Last week, Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) reiterated his call for bombing Muslim holy sites as a "deterrent" against terrorist strikes on the U.S. homeland. "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," he said in Iowa.
"This shows that we mean business," said Bay Buchanan, a senior Tancredo adviser. "There's no more effective deterrent than that."
Chicago Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg responded, "That's nuts, of course, not only contrary to every cherished American ideal, but counterproductive, as the prospect of the United States bombing Islamic holy cities would inspire, rather than deter, terrorists." Fortunately, many leading conservatives have distanced themselves from Tancredo's dangerous logic:
Former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson: "I sincerely believe that bombing religious artifacts and religious holy sites would do nothing but unify one billion Muslims against us. It makes no sense."
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee: "Historically, we've tried to avoid doing what the Nazis did, and that's bombing every kind of possible target. We've had this attitude (that) we don't do these things. There are some things that are off limits."
Rep. Duncan Hunter: "I wouldn't follow that."
State Department Spokesman Tom Casey: Tancredo's comments are "reprehensible" and "absolutely crazy."
State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack: "The remarks are simply outrageous. ... [I]t's important for people abroad, who may not necessarily pay attention to the details and just hear a headline with that in it, that the official position of the United States Government is that those remarks are just outrageous."
Tancredo's comments have created international concern. Pakistani National Assembly Speaker Chaudhary Amir Hussain said the assembly will "unanimously adopt a resolution against this mischievous statement."
For his part, Tancredo is refusing to back down. At last weekend's debate, he responded, "Boy, when [the State Department] starts complaining about things I say, 'I feel a lot better about the things I say,' I'll tell you right now."
You can email Tancredo's official blogger by clicking here. Let him know you want to see Tancredo retract his remarks.
UPDATE: The New York Times blog labels Tancredo's ludicrous bombing plan a "tough stance."