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. John Morten, St. Louis MO

    Tancredo is insane. Genuinely certifiable. Anyone running against him in '08 should give serious thought to using his mental health as a campaign issue. And if treason is defined as "aid and comfort" we should probably consider bringing him up on those charges, since comments like these are perhaps a bigger propaganda bonanza for al-Qaeda, the Taliban, etc. than the Morgenthau Plan was for the Nazis.

    August 4, 2007 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  2. Oswald Klunk

    He's absolutely correct. Western governments should have already quietly made it quite clear within diplomatic circles that any attack on high profile landmarks like the White House, the British Parliament, St Peter's, Versailles, etc will bring a swift response this time.

    August 4, 2007 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  3. Willi M. Fort Mill SC

    Islamic terrorists set the Standards on 9/11 Farrukh ,Sir

    August 4, 2007 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  4. Mike, Myrtle Beach, SC

    Why are so many people surprised by this? War is the only political platform the republicans have.

    August 4, 2007 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  5. Andy

    If I knew someone down the street from me was going to attack a country I hated I might let it happen. I would think differently if it was clear to me that any attack would lead to my country being attacked as a result.

    August 4, 2007 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  6. Riaz, Jersey City, NJ

    Assume, there is an Earthquake and Mecca destroyed, do you think, that is the end of terrorism? Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Pakistan are also fighting with these Terrorists. Whether there is Mecca or not, still 1+ billion people will be praying five times facing the direction of Mecca. You can flush Quran in the toilet or burn, but still Islam is the fastest growing religion and its not because of these terrorists. If there is another Columbine school or Virginia Tech happens in America, should we destroy their properties and execute their family members? Eye for eye am I right? On the contrary, what did Amish People do to their killer's family in PA? They brought tears in our eyes and opened our eyes in those difficult times!!! Peace!!!

    August 4, 2007 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  7. Anne, Corpus Christi, TX

    Since CNN saw fit to remove my comments, here they are again:

    "Oh, *great* idea! Let's destroy a **religious** center to get back at the extremists' bombing of a **financial* center. I guess we Americans really do worship money. Let's polarize the all the moderate Muslims so that the ENTIRE Islamic world will hate us. What do you thing they would do then? What do you think would be THEIR next target? Can we think things through before we say stuff like this? There is no "one" deterrent to terrorism but destroying Mecca would be "one" catalyst for a new era of warfare. ESPECIALLY since many AMERICANS are Muslims! Are you going to destroy a place that is sacred to AMERICANS? Did you even consider the American Muslims before you said something like this? How are they supposed to feel?" In addition, Representative Tancredo, all of us born in the country are Americans, regardless of our religious beliefs (mine are Christian). Set religiosity aside, places like Mecca and Medina are historical landmarks. You shame those of us who would never dream of harming another religions' sacred sites. I am glad that I no longer live in Colorado. We love you anyway, Sir, even if you spout hatred.

    August 4, 2007 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |

    I agree with the Congressman.
    If this is a contest of wills, perhaps we had better get with the program.

    If those people can put a Fatwa on Salman Rushdie, they can put one on you and me, for speaking our minds in a free nation.

    I think I will vote for Tancredo for President, since Lou Dobbs is not running.

    August 4, 2007 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  9. Alicia, Silver Spring, Maryland

    That's like someone saying we should bomb vatican city if attacks on abortion clinics continue. Perhaps Mr. Tancredo should take under consideration that the pilgramige to Mecca is all about being in harmony with the rest of humanity. Oh, and essentially everyone there is a civilian.

    August 4, 2007 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  10. USA

    Oh you nutcase. You must be crazy. This is the House of God, Mecca, Kaaba. Don't even imagine in your dreams. You definitely need some help. This could be the end of the world if you ever imagine of doing evil such as these. Vehicles in America is running because of Saudi Arabia. Don't you want people in America to drive their cars instead ride on bicycles. huhhhhh. You know what 1.6 billions in the world are laughing at your comments.

    August 4, 2007 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  11. Miles, New York City

    Great Idea! Yeah, that's going to stop them from hating the USA!!!

    August 4, 2007 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    Finally we have a politician who understands what the terrorists have known for years... it's us or them.

    August 4, 2007 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  13. mike carty cambridge ma

    This is one of the most irresponsible and inflammatory statements that I have heard a politician make. That a public figure can make such a statement speaks to a level of ignorance that borders on recklessness and incitement that is unforgiveable and requires a statement of apology. I hope other public figures willl renounce this remark. THe revered and holy sites of a particular faith are not the property of the radical and fundamentalist fringes of that faith. Should we attack Jerusalem considered holy by 3 faiths? Holy sites are revered by moderates as well. TO attack a holy site is to attack the faith and play into the hands of the terrorists who will undoubetedly use this for anti western and antiamerican propaganda to inflame passions and accuse the west of a modern day crusade. Moreover, how does this solve anything?. We ought to be supporting moderates of islamic and other faiths and not undermining them with type of illconsidered rhetoric.

    August 4, 2007 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  14. Hillary C. Chappaqua, New York

    Sharia law will prevail if I have anything do say about it.

    August 4, 2007 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  15. Mel, Ames IA

    Looks like Ron Paul just got another few hundred votes for the Iowa Straw Poll.

    Good going there Tank, keep tooting the neocon bullhorn.

    August 4, 2007 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  16. Alan, Omaha, NE

    I'm a Democrat. I love this country and I support our military. On the face of it, Rep. Tancredo's suggestion may, in fact, be callously reprehensible but I don't find his suggested targets totally off bounds. Depending on the nature of a terrorist attack, say... a nuclear weapon, biological weapon or similar device, I would whole heartedly embrace an unfettered response regardless where either site is located. Thinking back to those gut wrenching events and my personal feelings on 9/11... I would have nuked both of those sites into permanent oblivion in a heartbeat. Islam must rein in and purge itself of their cancer or Islam must face the prospect of paying a very dear price for its failure to find, track down and neutralize those fanatics who threaten the lives of the innocents who die by their hands... just like the innocent who died for no rational reason on 9/11. Spain, England and the rest of the world can respond as they see fit; as for the USA, we must keep all options on the table and the prospect of retribution in their minds.

    August 4, 2007 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  17. Willi M. Fort Mill SC

    Miles, they hate us anyway, simply because we're Christians.
    They will cut your Childrens Heads off if don't stop them now.

    August 4, 2007 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  18. Oryza, Chicago, IL

    Aaaah, luckily Mr. Tancredo is not going to win the premier otherwise ... can't imagine having a president who does not even know geography. Mecca and Medina are located in one of our allies'!

    A more civilized, cultured and well-educated candidate, pleasssseee!

    August 4, 2007 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  19. john esley,atlanta,GA

    Ignorant people like him will be the reason if we get hit again!!

    August 4, 2007 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  20. Tom Jackson, Stamford, CT

    The idea is obsurd and repugnant, plus it would never work. I think he's just saying this as a means to get moderate muslims to finally stand up and take back their religion. In his opinion, they would do this if they felt their religion was threatened by extremists. As a whole, muslims don't do enough to reign in terrorists and it ends up as a defacto means of supporting them.

    August 4, 2007 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  21. Bob Ladder, New York City

    It seems candidates have the notion that whoever is more radical is going to get the votes. Let's elect the most extreme candidate!

    August 4, 2007 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  22. stephen chau, san diego, ca

    everybody who agrees with this man fails to realize that mecca is in saudi arabia.
    saudia arabia is an "ally" of the united states of america.
    try thinking of more creative, less idiotic ideas than bombing some of the only support the united states has in the middle east.
    -gotta love middle america

    August 4, 2007 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  23. sonya, fortmyers florida

    is Tancredo seriously trying to start world war 3?

    August 4, 2007 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  24. Seth Hill

    I agree with most people in this forum that Tancredo's proposal is absurd. However, I want people to propose an alternative which would protect us from Muslim extremists. Not negative whining like "this will earn us even more hatred," but a positive suggestion like "Do this, do that, etc." I wish I had some positive ideas.

    August 4, 2007 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  25. Brian, Sacramento, CA

    Such an act would be absolutely guaranteed to turn all the Muslims in the world into the terrorists that Tancredo is convinced they already are.

    Osama bin Laden's stated purpose with the 9/11 attacks was to provoke the US into a war in the Middle East that would turn moderate Muslims against us. Thanks to Bush's stupidity, the plan has succeeded beyond bin Laden's wildest dreams.

    Now Tancredo wants to escalate. If we did this, then the entire world would unite to wipe us out, and WE WOULD DESERVE IT.

    Thank the gods that Tancredo has zero chance of ever becoming President. But I fear that, deep down, Dick Cheney might agree with him.

    August 4, 2007 05:47 pm at 5:47 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