by John Hawkins | July 25, 2005 3:44 pm
Tom Tancredo recently suggested bombing Mecca as a possible reaction to a nuclear attack on the United States:
“Campbell: Worst case scenario, if they do have these nukes inside the borders and they were to use something like that — what would our response be?
Tancredo: What would be the response? You know, there are things that you could threaten to do before something like that happens and then you may have to do afterwards that are quite draconian.
Campbell: Such as…
Tancredo: Well, what if you said something like — if this happens in the United States, and we determine that it is the result of extremist, fundamentalist Muslims, um, you know, you could take out their holy sites . . .
Campbell: You’re talking about bombing Mecca.
Tancredo: Yeah. What if you said — what if you said that we recognize that this is the ultimate threat to the United States — therefore this is the ultimate threat, this is the ultimate response.
I mean, I don’t know, I’m just throwing out there some ideas because it seems to me . . . at that point in time you would be talking about taking the most draconian measures you could possibly imagine and because other than that all you could do is once again tighten up internally.”
Since then, Tancredo has had ample opportunity to clarify, to change course, to apologize, but instead the Congressman has chosen to stick to his guns and portray his critics as being driven by political correctness.
What Tom Tancredo inexplicably doesn’t seem to get is that it’s not about political correctness or whether people are offended, it’s about strategy.
Since the war on terrorism began, George Bush has made it clear that we’re not at war with Islam, we’re at war with terrorists and the rogue regimes that support them.
Admittedly, at times, that strategy has been grating to those of us who take the war on terror seriously. On the one hand, we have Bush saying “Islam is a religion of peace” and on the other hand we have terrorists talking about Jihad and screaming Allah Akbar while they decapitate innocent hostages.
On the other hand, Bush’s strategy has paid a lot of dividends. We crushed the Taliban and Saddam. The governments of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan have partnered with us against Al-Qaeda. We’ve seen Syria pull out of Lebanon, free elections in Lebanon, Libya has given up WMDS, and most (but not all) Muslim regimes across the globe have cracked down on terrorism.
Now is that enough? No, we want more help fighting terrorism and extremism from Muslim regimes, more moderate Muslims to speak out, and we want to see Democracy continue to spread through the Muslim world. None of this is happening as fast as we’d like — the wheels of history always turn slowly — but if you compare the world on 9/10/2001 to the world today, you’ll see that we have made enormous progress.
Which is where Tom Tancredo comes in.
There are two problems with Tom Tancredo’s idea of responding to an nuclear attack on the US. The first is that it shifts the ground we’ve been fighting on from a war on terrorism, to a war on Islam.
Put another way, if the terrorists believe it’s plausible that we’ll destroy Mecca if they nuke the US, all of the other Muslims in the world are also likely to believe it & hold it against us.
How would you feel if you were a terrorist-hating Muslim living in Saudi Arabia and heard that the United States was planning to nuke your home country if the terrorists nuked them first? Do you think the Iraqi and Afghan soldiers fighting side by side with our troops would feel the same way about us if they knew we were going to destroy Mecca? How about Egyptians who are sympathetic to the United States? Oh wait, we don’t have to wonder how they feel because The Big Pharoh, a Muslim who has actually protested terrorism in the streets of Cairo, did have something to say about Tancredo:
“I couldn’t believe that such words would come from a US congressman, supposedly someone who is trying to build a bridge between the US and the Muslim world. His words are a spit in the faces of millions of Muslims around the world and Muslims in the US and in Colorado. Upon visiting Tancredo’s website, I found out that he is very active in helping the Sudanese people of Darfur. I am sure that those people whom he is trying to help won’t appreciate his stupid comment given the fact that most Darfurians follow the Muslim faith.
…This morning several independent newspapers carried major headlines such as “US congressman wants to nuke Mecca”, “Nuking Mecca, the latest call of American extremism.” America should thank Tancredo for the great service he has done for the US!!”
Can you blame him for writing that? I mean if your “friends” are threatening to bomb your holy sites, then can anyone blame you if you start wondering if you need some new friends?
Let me also add that I’m not sure that threatening Mecca would have any effect whatsoever on Al-Qaeda’s willingness to use a nuke in the United States.
I know, I know, they’re supposed to be so “religious.” But, how many mosques have they destroyed? How many innocent Muslims have they tortured, used as human shields, or killed? They’re not exactly the Muslim version of the Flanders family, are they?
Despite their pretense of piety, Al-Qaeda seems to mainly use religion as a tool to gain new recruits, keep people in line, and to convince mopes to strap dynamite on their chests and blow themselves up. For people like that, there’s no greater gift we could give them than to prove that we’re the crusading, Islam hating, “Great Satans” that they always said we were by slagging Mecca and Medina.
That’s not to say that stopping nukes from getting into the United States isn’t a serious problem. But, threatening to bomb Mecca is a “solution” that will alienate our allies in the Muslim world and would likely be of minimal value as a deterrent. Tom Tancredo should understand that already…
Hat tip to Hugh Hewitt for keeping on top of this story.
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