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. Lee, Des Moines, Ia

    Although misguided (we can't bomb holy sites in countries that are our allies) at least he understands the only way to hurt these nutjobs. Specifically targeting religious shrines is a really good idea, so long as you do it in an enemy country. What other deterent is there? They don't care if they die. Hit em where it hurts!

    August 3, 2007 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  2. Paul, Highland NY

    I guess Tom's mentality is if we kill all the innocent civilians there will only be bad guys left. Good strategy!

    August 3, 2007 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  3. Montreal, Quebec


    – World Trade Center death toll: 2752
    – Iraqi civilians killed (excluding military personel): 68172 to 74575
    – American military killed: 3652 to 3665
    – Ossama bin Laden, in the meantime, is in Afghanistan.

    Other numbers.

    The recent Isreali-Lebanese war, when 2 Israeli soldiers were taken captive by Hezbollah, and Israel "retaliated":
    – Hezbollah killed: 250 to 600
    – Lebanese civilians dead: 850 to 1191
    – Israel military killed: 119.
    – Israel civilians dead: 43 (they were in Lebanon, at the time)

    From these numbers, who is more entitled to be pissed off and seek revenge? Stop bombing and killing, maybe people will want to befriend you.

    (By the way, I'm Canadian, and we don't get terrorist attacks. I wonder what differences we have make you a target.)

    August 3, 2007 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  4. Vicki, Phoenix, Arizona

    It's absolutely that kind of radical thinking that the US is hated so much !
    Holy sites have as much to do with Islamic extremism, as Churches do with the 'Jerry Falwells' and the 'Jim Bakkers' of the world.. if I may use the names ONLY to represent extremist's an absurd comment – and oh, by the way, I am registered Republican, not that it should matter.

    August 3, 2007 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    As Colorado Native...I have to say Tancredo should use his brain just a tad bit more.....Mecca is in the Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia. If Im not mistaken we are about to close a multi Billion dollar arms deal with this Kingdom . I don't think they would take very kindly to the USA useing there Holy sights for a bombing run just to prove a "See what we can do to you." point.
    Bombing Mecca would alienate ALL muslims..about 2.5 billion of them....I think Tommy Boy should really THINK before he speaks..We have way to meny leaders like that already... Some even act before they think..Who Lives In the White House??????

    Eric ....Littleton Colorado

    August 3, 2007 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  6. Daniyal, Houston Texas

    Whoa. Thats right, Give the muslim's the excuse they need to legitimize attacking the United States at every level possible.If you thought we had problems with terror now? Thank goodness there are enough sane educated people in this country to take note of the absurdity of his statements. Those same sane people will ensure that he never see's the inside of the Oval office...unless of course he is part of a tourist group.

    August 3, 2007 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  7. Darlene, White Mills, PA

    Are you high?! I think that most of the people who go to these sites are not terrorists, but peace abiding, kind and loving Muslims. Apparently Mr. Tancredo believes that every Muslim in the world are terrorists. Hmm, I'm ashamed to call myself a Christian if Mr. Tancredo is one. I won't even listen to a mention of him now for president. Just what we need another lunatic in office.

    Mr. Tancredo, what ever happened to separation of God and state or did you forget about that when you were elected?

    August 3, 2007 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    Tom Tancredo is a walking "how to make everyone on the face of the planet hate us" guide.
    I think that we should put him and ward churchill in a boat in the middle of nowhere and film it -kudos colorado, another fine state employee!

    August 3, 2007 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  9. Ted Rath

    Does anyone remember the Cold War?????

    For decades, US Presidents of both parties could press a button to unleash thermonuclear warfare on the Soviet Union in RETALIATION of a strike from them. Ever heard of MAD – Mutual Assured Destruction? Go rent a few videos – Doctor Strangelove and Failsafe.

    BTW – the capability is still there – Russia, USA, and now also China.

    August 3, 2007 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  10. Irfan, New York, NY

    VERY Immature + irresponsive comments. He is not even eligible for a blue color job. How can he be sitting in House representing his community?

    August 3, 2007 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    He is such an IDIOT!!! Strange he made a similar comment in 2005 and got away with it....

    He should be banned from politics... He is such a disgrace to this country....

    August 3, 2007 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  12. Neil, Toronto, Canada

    This guy is an idiot. Who would of thought there would be more stupid that George Bush.

    Perfect canidate for U.S President.

    August 3, 2007 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  13. Kincar, Saint Louis, Missouri

    Personally this sounds like the same stupidity we as Americans used when describing the Russian people and the indians of the American west.
    BY THE WAY, isn't Colorado the same state that a certain professor was from? The one who declared that the victims of the World Trade Center got ehat they deserved because the were like the German Nazis?

    August 3, 2007 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  14. Kenneth Nolen Tucson AZ

    In the first century AD Rome, the creators of a world wide peace, (the Pax Romna)strugled with Jewish zellots (terorist) who wanted freedom of religion. Finally brought to the brink by Jewish rebelion they solved their problem by destroying the Temple in Jerusalm and killing millions of Jews. It is said that people who do not learn from history are bound to repeat it. This not where we want America to go, I hope we are not driven to the brink by a few Moslem radicals.

    August 3, 2007 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  15. Ivan Diaz Bronx, NY

    Hoorraaayyyy! About time someone tells it like it is. I totally agree with the Senator. Attack us, then we should respond likewise. Enough of turn the other cheek! Stop coddling these terror enablers like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan etc. These "allies" talk out of both sides of their mouths. Do I need to remind everyone where the majority of the 9/11 attackers were from?

    August 3, 2007 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  16. Suzanne, Charlotte, NC

    Well folks,
    Maybe this is a bit extreme, but he has got the right idea. After Pearl Harbor was attacked were we supposed to sit around and sing Kumbyeya (sorry, spelling)? If this country is attacked again, SOMETHING HAS to happen beside sitting around debating and talking about it. Haven't you realized ... this isn't working. BTW. the Saudis truly aren't our allies.

    August 3, 2007 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  17. Anthony, Oakland, CA

    Good for him! Somebody needs to stand up for this country. It's ok for Muslims to blow innocent Americans to pieces, but it's not ok for us to blow up a bomb factory (aka mosque)??? Time to stop the political correctness that is getting us destroyed, and end this crap. The next attack on this country will be the democrats fault for not having a back bone and taking a stand. No, we can not all just get along. No, you can not talk sense into these radical religious nuts. "Convert or Die" is thier motto, the all mighty followers of Allah.

    August 3, 2007 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  18. Jon, Washington DC

    This is one of the most offensive, irresponsible and intolerant comments uttered this primary season. A several proclaimed man of faith is actually considering targeting religious holy sites? That is barbaric. He should resign from Congress and withdraw from the campaign.

    August 3, 2007 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  19. Rod Burnette Blairsville, GA

    I can't believe all of these posts. Yes, Mr. Tancredo's comments are very extremist and over the top. However, it will take a radical change in policy to defeat the religion who's doctrine all calls for the destruction of all who do not call themselves a Muslim. Besides, he didn't say he would attack the cities, he said that it would be a deterrent. And he also did not say that he would use nuclear weapons.

    So laugh and make fun of Rep. Tancredo you want, but when the Muslim population exceeds that of American's from a Judeo-Christian background in the United States, and Muslims are the majority in our government then you will see our Constitution destroyed, and your rights and freedoms as we know it will be gone and we will be under Islamic law. And oh by the way, convert or they will behead you. And then we will look back and go, "why didn't we see this coming and why didn't someone in our government get over being too sensitive and take care of the problem BEFORE it is too late.

    General Patton after WWII wanted to go get the communist. Everyone laughed and called him psycho. But in hindsight it might not have been a bad idea. And the communist didn't even want to kill us they just want everyone to become dependent on the government for everything and adopt their form of liberalism, I mean socialism, I mean Marxism.

    August 3, 2007 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  20. Independent Voter, TN

    Mark in Chicago,

    You may want to read yesterday's ticker and postings about what Obama said about going into Pakistan if he had actionable intelligence. There was an equal outcry from many of both parties to what he said, as well.

    Contrary to what you said, all Republicans are not stupid (and by the way, neither are all Democrats). What is wrong with the political process is mindless partisan posturing where someone automatically discounts anything offered by someone of the other party as being reprehensible just because it came from someone of the other party.

    Neither political party has a monopoly on controversy (or errors in judgement or gaffes). Say what you want about an issue, just don't assume that everyone in a particular party feels the same.

    It will benefit you in the long run to not generalize in such a fashion, since that is a narrow minded and antagonistic way of looking at things.

    August 3, 2007 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  21. Tony, Austin, TX

    "If I am wrong, fine, tell me, and I would be happy to do something else"

    Tom, you're wrong. As emotionally cathartic as it would be to destroy a place held sacred by someone who attacks us, the place is also sacred to millions who didn't attack – but will then be tempted to do so. "Eye for an eye" is not a mature way to handle problems in the real world.

    August 3, 2007 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  22. Joe, Dallas, Tx

    Are you crazy! The extremist represent less than 1% of the world's Muslim population. If you blow-up Mecca, then you are dealing with 900 MM extremist, not just 150,000 or so.

    August 3, 2007 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  23. Gene mullis

    I totally agree. If they want to cause damage all over the world, then use that to stop them. All it would take is one place of their worship bombed and they would get the picture. Their money comes from the oil. Most of their people do not work because they know that the oil money will feed them. That is why all they want to do is cause problems in all the other nations because they are to lazy to work, they had rather die than work. I agree with this canidate.

    August 3, 2007 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  24. William, New York, NY

    Finally, somebody who thinks the way I do. Just tell them that if you bomb us, no more Islam!

    August 3, 2007 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  25. Nelson, Toronto ON

    This wasn't mistakenly taken from right?

    August 3, 2007 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
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