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. Jonathan Smythe, Vail Colorado

    You go go, Tom! But don't stop there. I'd be taking out full page ads in all the major newspapers in Syria, Iran and other terrorist supporting countries, and that ad would say, "Let your people know, the United States if America is here to be a peaceful international partner. However, any attack on the United States of America, its territories or its allies, will be dealt with a massive military response against Tehran and Damascus, regardless by whom the United States of America, its territories or its allies is attacked!"

    August 4, 2007 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  2. John Toronto, Canada

    He's wrong about bombing holy sites, but he has started a useful discussion about what would be a deterrant for stopping terrorists? What threat exists that would stop a lunatic group of Muslims from getting and detonating a nuclear weapon in a western city?

    August 4, 2007 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  3. Steve, Overland Park, KS

    Sounds like a good idea to me!

    August 4, 2007 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  4. Brian, DC


    Makes me wanna hollah!

    August 4, 2007 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  5. Hamid, Cheyenne WY

    As a Muslim and an American (born and raised) I am pleased to see so many of my fellow citizens as outraged as I am by Rep. Tancredo's statements. If anyone honestly believes that striking Mecca and Medina would any way deter these murderous lunatics from attacking America, consider Islam teaches that God the murder of one is the equivalent of murdering all of humanity such that deterrence from God is not enough. Instead, bombing the holy cities would do exactly what so many of you have pointed out–put the entire Islamic world of 1.2 billion believers at odds with the United States. While Representative Tancredo's visceral reaction might provoke some sympathy among the fringe elements in this county, no one should forget that hate begets only more hate.

    August 4, 2007 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  6. Mary, Saline, Michigan

    Chris, Knoxville

    "Republican's are stupid".

    How about "Republicans are stupid" – no apostrophe.

    Who's the stupid one here?

    August 4, 2007 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  7. Steven Chandler, Arizona

    Finally .... someone in politics with some 'cajones'to tell it like it is. If we are attacked by any terrorist faction from any Muslim country, we should immediately destroy one of their sacred sites. Their hatred and their actions are fueled by religious fervor and fundamentalist religious zealots who will be stopped only when their own 'religions' are directly attacked. These vermin should be eliminated at their source. Kudos to Tom Tancredo.

    August 4, 2007 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  8. Alejandro, Brookfield, IL

    These types of comments are reprehensible and shows an intolerance and inability to fully understand how the worl has changed. Attacking Holy sites will not deter anyone from committing terrorist attacks. If anything, it will create more violence. One Bush is enough.

    August 4, 2007 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  9. Bill McGrath, Chandler, AZ

    The height of insanity! What arrogance! Attack religious sites that are revered by a billion people because a small handful are extremists? Let's turn the rest of the Muslim world against us. Such a tactic would have exactly the opposite effect than that envisioned by Tancredo: we'd be giving the rest of the world another reason to hate us. Is this any different than Iran bombing the Vatican? Or Westminster Cathedral? Maybe it's time that Americans (I am one!) recognize that our foreign policies are fueling terrorism. Our invasion of Iraq has virtually guaranteed a long line of volunteers at the terrorist training camps. Every atrocity, no matter how infrequent, like the rape and burning of that Iraqi girl, lends credibility to the claims of the terrorist leaders. Our only hope to stem the rise of terrorism is to come to grips with its root causes, and take steps to alleviate the anger that drives it. Everything else just fuels the fires.

    August 4, 2007 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  10. Manda, Southern NJ

    I always thought he was crazy. Now he's given me proof.

    August 4, 2007 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  11. Mark, Louisville Ky

    Absolutely correct, radical muslims have made this world one giant killing field and it's to the point where we need to start taking drastic measures. When you're dealing with individuals who live in the sewer, sometimes you need to get into the gutter. At the same time, it's a double edged sword, because most muslims are decent people but they need to stand up and denounce these attacks! After all, it is not Christians or people of other faiths that are responsible for these deadly and horrible suicide attacks!!

    For those who are quick to point out that the US is kiling people in the Iraq War, civilians do die during wars. Over 60 million people died during WW2 and a good share of those were civilians. Fighting tyranny is not easy, for anyone.

    However we, as a country, do not engage in 'Total War' anymore, the US Military has gone to great lengths to insure that civilians are safe!

    August 4, 2007 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  12. Ezra

    I agree with Mr. Tancredo. There are no rules to war. Such a threat, if real, is a significant incentive for "moderate" (if such a thing exists) Muslims to place pressure on the extremists. That is where the battle lay.

    August 4, 2007 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  13. Elton James, Cork Creek, NY

    I'm 100% liberal and I have never voted for a Republican in my life. Yet this idea is exactly right in my opinion. I don't respect religious garbage and I don't know why we have not already bombed those sites.

    August 4, 2007 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  14. Ailim, Buffalo, NY

    We shouldn't be threatending to bomb anyone period. It's like playground banter with these people: My fortress is bigger than yours. I'm better than you. The people who run this country should be acting like adults not babies. And might I add: racist.

    August 4, 2007 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  15. Straw Poll Voter

    If I didn't share the planet with all the pro-nuclear warhawks on this board, I would hope they get their wish just so they could completely comprehend their own stupidity. But I do.

    Thank God it's not up to them, or we would all be dying of radioactive fallout. Is that the fate you all want? Because that's what you're trying to push on everyone else.

    If you want a fight so bad, put down your mouse, pick up a gun, and head on out to war. Go fight like a man. Or are you such cowards that you'll have someone else nuke the world on your behalf? You sound like cowards to me.

    Tom, you're wrong, and the best deterrent is to get people like you out of office.

    Proud Parent, USAF

    August 4, 2007 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  16. Kamal, Deer Park, New York

    I am amazed Mr. Tancredo reached a point where he is a presidential candidate. What happened to America and its ideals and laws. This arrogant Tancredo should be booked to a mental institution as soon as possible. He needs to understand that muslims civilized humans and are also part of the American demography.

    August 4, 2007 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  17. John, Manchester, NH

    Anyone who recklessly takes out innocent lives is an idiot and can only expect extreme payback. If this ever happened, our country (The U.S.A.) would be a much more dangerous place to live!

    When will people learn it's safer to make friends instead of be the bully.

    August 4, 2007 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |


    August 4, 2007 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  19. Brace, Houston Texas

    Seems pretty practical to me. Surely if there's something to deter an extremist Muslim from launching another attack like 9/11, it is the bombing of their most revered sites? We have the bombs to do it without causing too many casualties. I say thumbs up to this idea. Hit them where it hurts and show them we mean business. They want to screw with us, they'll regret it.

    Of course, this also means that if anyone wants to attack a Muslim holy site, they just have to stage an attack against the U.S. and make it look like extremist Muslims did it, forcing America's hand to do what they want (attack those sites). Gotta be sure about who did the attacking before we retaliate as such.

    August 4, 2007 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  20. nate

    how did this guy become a congressman,? i've never heard something so outragious and ignorant. being a muslim i find it appauling, does'nt he realize if such thing would happend, it would only make things worse?? I would like too see the immediate removal of Tom Tancredo from office.

    August 4, 2007 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  21. Curt Revson, Iowa City, Iowa

    Absolutely stupid and ridiculous – Tancredo needs to read Ron Paul's book "A Foreign Policy of Freedom"

    August 4, 2007 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  22. Jordan Steckloff, Farmington Hills, Michigan

    This is a bad idea, because it is such a strong message. Even if we were attacked again, striking suck holy sites would only further strengthen the Extremists' resolve against the USA, and perhaps spark a violent holy war. Therefore, bombing Mecca wouldn't be in our interests. therefore is it not a credible threat, and thus an ineffective deterrent.

    August 4, 2007 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  23. Chris Phillips

    Tancredo for President

    August 4, 2007 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  24. David H. Grisham

    This is not a crazy idea. It would result in minimal loss of life if done with surgical strikes and it would have maximum deterrent effect. Since we value human life ( abortion notwithstanding) that is what they seek to hold hostage by their campaigns of terror, human lives. We should hold their holy sites hostage since that is what they value. Call it a jihadist version of Mutually Assured Destruction. It is MAD but not crazy.

    August 4, 2007 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  25. Dave K, Fredericton, NB, Canada

    Another case of lumping all Muslims as radicals.
    I suppose that had he been around in the 70's and 80's, he would have advocated nuking Rome and the Vatican the next time the IRA blew up a shopping mall in England?

    August 4, 2007 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
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