Two years ago, Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) raised more than a few eyebrows -- here and around the world -- when he publicly suggested bombing Mecca. On a talk show, the host asked Tancredo how the U.S. should respond to a domestic nuclear terrorist attack. "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, you know, you could take out their holy sites," Tancredo answered.
When the host asked if he was talking about destroying Mecca, Tancredo said, "Yeah."
Not surprisingly, Tancredo's comments were quickly disseminated in the Middle East, where audiences that are already pre-disposed to distrust the West heard that a U.S. lawmaker from the president's political party was talking openly "taking out" the most sacred of Islamic holy sites.
This week, Tancredo's was at it again
: "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," the GOP presidential candidate said.
Yesterday, Bay Buchanan, a senior Tancredo adviser, defended the comments
, insisting that Tancredo's approach "shows that we mean business."
Tom Casey, a deputy spokesman for the State Department, told CNN that Tancredo's comments were "reprehensible" and "absolutely crazy."
I think it's nice that in these contentious, politically-divisive times, Democrats and Bush administration officials can put aside their differences and agree that Tom Tancredo is a loony.