensible" and "absolutely crazy" is Tom Casey's cowardly reaction to a viable and indeed workable option. Diplomacy doesn't work with fanatacal lunatics and gets in the way of real world solutions.

    August 3, 2007 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  11. Pam, Medford, OR

    How could anyone not realize that this would only inflame feelings against us? Even suggesting it is insane and morally reprehensible.

    August 3, 2007 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  12. Mark Spencer, Lincoln, RI

    I can't say that I disagree with his comments about attacking Mecca if we were attacked. I'm also not clear on why anyone would view this as irresponsible. If they don't attack us, their holy lands are safe. If they do attack us, their holy lands are history. Not everyone in the US considers Mecca and Medina "holy". I know that I do not. Personnally, I consider our homeland "holy" so, it seems reasonable to defend it and hit them where it hurts. Of course, I also realize that it's more important these days to be politically correct and not offend Muslims than it is to defend our own country so, I can see why some people will call Tancredo's thoughts on this matter “reprehensible” and “absolutely crazy.”

    August 3, 2007 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  13. Ray Lopez Round Rock, Texas

    Ironically enough, while I'm sure many would consider Mr. Tancredo's comments silly, I don't. Instead of religious sites, I would level Damascus and Teheran with a 48 hour get out of town notice.

    August 3, 2007 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  14. Linda - Albany, NY

    This idiot just took stupidity to an entirely new level.

    August 3, 2007 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  15. James, Tulsa, OK

    You couldn't do this if you wanted to. The Geneva Convention prevents us from destroying churches, hospitals, schools, museums unless they are being used a staging areas to conduct military operations; then their fair game. So you can't just arbitrarily blow up Mecca. Bone up on your laws Mr. Bush.. I mean Tancredo.

    August 3, 2007 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  16. jmullan mission viejo CA

    Outrageous in their lack of clarity, and show a clear and fundamental lack of understanding of the world in which we're living. Shame on him. Unfortunately the man occupying the W.H. isn't far off from this type of thinking, and neither is his V.P. That's how we find ourselves in the current predicament.

    August 3, 2007 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  17. Mike N. Lebanon, CT

    Good for him! It's about time a politician made sense. This is the only kind of reason these people understand.

    August 3, 2007 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  18. Rich Peterson, Moorhead, MN

    No, I would not want Tom T. to be President, but I am glad he is putting this idea out. I would rather have it expressed differently, and explained thus:

    In response to a nuclear attack on an American city, the public would demand a retaliatory strike on Makkah.

    Our response to Islamic terrorism has been misguided from the start. Calling it a "War" was the first mistake. You can not fight a war against a gang of hoodlums who have no borders to protect, no population to preserve, no industry or infrastructure to defend, and do not wear uniforms.

    Further, declaring a war gave them undeserved credibility by elevating them to relative equality with us. You only go to war with a nation, not with a small band of criminals.

    The Taliban and al Quaida have demonstrated their lack of respect for the religious sites of others, by the destruction of the statues of Buddha and the Golden Mosque of Samarra, so they are the ones who have put holy sites on the target list. Up to this point, they have felt no consequence of that, so they believe they have us intimidated to such a degree that we dare not attack a Grand Mosque. In the madness of their religious fervor, they see our respect of others' faith as a weakness.

    Over the last six years we have demonstrated the ineffectiveness of a massive military response to terrorism. The attacks of 9/11 cost bin Ladin a half million dollars and caused billions, perhaps a trillion dollars in damage and impact on our economy. In Iraq, $250,000 HumVees are being taken out by $500 IEDs. The enemy is getting a tremendous Return on Investment. A similarly disastrous military adventure in Afghanistan weakened the Soviet military and bled the treasury, which brought the U.S.S.R. to its knees. We must not make the same mistake.

    I grew up under the shadow of a mushroom cloud, with the prospect on a nuclear war with Russia. The inevitibility of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) brought us to detente; the realization that a "nuclear winter" would devastate the world brought us to arms reduction. We finally understood that nobody would win.

    Islamic militants do not have any sense of that. Their leaders stir them with visions of taking back Spain and even establishing a worldwide caliphate. Never a consideration of what they might lose. We give their ravings credibility by reacting in fear instead of amusement at their naivity.

    This wildeyed zeal grows in the government supported schools of violent hatred in Saudi Arabia. The Saudis are trading partners, but certainly not friends. 16 of the 19 highjackers of 9/11 were Saudi; all the financing came from Saudi businessmen. Buddhist, secular and Shi'ite buildings and monuments have been destroyed, but none of significance to the Sunni. Under shariah law, we should extract vengeance, an eye for an eye.

    Christianity has nothing like the Kabbah, the Grand Mosque of Makkah. There is the legend of the Holy Grail, the cup used by Christ at the Last Supper, and enough wood claimed to be part of the Cross to build a house. But Islam has an ancient pagan temple that is known for certain to have been touched by, cleansed and sanctified by The Prophet. It is irreplaceable; a reconstruction or replica would not suffice. It is precious beyond words.

    Tancredo did not advocate a strike on Makkah, only a threat. Threats are powerful, until they are executed; then the power is gone. I would advocate a strike on a modern grand mosque in Saudi Arabia, to let Muslims know we will do it. It probably won't deter the zealots, but perhaps would awaken and embolden the Silent Majority of peaceloving, rational Muslims.

    Tom T. has the freedom to speak truth in a way the "serious" candidates and diplomats dare not. Be thankful that he does. Hope that Islam hears him.

    August 3, 2007 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  19. Joseph, Houston TX

    It worked with the Soviet Union. It's called Mutual Assured Destruction. Someone needs to tell these a-holes that if they f**k with us one more time, they are all going down. You know, I don't exactly hear any outcries from any moderate Muslims that their fanatics are wrong. I think they all silently hope the Christian West collapses. Are there any moderate Muslims? Then they better start speaking up and going after their own fanatical idiots. I applaud the Congressman for his stand. They want a crusade? Let's give them a Crusade!

    August 3, 2007 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  20. Martin, Miami, FL

    This Tan-Credo is Stu-Peedo.

    I hope his consituants back home are sufficiently embarrassed so as to not re-elect him again.

    Whomever challenges him in 18 months just has to air those comments in a commercial and they'll win in a landslide.

    August 3, 2007 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  21. Bob F., New York, NY

    I used to just think he was a moron. Now I know he's a dangerous moron. Thom Hartmann pointed out today that a threat like that would be like if Maggie Thatcher had threatened to bomb to Vatican to quell Irish-Catholic bombings in the UK. She wasn't that crazy or stupid. Tancredo is another wingnut unfit for public service. All reaction; no reason.

    August 3, 2007 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  22. Richard, Pikeville,KY

    It's always great to see someone in Washington stand up and say something powerfull. I wish more were like him.

    This is leadership material!

    August 3, 2007 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  23. Dereck, Chicago IL

    If some of the comments here regarding the inaccuracy or ambiguity of this CNN report do not seem valid, it is because CNN altered this article at 1:55pm. Kudos to them for a prompt correction of the original sloppy reporting. CNN should, however, post an editorial comment in this thread indicating that changes were made so that prior posts do not appear irrelevant or confusing. Anything less is covering up their original shortcomings.

    August 3, 2007 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  24. Chelsea, Norfolk, Virginia.

    This guy has got to be freaking stupid to the last cell in his entire brain if he has one that is. How dare he even say he is going to bomb Mecca & Medina. He fails to realise that a single drop of blood from a believer is more precious than Mecca. This is blatant stupidity and I can't help but say that if anything he is going to encourage more attacks just by saying stupid things like that. If he wan't the Muslim world to hate him then he is definetly making the right noise. I am not a democrat or republican at the moment but I would like to see how other candidates come out and slate him for his reckless comments. What he does not realise is that the west is waging a war on terror which is mainly against terrorists and insurgents in Iraq. If he did unleash something like this it would prrobably be the biggest mistake the US has EVER made as this would definetly start a world war ALL over the WORLD.

    My last word on this is that Tancredo is looking for publicity.. they say any publicity is good publicity and what better way to do that than to start a controversy like this.


    August 3, 2007 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  25. Jeff, Savanah GA

    uhm...aren't the (Muslims) already bombing the holy sites of each sect? So how would this be a deterent? What it will do is direct, even more than it is, the aim of Muslim missles on Bethlehem and Jeruselum. Never mind that the targets suggested (Mecca and Medina are in Saudi Arabia and the Us governement just touted a arms sale to arm them. Mr. Tancredo'l logic is short-sighted.

    August 3, 2007 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66