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)


    August 3, 2007 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  2. tpaul malvern, pa

    the way to really retalliate would be to stop using their oil, the source of terrorists power and financing. oh, but that will take maturity, sacrifice, vision, and genuine courage. sadly all those commodities are completely lacking in todays united states as demonstrated by the childish tancredo and his supporters that are found in this comment thread.

    August 3, 2007 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  3. magikent

    I think this is a disgusting show of hypocrisy.

    To read more about the 2008 Presidential Candidates and their stances on religion, read the "Presidential Faith Watch" at The Great Realization dot com.

    August 3, 2007 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  4. B. Black, Houston Texas

    Finally....someone who understands the mentality and the true nature of the threat we face as Americans. This, along with other drastic measures, should be implemented in order to make these people understand that we mean business!

    August 3, 2007 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  5. John McKenna Basking Ridge, NJ

    Isn't it about time we stop ruining our economy by spending untold billions in trying to stop terrorists the politically correct way? Isn't it about time that we stop living in fear of terrorists?
    Nothing the so-called "Islam experts" have ever professed or suggested has worked during this age of terrorist activity. Why not hold ALL Muslim people responsible for not "cleaning up their own house"? Why not "threaten" to retaliate against the religion if the terrorists strike us again?
    I for one like Tancredos moxie.

    August 3, 2007 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  6. Leanna, Lone Tree, Colorado

    I'm officially moving, I can't believe a representative from my state would say such things. Just goes to show how much of an "ugly american" someone can be. It's just sad that such a person would be representing the US.

    August 3, 2007 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  7. scott kuykendall, san antonio, texas

    Is this idiot for real or is this his idea of a sad joke? Apparently the precedent for this type of incredible ignorance has already been established by the Bush administration's penchant for achieving new lows on an almost daily basis so this clown probably feels justified. The Republican party has sank to depths so low it would have been unthinable just a decade ago. Are there any persons capable of intelligent leadership anywhere in this country? Apparently not – and this goes for the Democrats as well.

    August 3, 2007 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  8. Doug Sprei, Reston VA

    Tancredo's comments are irresponsible and illogical. Blowing up sites sacred to the Muslim world would be akin to destroying the Vatican or the Wailing Wall, and would be the opposite of a deterrent to terrorism. Such faulty judgment shows that Tancredo does not deserve to be recognized or funded as a candidate for the Presidency.

    August 3, 2007 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  9. Jennifer, Prattville, AL

    That will only turn ALL Muslims against us! You have to go after the people doing the terrorizing, not all of the believers in Allah. You insult a whole religion when you attack the holy sites.

    August 3, 2007 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  10. Nate, Chicago, IL

    Practically speaking–setting aside moral and political concerns–a threat of this sort might be an effective deterrent in the short-term. Strategically, though, what are your options if you do bomb Mecca and Medina? What deterrent would exist along that continuum? A handful of radicals could get their hands on a Russian nuke, set it off in DC, we would retaliate against Mecca and Medina and unite the Muslim world against the West in a multi-generational conflict. Hmm...let's not do that.

    August 3, 2007 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  11. Austin Danger Powers

    Whoopty doo! What does it all mean Basil?

    August 3, 2007 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  12. Zack Highstreet Allston, MA

    Tom Tancredo understands that the only thing important and worth protecting in the eyes of jihais is the pair of Islamic Holy sites.

    When facing a stateless, amoral network of sociopathic killers it's hard to find something that would make them vulnerable. Mecca is just that. It's a piece of real estate that doesn't shift, change or move. It's the one thing that all muslims need to perform two of the five pillars of Islam ( hajj and salat ) and no muslim would want to be responsible for its occupation by unclean infidels or its destruction. Nothing else is sacred to jihadis that we can use in way similar to the former 'mutual assurred destruction' policy because of sectarian divisions in the Islamic world. Mecca is.

    Tancredo's statements indicate a lucidity and understanding of the nature of our enemy and his beliefs. It's actually the opposite of 'insanity' as some commenters write. Holding Mecca hostage is the one thing that may force believers in the worldwide jihadi movement to stop and think for a moment instead of killing more women, children and civilian men.

    August 3, 2007 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  13. Pat Costello, Appleton, WI

    Finally, an honest answer. As barbaric as this response would be, it is time that the extremists understand that we are not going to fight them with rules of engagement nor political boundaries.

    WWII was not won because we fought a politically correct war. We incinerated civilians along with military targets.

    They want jihad, so I give them their wish, on our terms, no less. We must be ruthless. All religious fanatics must stopped. Jew, Christian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu.

    No American citizen or warrior should die by an act of cowardice, which is what these muslim extremists are doing.

    Congratulations Tom Tancredo for being honest and having courage. I cannot say this about many politicians today.


    August 3, 2007 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  14. Jill Kovacs

    What a lunatic. Would we bomb Jerusalem or The Vatican if some nutjob killed an abortion provider in the name of Jesus? OK, then. Hopefully most Americans see Tancredo as the crazy fool he is.

    August 3, 2007 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  15. John, Ann Arbor, Michigan

    We are all subject to the consequences of our actions. They've been given fair warning.

    August 3, 2007 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  16. Jack

    Sounds good to me, I have no problem with it, he's actually right, if they do another attack on us like 9/11 again, hit them twice as hard.

    August 3, 2007 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  17. Ralph Egleston, Lee's Summit, MO

    I concur. The only effective deterrent to another attack is to guarantee that it will result in the destruction of something the loss of which the enemy will not risk.

    August 3, 2007 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  18. Steve, Boulder, CO

    This in no way represents the beliefs of Coloradoans. This man is promoting a seriously flawed argument that is both highly inappropriate and counter-American.

    Quite possibly one of the most offensive statements he has ever made.

    August 3, 2007 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  19. Willy Beano

    What is wrong with keeping this option on the table? The sure-fire way to relegate the Islamic faith to its rightful second-class position is to threaten sacred sites and populations sympathetic to terrorist thinking. It's really sorry to see the recent sway of public opinion go in the direction of one-world, peace be with you, internationalist mentality. These are people who cannot be reasoned with. These are people who are in the midst of an attempt to set the world back 3000 years. When pubs in the UK are forced to ban booze in 30 years because of a Muslim immigrant influx, you all will take a serious look back on the years after 9/11 and wonder why you didn't take a harder line.

    August 3, 2007 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  20. Knight Templar, Edinburgh, Scotland

    This guy is actually seeing the world the way it is. When is everyone going to wake up and realize that the world is not a happy little place where these terrorists are really "just friends that we haven't met yet".

    They are out to kill us, all of us, and we need to stop trying to play by the rules, because they are not.

    I think this sort of thinking (if not this exact action) is what we need to put an end to this fight. We need to take the war to them and hit them where it really hurts. If that means toppling the foundations of their crazy religion then so be it.

    August 3, 2007 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  21. R Matthews, Ontario, canada

    Tancredo – What a jerk! because a lunatic fringe is using the guise of religion to attack the west we target every muslim by bombing their holy sites. Islam, like Christianity, Judaism, Buddism is one of the conerstone religions on which civilization is founded and we should treat all with the utmost respect. With politicians like these there's no wonder the US is seeen as out of touch and misguided. For heaven's saje don't elect this guy.

    August 3, 2007 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  22. G. Bohmfalk Douglas,AZ

    You go Tom,
    Sometimes you have to speak to your enemies in a language they understand. Your "Everyman" point of view has more support than most people think.

    August 3, 2007 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  23. JW,

    While such a statement may be a little crazy, no one here seems to have a valid idea as to what should be done. Talking doesn't seem to work, war doesn't work. What's left?
    Get out of the middle east, become self sufficient in oil use, and spend no money in any middle east country. If the countries in the middle east realize the democratic countries in the world will not trade with them, then maybe they will clear it up themselves, but we all know that won't happen as it would mean businesses wouldn't make as much profit, prices would go up and the consumers who say Tancredo is nuts will be the first to complain prices are too high and demand we trade with the middle east.

    August 3, 2007 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    I think he's been watching too many episodes of "24".

    August 3, 2007 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  25. j

    Politicians like Tancredo dont think logically and dont deserve to serve the people. They forget that Mecca is a place of worship where people come to worship. Innocent people should not be attacked for what extremists do.

    August 3, 2007 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
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