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. Ray, Rockville MD

    Is this guy for real... I am all against terrorists but you can't just go blow up places like Mecca and Medine. USA has enough problems in it's hands as is with these fanatics. Does he want the remaining middle easters to turn against USA also.

    August 3, 2007 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    Just another biggot...

    August 3, 2007 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  3. Danny Houston, TX

    Sounds right by me. Just start with the most militant mosques/clerics and work your way out from there.

    Does this mean that there ARE people in Washington that still have the ability to THINK?

    August 3, 2007 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  4. Shane, Scranton, PA

    How can this guy have money to keep funding a presidential campaign? Where does he get his donations from–the KKK and other hate groups? A plan like that wouldn't show "that we mean business," it would make us infinitely more disliked in the Middle East and, frankly, all over the world. Not only that, but it would give terrorists more license to come after the United States.

    It sickens me to see that this man is in my party. Hopefully his campaign runs into the ground soon.

    August 3, 2007 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  5. NP Redwood CIty, CA

    I totally agree with you.

    August 3, 2007 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  6. Chadwick Blue, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    Are you kidding me? This is EXACTLY what is wrong with U.S. politicians, and Republicans in general. How does it serves America's best interests to destroy the religious sites of Muslims? Sounds like an amazing solution to me..Let's punish the WHOLE Muslim world because of a few bad apples. Great idea Tom..but hey, then again, this is coming from the same guy who called Miami a "third world country". Good luck in the next election Tom.

    August 3, 2007 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  7. Daniel Corales, Waterbury CT

    This guy is pathetic! How can anybody say something like that and stay in the race to be President of the US? It's a real shame for this country that this gentleman made it to Congress. Colorado residents should remember this and other of his "brilliant" ideas come November '08, and take him out of the House of Representatives for good!!

    August 3, 2007 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  8. Altamash, Silver Spring - MD

    Fight extremism with ignorance is the way to go – I think not! Presedential hopeful should realize that doing so would only trigger more extremism and moderate Muslims that are already living in US peacefully might join these extremist networks and cause more damage to US security than one can never imagine. I am sure that by making such statements Mr. Tancredo has lost all Muslim support (if he had any).

    August 3, 2007 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  9. Art, Mobile, AL

    I support the idea of publicly stating that if another terrorist act takes place in the US, some facilities considered sacred in Islam, will be destroyed.

    August 3, 2007 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  10. Mehroz B. Petaluma, CA

    I'm sorry but did I read that correctly? I would think that attacking a Muslim holy site would only produce more anger towards America and hence more probability of an attack. Not to mention, not all Muslims out there are fundamentalists–this would just create anger within them as well and then instead of just a few people holding grudges against the US, we'd have a significant world population condemning any such attack. Not only is this "idea" unrealistic, ignorant, and utterly absurd, but it is NOT going to help ANY political situation. I hope this is NOT what we have to look forward to for our upcoming election.

    August 3, 2007 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  11. C Glenn

    Since Tom Tancredo is the only one with any guts on this issue, which is the primary issue of our times, he gets my vote for president.

    August 3, 2007 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  12. Brandon, Sacramento, CA

    Of course it's "absolutely crazy." However, so is the erosion of our own rights here at home. Those people strapping bombs to their bodies hold very little as being valuable, certainly not human life. Perhaps a "nuclear option" of removing their religious symbols from the planet would be a reasonable deterrent. If it would save one life, think of the children, et cetera. I like the plan of withdrawing from the region completely and retargeting our missiles to that area. Every attack of theirs gets 10 from us. Eventually their vaunted mathematical minds do the graph and will figure it out.

    August 3, 2007 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  13. George Skirkanich, Denver, CO

    I am personally embarrassed to hail from the very state that this lunatic represents. How he keeps getting elected is a mystery to me, but in the meantime, I would like to offer a question to those who support this nutcase. How would you like it if Islanmic fundamentalists targeted your church or place of worship?
    I'm sick to death of these irresponsible politicians, mostly Republicans, who think the only way to deal with such an enormous problem is to throw more gas on the fire. It's only making things worse. So, Tom, do the world and your country a favor and shut up.

    August 3, 2007 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  14. Jan-Tosh, Lubbock, Texas

    The lack of logic in his statements is unbelievable and solidifies Tom Tancredo's position as the most dangerous presidential candidate.

    August 3, 2007 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  15. Heather Erie, PA

    Are you kidding me? That is like saying that the strike on the Twin Towers would 'deter' the US from further activity in the Middle East. If anything, it will incite further violence as well as increased hatred for the US by the general population of Middle East and Muslim countries.

    If we continue on this path, we will most certainly remain on our downward spiral.

    I wish these politicians would wake up and stop getting the American people into situations that we don't want to be in, let alone be responsible for.

    August 3, 2007 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  16. Dean, Niles Ohio

    He's correct, if we keep backing off, they will keep advancing, time to take a stand and say no more, you attack us, we will attack what you love. More power to him!!!!

    August 3, 2007 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  17. Providence, RI

    Insane. Vile. Mad.

    August 3, 2007 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  18. Don Ventura Ca

    A lot of people agree but it is not "politically correct" to say things like that. In the middle east they bomb our troops, hide in the mosque after they bomb the troops, and then we sit by and say,thats a holy site we can't go after them there, what would the world think. We are now approaching 3700 deaths in Iraq. Good idea Mr. Tancredo!!

    August 3, 2007 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  19. DK, Albuquerque, NM

    Thank You CNN for providing an outlet for the most inflammatory, bigoted, ethnocentric, and irresponsible utterings of a person who should know better. I'm sure that you have enhanced the credibility if not legitimized all the other blue-blooded 'mericans who feel the same way-but don't dare say it. Thanks again, we feel safer now.

    August 3, 2007 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  20. Carlos, Houston, TX

    This is outrageous! It is our presence there that is drawing the attacks. Republicans fail to see the obvious: there was no terrorist activity in Iraq before the US invasion. Attacking holy sites will acomplish nothing short of causing worldwide outrage at the US by not only the terrorist themselves, but also the international community and partners such as Qatar and Kuwait.

    August 3, 2007 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  21. Patrick Hughes, Houston, Texas

    This is truly pathetic and stupid. First, it is no deterrent to extremists that already bomb their own sites, and kill fellow countryman. Second, it is inflammatory and encourages hatred in ways that can only hurt those defending freedom over there. Got to hope he is misquoted.

    August 3, 2007 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  22. Matt, Cartersville, GA

    This man is absolutely crazy. Numerous holy sites have been bombed already in the Iraqi civil war. That hasn't deterred anything. Bombing these sites would have the opposite effect: it would provide Muslim extremists evidence that the United States is waging a war against Islam and would radicalize even more Muslims and create more terrorists.

    August 3, 2007 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  23. Chris - Clifton, NJ

    I 100% agree. If these nut case islamic fundamentalist want to even think of attacking us we should make it perfectly clear to them that if you even attemp to attack us and suceed, we will turn all your holy sites into a super sized craters.

    I suggest we wait until they are all at Mecca then bomb it. They showed no mercy for us on 9/11, so we are just returning the favor.

    August 3, 2007 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  24. James, San Francisco, CA

    An irresponsible statement indeed of someone obviously not having a vision to lead America.

    Ideas cannot be fought with bombs, but ideas. Bombs can escalate the situation.

    What would their response to this be?

    Would this be done in haste, the way we went to war in Iraq (because of the alleged WMD)?

    It would come back to haunt us – what would happen to the oil price?

    August 3, 2007 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  25. Dan, Baltimore, MD

    I don't think this makes sense as a deterrent at this point. It would probably embolden the existing zealots. However, as a retaliatory measure, I would agree, wholeheartedly, that this be done. And it should be done in devastating fashion. Anything that will might sap their will.

    August 3, 2007 01:10 pm at 1:10 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