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. L. Fasasi, Pensacola FL

    This is like beating a kid for hitting his brother, how will we ever find peace on this earth if the solution for violence is more of the same? Pray for peace, don't ask for more death of innocent people.

    August 3, 2007 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  2. Pat, Ypsilanti, MI

    It is incredible to hear these comments. Mecca and Medina are Holy sites for all Muslims. Why should millions of Muslims suffer that kind of offense because of very small radical groups, who use religion as an excuse, just because Tancredo is such an ignorant and violent guy? Guess what would be the next target of extremists. Exactly: churches, cathedrals and even the Vatican. Shame on you, Tancredo!

    August 3, 2007 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  3. Al Rider, Dallas, TX

    Unfortunately hate monger like Tom Tancredo get elected again and again. I think peopl those who elect this kind of congressman should not expect the country to go to the positive direction.

    August 3, 2007 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  4. Rebecca, Knoxville TN

    Tancredo's idea isn't crazy, although it may be MAD. And it's worth pointing out that no American or Soviet cities were actually nuked during the cold war. Likewise, Mecca will not be destroyed if our Islamist enemies take our threat of retaliation seriously and refrain from doing whatever it is that we announce ahead of time would trigger the destruction of Mecca.
    This assumes, of course, that Islamists would actually be demoralized by the destruction of Mecca and might even lose their faith. If this is not true, then destroying Mecca works to the Islamists' advantage, and retaliation for a major attack should involve killing large numbers of Islamists. We need to know the correct answer before we act or threaten to act. And Saudi Arabia is not our ally.

    August 3, 2007 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  5. toe, Atlanta, GA

    This comment from Joe in NJ struck a chord..

    "..stop taking lectures from retarded liberal professors that never worked a day in their life outside of academia."

    Similarly, don't heed to a word on Islamic fundamentalism, from anyone who hasn't stepped foot even once on any of the Islamic-countries..

    August 3, 2007 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  6. T. Michael, Fort Worth

    Let's be honest folks.... islam is not a religion. It's a doomsday death cult that has terrorized and brutalizd everyone and everything in its path since its inception.

    There comes a point when you've done all that talking that can be done, and all the molly-coddling that can be done. It's time to get serious about this before a dozen more American cities fall prey to 9-11/WTC type attacks.

    Some people believe you can't declare war on an idea. No? Ask the Japanese how they feel about Imperialism.

    We defeated Japan NOT by destorying their infrastructure. We defeated them by crushing their spirit (well, that and melting their cities, thank you very much Curtis LeMay). They had no will to fight after that. That's what must happen here. Not nuke a million people, but nuke an idea (islam), an idea that is so cancerous it destroys everything it's ever touched. The way to do that, is to hit the cult in the heart, it's two "holiest" sites.

    I ask, how many more WTCs have to happen? How many more innocent people have to make the decision to burn alive in a sky-scraper-turned-molotov-cocktail, or leap 100 stories to their death on the sidewalk below. Remember, the man in the "Falling Man" photo wasn't a uniformed member of the American military. He was just some poor guy who happened to get to work on time. How many more people will be forced to make this mind-blowing decision, because the leaders of this nation no longer "LEAD" but rather hold their wet fingers up to see which way the polical wind is blowing (i.e. take polls).

    Harry Truman, where are you when we need you?

    August 3, 2007 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  7. Kyle Massey Blue Springs Mo

    After reading dozens of these remarks about how crazy Trancredo is and "This is why the world hates us" Ive come to one sad conclusion. People posting on here havent a clue about anything that is happening outside our borders. If they knew how much these Islamic extremist hate us, and want to kill us all, the American liberal press and its sheep-like followers might wake up for about 2 seconds. Just in time to see the next suicide bomber push the button. God help us all. Were gonna need it.

    August 3, 2007 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  8. Rod Burnette

    DAN from Chicago,

    Could you please tell me when we fought a war the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic?


    Government indoctrination ( I mean education) has destroyed our country.

    Government Education is to blame for this guy.

    August 3, 2007 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  9. Steve Swytak, Santa Ana, CA

    This is the kind of attitude and knee-jark reaction which has been so harmful to the U.S. in world opinion. There will always be extremists and terrorists. A civilized society should not resort to terrorism, as this ignoramus proposes, to counter the disjointed and despised actions of terrorists.

    Most Muslims are peace loving people who despise violence and the actions of the terrorists. Tancredo proposes terrorism upon the innocents to counter terrorism inflicted by fringe elements who are also despised in the world. Tancredo is totally irresponsible and stupid.

    August 3, 2007 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  10. Zack Highstreet Allson, MA

    Zack Highstreet Allston,
    If you don’t believe in the Islamic GOD Allah, none of what the Koran says should bother you, should it? Wouldn’t those be like the words of any delinquent soul on the streets? Why care?

    Posted By toe, Atlanta, GA : August 3, 2007 4:30 pm

    I have to care what Allah says because unfortunately at least 200 million people around the world take it serious enough to wish violence on my person, property and system of government. Allah matters because people take it serious and wish me harm because of what Allah said in the Qur'an.

    Until Allah is proven to be a nothing all non-muslims need to be concerned with that god and his commands. Islam allows every Muslim to be jury, judge and executioner on the rest of us. Islam sanctions first degree murder of non-muslims. Allah calls us 'the worst of creatures' among many other things and True Believers take it to heart.

    Allah must be shown to be nothing. One of the best ways to do this is to occupy and systematically destroy Mecca. Allah, if he were 'real', would never allow Mecca to be occupied and destroyed. This doesn't require the deaths of millions in the Islamic world.

    The beliefs behind the terrorists are the root cause of all this in the last 1,400 years.

    Jihadi terrorism is a symptom.
    Imams, mullahs, ayatollahs and muftis are vectors.
    Islam is the bacterium.

    Islam is a plague on both houses – the house of Islam and the House of War ( the rest of the world not ruled by sharia law).

    We have to de-legitimize the beliefs. Mecca is the vulnerable heart of it all.

    That may seem extreme and un-doable, but this jihad will never end until Allah is destroyed. Killing a billion muslims won't change their minds, but killing Allah will.

    August 3, 2007 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  11. Mark Kovar Tampa FL

    Huh? Osama Bin Laden said that if US troops stayed in Arab lands, he should be able to blow up the symbols of our country and kill thousands of innocent people. And now Tom Tancredo says that exact same thing?!!! I'm all for free speech but when a member of Congress puts the lives of all Americans in jeopardy by talking like a terrorist, he should at a minimum be censured by the Congress! What a colossal bonehead!

    August 3, 2007 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  12. seb, dfw, tx

    Haha, is he running for president in the 1950s or something? I'd rather have a mule with a magic 8-ball strapped to it as president.

    Come on people, we're better than this.

    August 3, 2007 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    What an idiot. btw, he is racist.

    August 3, 2007 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    i agree 100% what are we supposed to do, roll over and get kicked again. It may wake up other Muslims to take care of "their" problem-fundamentalism.

    August 3, 2007 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  15. George, Vancouver. BC

    Tancredo just became the most efficient Al-Queda recruiter in the world. What better way to drive more conservative Muslims into extremism than promising to nuke their holiest sites. How much did the Al-Queda lobby on K-street get paid for this little number?

    August 3, 2007 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  16. Dutch Keyser Wv.

    Amen Tom. I like your suggestion.

    August 3, 2007 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  17. Matt, Queens, NY

    Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world and an atomic strike would only exponentially increase the amount of ignorant people who will sign up to fight for any cause that gives them an identity. And dropping bombs hasn't worked in over 60 years. The largest aerial campaign was carried out over the skies of Nam, and look what that got us- NOTHING. In order to beat these terrorist, all you need to do is stop directly attacking them and take away what fuels their recruitment- American attacks, albeit accidental, on innocent civillians.

    August 3, 2007 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  18. Pete, Virginia

    I wish people would stop saying this is a crazy statement and think about it.

    He said this would be retaliation for a NUCLEAR ATTACK inside the United States. Let me tell you, if that happens, it already is a World War. Do you people understand how many would die in a nuclear attack in the US? Sept. 11 would look mild.

    The Saudi's are the ones who have financed and educated the hateful Islamic Fundamentalists. Maybe they will have some incentive to prevent these readicals from going through with a Nuclear attack if they fear retaliation.

    Also, Tom Tancredo didn't suggest dropping a nuclear bomb on Mecca, he said he would attack. He could destroy famous sites with conventional weapons.

    His point is certainly rhetorical, but he is accurate that there is no downside for the terrorists in exploding a nuclear weapon inside the US. The Soviets had fear of reprisal because we would destroy Moscow. If the Islamists have no fear, where is the incentive not to attack??

    We're not going to "love" our way out of this problem anytime in the next 100 years so at least be prepared to fight.

    August 3, 2007 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  19. Dan, Danville, CA

    What a moron. Deterrent? I can't think of anything else that would be certain to enrage the hordes and ensure they travel the US and kill everyone they can get their hands on! Remember those cartoons? Imagine that reaction times one million. I wish the Republicans would get babysitters for their candidates so at least they can keep them from going outside without adult supervision!

    August 3, 2007 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  20. Bob, Roanoke, VA

    Does this mean when the IRA was blowing folks up in Ireland, we should have, um, nuked the Vatican?

    Oh, wait, you mean all those people [Catholics] aren't alike? Well, the same surely can't apply to those people [Muslims].

    August 3, 2007 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  21. Tom, Quincy, Mass

    I guess you Kumbya singers just don't get it.

    The moderate muslims who you so cherish for support and assistance never offer anything more than phony words with no meaning and no value.

    "We think it was not a good thing that (Name the target, country, people)" was bombed and innocent people killed, OH THANK YOU FOR THOSE STRONG WORDS thank you so much for being with us and doing your best to help.

    Hold hands and sing with me people.

    I am not a fan of this guy, but he shows some seeds to at least put out there an actual deterrent.

    Let me ask the Kumbya club a real simple question, California gets hit tommorow with suicide bombers that wipes out 20,000 people including women and children and a few churches, schools etc, etc.

    Do we have a summit to appease the UN and the "moderates", or do we do as Tancredo says and go after the targets that they cherish including their innocent people and INCLUDE mosques, MECCA wherever?

    I bet you hit them where it hurts the "moderates" will do more to save their own people and then and ONLY then will the really begin to help us.

    The threat of REAL action must at least be spoken, and that is the point here.

    Strong words, but real needed.

    August 3, 2007 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  22. Rod Burnette


    You posed the question why do the terrorist attack the United States instead of Canada? Although very funny, the answer given by the guy from CA. doesn't really shed light on the truth.

    The truth is that we are the WORLD SUPERPOWER that represents everything that they wish to destroy. That is why they flew planes into the World Trade Ctr's. Not because it would kill a lot of people. They could have done something a lot easier to pull off then that. They attacked the towers because they are a symbol of economic freedom and prosperity, or in other words Capitalism.

    Our country also was founded on and even today stands for Religious Freedom. The ultimate slap in the face to Muslims.

    For those of you who think they are attacking us because we are mean bullies, think again.

    August 3, 2007 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  23. Beverly, Denton, TX

    The statements Tom Tancredo made regarding attacking places of worship are not democratic, very uneducated and vicious behavior. If you cannot think of safety precautions intelligently than you currently are, then you do not deserve to be a representative of this government, i.e. US. I certainly would not vote for him.

    August 3, 2007 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    Wow. Where do we find these people.

    August 3, 2007 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  25. Steve

    You Americans need help...serious help.

    What happened to common human decency? Speak out against your gov't for spending trillions of dollars on military and on wars for oil (that you blame on 'terrorism') – and take care of your own people.

    Your health-care system is a joke, your crime rates are deplorable, you are disliked everywhere in the world – fix your country and stop letting uneducated-rednecks like this guy (and Bush) represent your country.

    August 3, 2007 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
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