July 19, 2005

Tom Tancredo: Nuke Mecca (tip to Malkin and the Captain)

Colorado Rep. Tancredo kind of struck me as a populist that doesn't fully think things through. He's been very aggressive about combatting illegal immigration even when it's just Mexican maids and gardeners. I've never felt he fully divided his positions between legal and illegal immigration. And in order to stop remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean (which are an important part of many families' incomes, and are a private matter between a laborer and his overseas family) he tried to put a steep tax on wiring money overseas - without realizing that one of the major wire-transfer companies was headquartered in his district. He just kind of struck me as aggressive without a real direction or travel plan. This latest issue fits in the same vein.

When discussing on an Orlando radio show what the US response should be if we were nuked, Tancredo suggested bombing Islamic holy sites like Mecca. While I understand the anger and frustration one might feel if Chicago or Seattle were to suddenly glow green, it's not a good idea to threaten a whole region and religion with the same treatment. Just as we would be devastated by a terrorist nuclear strike, so too would Muslims and Arabs - and probably most everybody else in the world - be devastated if we glassed Mecca.

Obviously a response to such an attack should be swift, strong and effective, but that doesn't mean we should emotionally lash out at a symbol the terrorists worship. For every terrorist that worships to Mecca, there are probably at least a thousand peaceful Muslims. Unless we're talking about the genocide of all Muslims and most Arabs, which I sincerely hope we're not, then it's a move that should not be considered.

Moreover, besides the political repurcussions it would entail the deaths of hundreds of thousands of worshippers and citizens, possibly millions over time. It might be emotionally satisfying to make somebody else pay for our hurt, but let's make sure that if the time does come we make sure that our rage is focused instead of indiscriminate.

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