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. Rob Guzman, Oakland, Ca

    Vote Republican and get World War 3. Hooray!

    August 3, 2007 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  2. Bill Johnson, San Diego Ca.

    If I weren't voting for Guiliani this guy would get my vote. Sounds like a great idea to me.

    August 3, 2007 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  3. Wayne H. San Francisco, CA

    If one considers that the mindset that is representative of the islamofascists emanates from the most reactionary quarters of Islam–wahhabism, sufism, etc., one also finds that these points of view originated, and continue to be financially supported by, Saudi Arabia. This is not to suggest that as our ally the Saudi government fosters these elements, but these movements continue to be funded and supported in large part by Saudi citizens through private financing. It is horrific to consider that we could be brought to such barbarity, but an attack using WMD's upon our citizens by zealots whose movements and financial support could be traced back to Saudi Arabia would have Americans calling for this sort of retribution anyway, would it not?

    August 3, 2007 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  4. Dereck, Chicago IL

    First off do not take my comments to indicate that I agree with Tancredo.
    CNNs article here is disgracefully ambiguous as to what he actually intended.
    Whereas the article’s title and first paragraph make it seem as if Tancredo suggests “attacking holy sites first,” as in BEFORE any large attack on the US, his quoted statements seem to indicate that he means ‘merely’ to make it clear that holy sites would be a first target of RETALIATION after an attack. I do not know which Tancredo actually intends, but if it is the second connotation, it is absolutely pathetic reporting by CNN for them to lead with a title that gives such an opposite impression by employing such an ambiguous use of the word “first.” For those who disagree with this second interpretation, how would this policy be any different than the US or Soviet policy of mutually assured destruction? For those who agree with it, how does announcing to radical fanatics intent on the destruction of the US, that any action of theirs will be met by a response that would surely alienate or enrage the entirety of Islam and very likely precipitate INCREASED attacks against the US serve as a reasonable deterrent? What the policy provides for is that any insane fanatic can then determine the nature of the relationship between the west and Islam.

    August 3, 2007 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  5. Sebastian, Atlanta, GA

    Now that's just stupid and won't, in fact, serve as a deterrent. All of you who want to fight in Christiany vs. Islam: The Final Conflict, please move to a neutral location (I suggest the Siberian permafrost), arm yourselves and butcher each other to your hearts content. The rest of us reasonable humans will move on, and eventually pave over your bones to build Disney Siberia.

    August 3, 2007 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  6. Anonymous, Boothwyn, PA

    Is he on dope or extremely desperate? what a dangeorus moron!

    August 3, 2007 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  7. Dave, Sierra Vista, Arizona

    How totally stupid. The terrorists whom Tancredo is worried about are exactly the same fanatics that have already demonstrated they are totally willing to create an incident simply to turn all Muslims into extremists. How does a fool like that ever get elected? I thought Arizona was the only state that could grow that kind of politician.

    August 3, 2007 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  8. dan, wilmington DE

    This man is out of his mind. Does he know how many innocent women and children would die.

    August 3, 2007 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  9. m T x Madison, WI

    Hey Tom, you know what else would cause an economic collapse? China calling in a tiny fraction of the loans given to the U.S. war machine. Is there a single politician in D.C. who has an educated mind that doesn't just spew talking points and vile rhetoric? Is there a politician who realizes or even cares that we have poisoned those countries for the next several thousand years AND our own troops with Depleted Uranium?

    August 3, 2007 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  10. Geoff, Brooklyn, NY

    Far more terrifying than Tancredo's comment–which is terrifying–is the number of people on this board and around the nation who agree with it. There is a disturbingly widespread belief in this country that all Muslims are terrorists, that all Muslims–"they" as folks generally phrase it–supported 9/11. Of course this is ridiculous, and bombing Mecca would kill thousands of innocents, including Muslims from all over the world, and even from the United States. Some of the people killed could easily be someone you work with, or someone from whom you buy your coffee in the morning–folks who are patriotic Americans but, nonetheless, Muslims. Oh and, incidentally, bombing Mecca and Medina would almost certainly result in a collapse in the global economy and the end of life on earth as we know it now, if you care.

    August 3, 2007 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  11. Mike. Atlanta, Georgia

    I agree with Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo’s assertion that the U.S. must be able to attack holy sites and/or any other target that matters most to terrorists as a way of life. They attack our way of life. They attacked the American people. The United States must be able to make Muslims, or any other group, think twice about attacking U.S. interests. Having been deployed in Iraq for 30 months straight, the U.S. military is fighting with one arm tied behind their backs, because of bad foreign policy and politics. The current foreign policy and tactics of the U.S. is a failure in Iraq and against terrorism in general, period. Enough politicking. More action is needed that not only protects the integrity of our Constitution and way of life, but the future of our children and the rest of the world. As long as the American government is seen as weak in responses to catastrophes against the U.S., the more attacks will be given birth.

    August 3, 2007 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  12. Shaun Clute, Schenectady NY


    August 3, 2007 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  13. John, Toronto, Ontario

    I assume this means the next time some nut case kills an abortion doctor that the good representative will support blowing up churches. Got to get rid of those "bad apples".

    August 3, 2007 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  14. Roger, NYC, NY

    Tancredo's policy would also ensure that planning any such attack is almost impossible, as fellow Muslims would give up their compatriots to prevent such retribution

    August 3, 2007 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  15. Avi, Atlanta, GA

    News flash: If the US were to attack Muslim holy sites, any and all Muslim support for the US would collapse (and therefore deny it basing rights across the world, crippling our military) and Al Qaeda propaganda about the US declaring a War on Islam would gain enormous credibilty. Tancredo is calling for exactly the kind of holy war Al Qaeda is... the US should be focused on preventing terror and saving lives, not declaring war on an entire religion.

    What an inept and hideous man- what's next, threatening to bomb orphanages of hostile countries as a "deterrence measure"?

    August 3, 2007 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  16. Andrea, Washington DC

    There are many innocent and pious Muslims that pray in Mosques...people who know that terrorism is wrong. People who call themselves Muslims and go out terrorizing the world are not Muslims at all. Why would anyone ever want to bomb a place for worshipping God? Regardless of whether or not it's FIRST or in RETALIATION? True, there may be bad people inside, but what about the good ones? If we bomb a house of God to show the small but highly publicized section of militant Islam that 'we mean business', that does not make sense – it will only increase negative feelings about the west among NORMAL Muslims (including American Muslims). U.S. should be showing NORMAL Muslims that we are not against them, we are just against terrorism. It is an ignorant form of retaliation. Hate breeds hate...we should give chance to the new generation to get along rather than to set up a breeding ground for war. People learn hate from others, they are not born with it.

    August 3, 2007 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  17. Steve, Andover MN

    I applaud Tancredo for blazing a trail in the new area of "special needs politics", although I am surprised that this seems to be a cause championed mostly by Republicans who are not generally known for inclusiveness.

    I think it's great that the mentally retarded can now find good jobs such as Respresentative of the US Congress and even President.

    However, I'm a little concerned that this comment may be taken completely out of context by an already enraged Muslim world, as a threat of basically what amounts to retaliatory terrorism. I thought most people agreed that terrorism was NOT a legitimate way to acheive any end?

    I also think that, as progressive as it is to be giving mentally retarded people jobs, they should be made to wear a coloured badge, or a bright yellow helmet or something that would allow them to be easily identified as mentally deficient by onlookers both here and abroad.

    Alternatively we could give them jobs upon which everybody else's security, liberty and prosperity do not depend.

    August 3, 2007 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  18. KN

    The fact that these idiots are bombing their own mosques already proves that this war on terror is not about religion. These are criminals, pure ans imple, and must be dealt with as such. They are prostituting religion to create a false front in order to justify their crimes.

    August 3, 2007 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  19. Tugba, Sacramento, CA

    This guy is trying to be the next president of our country? Every Muslim is not a terrorist. Why would you punish an entire group of people for the radical ideals of a few? He needs to educate himself properly instead of resorting to bombing right away. This is what breeds prejudices, hate and racism.

    August 3, 2007 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  20. Michael E Blackmore, St. Cloud, FL

    Outstanding; it is about time somebody had the courage to stand up and suggest something that the silent majority would support! Before Vietnam, wars were fought by the military; not by the media and ignorant government officials. What are those currently opposed to this war going to say when it truly reaches our shores and endangers THEIR lives?

    August 3, 2007 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  21. rgerbick, philadelphia, pa

    i love his logic. its the same one used by the terrorists themselves – threaten and/or kill the innocent for the crimes of the few, who of course wont pay and usually never do. but that doesnt matter because the cause is "just". and if you cant beat 'em, join 'em because lowering ourselves to the terrorists level has worked great so far.

    also glad to see ol' tom is doing his best to provide new recruiting material for al qaeda, as if bushco's invasion of iraq hasnt done enough already. nice job genius!

    August 3, 2007 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  22. Rich, Northampton, MA

    Why isn't this guy running for President? Maybe he just wants to be the headline on the "Daily Show."

    August 3, 2007 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  23. Disappointed, Blythville, AR

    Im highly disappointed that his comments were even aired on this outlet, people like him have to understand that there are many muslims that dont condone terrorism, and an act like that would affect them also. Its illogical to make innocent people pay for others crimes.

    August 3, 2007 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  24. Charles Martel, Sterling, Virginia

    Tancredo's comments are spot on! The best time to hit these sites would be when they are full of "worshippers."

    Tancredo will get my vote!

    August 3, 2007 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  25. Steve, Canandaigua, New York

    Tancredo can now take credit for

    the next several tragedies and murders of American citizens

    in response to his unspeakably irresponsible and vile, fatal rhetoric.

    Another REPUBLICAN taunting for terror, the tease for and ticket to perpetual insanity.

    August 3, 2007 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
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