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. Tomas

    Bombing Mecca and Medina would bring this world back into the medieval era. BTW, the arabs are not Japanese; no way in hell would the arabs bow down soo easily.

    August 4, 2007 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  2. Astra, Concord, NH

    It is amazing how little some Americans know about Islam. It is also rather obvious that Tancredo has never truly experienced fundamentalism, in any of its religious flavors.
    As a Muslim, I can tell you what this would cause- the middle-of-the-road Muslims and moderate Muslims (Yes! we do exist, and in numbers beyond what most Americans dream of) would turn against the US. Most would turn to non-violent measures to condemn the US action; but a good percentage would have proof that the fundamentalists were right, and that Islam was in terrible danger due to US foreign policy. They would join their more violent brethren in the only measures they knew made an impact- terrorism. Americans don't like to think about it, but there are a large number of American citizens that are Muslim. Can you imagine if suddenly a large percentage of them lost the sites we hold most holy? Talk about encouraging violence on US soil. Anyone who has truly experienced fundamentalism knows that most of the time you cannot turn someone who is so entrenched in their beliefs; their minds are already set. This goes for fundamentalist Christians, Jews, Muslims, whatever religion you examine.
    Bombing Mecca and Medina will only cause your strongest allies to turn away from you, the moderate Muslims who call for calm, and only inflame the fundamentalists to more heinous acts. Doing so is as good as putting out a banner ad recruiting for jihad.

    Tancredo is looking for the magic bullet to fix a complex and thorny issue, because the public is looking for one. It would be nice to think that such a solution exists. But religion is not dissuaded so simply. If you think that issues laced with such emotion can be resolved by one single action, then perhaps we should have bombed the IRA, or the West Bank by now.

    August 4, 2007 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  3. Dave A., Springfield, NJ

    Not such a bad idea. Think about it. They attack the WTC because they believe we pray to our icons of capitalism. So we attack where they pray. Makes sense.

    August 4, 2007 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  4. Gene Nathanson

    I think Tom T's idea is not a bad idea. From reading other comments posted here, it looks like a lot of folks don't like this idea because it will get the Muslim extremists angry with us. Oh gee.....let's not defend ourselves or disprespect their religion because we sure don't want to offend a band of people who's way of life dates back to the stone age. George Carlin said it best – "Man-made religion is stupid". All this killing because these idiots really believe that something good will happen to them after they die. Maybe if they knew that after they blow themselves up, there is nothing waiting for them on "the other side" because, there is no other side. I think it's time to stand up to these Neanderthals and if it means fighting dirty, go for it. Why should we respect their religion and holy sites? Do they show the same respect to the holy sites of others? And for any of you who think Saudi Arabia is our ally, wake up! They are nothing more than a business partner with the US. They are no ally of ours. If the US gets attacked or nuked by Muslim extremists, I am hoping we have someone like Tom T. in charge and not a bunch of pacifist whiners who think turning the other cheek is the way to go.

    August 4, 2007 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  5. John, Woodside, NY

    He might sound extreme but if what he suggests works perhaps we should consider it? If the terrorists will stop at nothing, including killing childen in the name of Allah, then we should every option on the table to deter them.

    August 4, 2007 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  6. drew,st. louis mo

    why wait? It's where we're headed anyway.

    August 4, 2007 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  7. paul b, minneapolis, mn

    are you kidding?
    instead of limiting the islamic enemies to fringe groups, this guy would legitimize armed conflict for the entire muslim world.
    ignorant and INSANE!

    August 4, 2007 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  8. Thawfik

    A 100% certified nut

    August 4, 2007 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  9. Karan godwin-corey, falcon, colorado

    Amen, Tom. It's about time someone had the testicular fortitude to stand up and be willling to hit the radicals where it hurts. I would then bomb all of the major cities and not just "military" sites.

    August 4, 2007 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  10. Andrew Huffer, Virginia Beach, Virginia

    This is a perfect example of why the rest of the world hates the U.S. of A. Tancredo needs to hold his tongue, he just proved to me that he does not need to be president. Just the idea of something so cynical and not to mention coldblooded, amazes me. How can someone trying to run the US from the House possibly think this is a reasonable solution. If we damage mosques in battles the enemies we face there just use that as a rallying cry. Absolute lack of IQ on Mr. Tancredo's part. I don't think Bush would come up with something so pointless and potentially threatening to homeland security. As a US soldier myself, Cavalry Scout, this sort of thing is why I can't stand politicians. Pencil pushers who work 9-4 or so, think they can make claims to this and come up with, "amazing" ideas such as this soldiers are the first one's to feel it in this day and age. Thanks owe the world, the US, and the military who protects your bloodthirsty rear end, an apology. No better yet remove yourself from the '08 race...I personally don't want someone representing my country if his views are what he claims to say, rep. or dem. doesn't matter on this subject. You are held accountable for your words and actions...Good luck Tancredo, you'll need it from here on out.

    August 4, 2007 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  11. Forrest, Virginia

    Tancredo's comments are scary enough but what is worse as I've been reading through peoples' responses is there are a few others who agree with this type of insanity. Fortunately, Mr. Tancredo and those who agree with him are in the miniority.

    August 4, 2007 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  12. JW, Mad Heights, MI

    An interesting proposal, Tom.

    Personally, I'm not one to throw the entire idea out right away. On the surface, it does seem completely insane, but, as mentioned by others, you are dealing with completely insane individuals (terrorists). Perhaps this type of insanity might work. If not directly on the terrorists, but on all the muslims who protect the terrorists or supply the terrorists or support the terrorist.

    The bottom line is, as crazy as an idea as bombing Mecca is, I'm not seeing any alternate strategies presented to deter further terrorist attacks. Our intelligence organizations are doing a decnt job so far, but they can only keep up for so long. And I am appalled by the erosion of our civil liberties the Government uses in the fight. Don't they realize that the Constitution IS America?? And every right you weaken means the terrorists are winning by destroying America??

    So, as for the nuke Mecca idea, I think it might have been done with a press campaign that information is coming out that the terrorists are collecting parts to make nukes, followed by a ground explosion of a nuke in Mecca, followed by further "investigation" that "proves" alQueda was using Mecca as a lab to make nukes and something went horribly wrong.

    Mecca gets nuked and instead of us getting all the hatred, the Muslims finally turn against the terrorists.

    You just gotta think these things through, people.

    August 4, 2007 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  13. Ron, Asheville, NC

    Is this man nuts? And, of course, he's a Republican. Why stop with Mecca, huh? Why not just nuke the whole region and be done with it, huh? It's this kind of insane thinking that makes me glad I'm a Democrat.

    August 4, 2007 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  14. Wiz, Memphis, TN.

    WOW, don't know what to say about this guy! But.... ain't no one running yet I would vote for. The first one that looks like a Conservative Democrat gets my vote. I will never vote stright Republican or Democrat AGAIN!

    August 4, 2007 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  15. Robert, Chattanooga, Tennessee

    I agree...I'm not muslim and I could care less. If they attack our country, then in retaliation, we should launch a thermonuclear strike on Mecca and Medina and totally wipe those sites from the face of the earth...we should have let the Crusaders and the Knights Templars finish their work during the Crusades and totally wipe out all the muslims at that time and we wouldn't be having these problems now.

    August 4, 2007 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  16. Rob Nolan, Washington, NJ

    Look what's happened to our country.
    To our freedoms. We are now debating to abandon the principles for which we stand and countless have died to protect.
    We are afraid of our own shadows.
    Life will no longer be the same.
    They have already won.

    August 4, 2007 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  17. Anonymous, Singapore

    That's probably one of the stupidest thing to do!

    Bombin holy islamic sites are probably what these extremists are secretly wanting in the first place. They'd just use this as the Trump card for a whole new level of violence & terror.
    Even passive muslims, who are just minding their own business would most certainly jump onto the bandwagon, itching for war then.

    August 4, 2007 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  18. DJ, Dallas, TX

    He's got my vote!

    August 4, 2007 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  19. John X, Canada

    Is this guy totally insane? Blow up Muslim holy sites to show we mean business? America, get ahold of your people!!!!!!!

    August 4, 2007 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  20. H. D. Schmidt, Loma Linda, Ca., USA

    However, the better thing is for America to simply and plainly obey the orders in all things, given by the Founding Fathers at the very begginnig! America, with its ever more horrendous and inhumane war machinery, it is now the insult to God of all times and a stab through the very heart of Christianity. The more bellicose America gets, the more America douses the world with gasoline as it were, sort of arson like, where is little spark from the nowhere my light planet earth into the infermo of all times. This war is evil, so, a little more evil as Tancredo says, really does not matter. Any Democracy that claims such while acting like and Empire is like a car with handbrakes on. Even Dwight D. Eisenhower was in full agreement with this words said so long ago: "Overgrown military establishments are under any form of government inasuspicious to liberty and are to be regarded as particularly hostile to Republican liberty". By George Washington. These words will forever haunt America while it has decided the same road as previous Empires! Only worse in its materialistic pagan ambitions, while with no shame whatsover in demanding God to bless America. My personal opinion. If guns were the solution, planet earth, should by now, be heaven like! But it is evermore like hell! Yes, and while America's bridges are
    falling down!

    August 4, 2007 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  21. Steve Woods, Houston, Texas

    I couldn't agree with him more. He is absolutely correct, and I would hope that we would absolutely destroy the Islamic holy sites if there were an attack along the lines of a major nuclear detonation in this country by a terrorist organization. Remember, he's not talking about a response to a car bombing, he's talking about a nuclear weapon detonation in a U.S. city by a terrorist organization, or similar scale attack. What other course of action would there be? Economic sanctions? diplomacy? A couple of cruise missiles to the desert? Destroying the holy sites would be the only way to effectively respond to an attack on our country of this nature. And anyone who thinks otherwise isn't willing to face the truth.

    August 4, 2007 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  22. Saudi Arabia

    It's like saying, if one stupid member of family commits a mistake then his entire family, his home, his neibourhood, his country should be wiped off. What happened or where are the intellectual people of USA gone? save USA and bring peace on earth. Peace is never achieved with war and history and current events are proof of it.

    August 4, 2007 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  23. Jim, Waterville, Maine

    The suicide bombers do what they do because they want to be martyrs for Islam. Destroying the holy sites would martyr these sites, and bring down upon us the hatred of the vast majority of muslims who don't hate the U.S. already.

    Bin Laden unleashed 9/11 in a bid to foment a war between the West and Islam. Bush and Cheney have done their very best to give Osama what he wants. Bombing Mecca and Medina would remove any doubt in the minds of muslims that the U.S. is in fact engaged in a war on their faith, not a war on terrorism.

    This is what we get when people vote based on soundbites rather than analysis

    August 4, 2007 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  24. Sharon

    It's absolutely embarrassing to hear politicians talk like that. It is so shallow and has no essence whatsoever. What ever happened to diplomatic relationships? This to me is like going "an eye for an eye". What does that say about this country? Oh-let's bomb Mecca...... and this and that. It's "tit-for-tat". Such childish thoughts.


    August 4, 2007 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  25. Will Chen, Dallas TX

    I agree this must be an option if Moslem governments make no effort to control this militant religion it will continue to have no regard for innocent human life. How can one stop a religion that preaches death as a path to paradise?

    August 4, 2007 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
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