Monday, August 13, 2007

# Posted 10:37 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

CAN YOU STILL CALL SOMEONE AN "IDIOTARIAN"? I haven't heard that phrase in a while, but I think I have a reasonable candidate:
[George] STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman Tancredo, your answer on [my show] was...

You said that, in order to deter an attack by Islamic terrorists using nuclear weapons, you would threaten to bomb Mecca and Medina. The State Department called that “reprehensible” and “absolutely crazy.”

[Rep. Tom] TANCREDO: Yes, the State Department -- boy, when they start complaining about things I say, I feel a lot better about the things I say, I’ll tell you right now.
That's from the Republican debate in Iowa on August 5. For a while now, I've been trying to think of an analogy that really expresses just how idiotic Tancredo's position is. It's like saying that if Catholic terrorists attacked us, we'd retaliate by bombing the Vatican, even if the Pope had nothing to do with the attack.

A colleague of mine observed that if you leave aside the threat to kill millions of innocent Muslims, a threat to nuke Mecca and Medina would constitute an interesting test of Al Qaeda's rationality. Presumably, even Al Qaeda would balk at the prospect of Mecca and Medina being incinerated.

I said I wasn't so sure. I think enough Al Qaeda types are inclined toward apocalyptic thinking that they would welcome a nuclear strike as some sort of collective martyrdom. Because frankly, they're even crazier than Tancredo.


(5) opinions -- Add your opinion

Who knows? Maybe if this threat was credible our friends in Saudi Arabia may think twice about funding an Islamicist death cult. Yes, I know. Just the thought is morally reprehensible. Really? Compared to what?
I suppose if you reject the assertion that a great many muslims don't support terrorism, then Tancredo's position is defensible (from a strictly tactical point of view), but if you accept the assertion that many muslims would prefer to live in harmony with the west, then Tancredo's position is suicide.

Bombing Mecca would make virtually every muslim in the world into a terrorist threat.
Well, it is an interesting example of deterrence.

"Attack us, and we will launch a recruitment drive for you."
I love some of the comments. Everything apparently is about mollifying "Muslim rage". So let's say, just for fun, that some terrorist group, and to go out on a limb, a Muslim terrorist group at that, managed to nuke New York. That of course is the hypothetical. Yet the conventional intellectual opinion this board tends to parrot responds that the greatest thing we have to worry about at that point is inflaming the rest of the Muslim populace, whose lauded moderation must be preserved despite never having lifted a finger or uttered a word against such unspeakable horror. Maybe if that same moderate population actually believed there were consequences for its acquiescence to terrorism it would get off its ass. Yet even after millions dead we still must placate the Muslim street. Does this sound remotely realistic? Or sane?
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