11 June, 2007

Tom Tancredo, in his own words

A show of hands, please. Who was underwhelmed by last week's presidential debates?

Aside from the elementary school feel of the "raise your hand" questions the overall format left candidates either speechless or grasping at their microphone while trying desperately to condense speeches to soundbites. It was a bit stressful to watch and even my debate bingo wasn't as much fun this time around. Not much of substance got through to those of us on the other side of the glass. And the media failed to call the candidates out on their total misrepresentation of the facts, also known as "lying".

I try to keep the average American in mind as I watch these things; somebody who maybe gets 30 minutes of news a day, but that 30 minutes may include Entertainment Tonight; who can tell you all about Paris' legal travails or the latest inflated local news tragedy, but doesn't know Shi'a from Sunni from Suri or Iraq from Iran from iRack. The average American also probably didn't watch the debates and may or may not vote come November 2008.

After watching the Republicans continue their knock down drag out cage match as to just how much of the Earth they would use to build more Gitmos and the like, I was reminded of a letter I wrote Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo back in 2005. In 2005, during a radio interview, he advocated bombing Mecca in response to a nuclear terrorist attacks on US soil. So while Mitt wants to double the size of Guantanamo and Giuliani wants you to stay vigilant (and scared) that "they" really, really want you dead, Congressman Tancredo is your man if you want real action, I suppose.

I sent him a polite letter and "introduced" him to my lovely and amazing then-mother-in-law who had travelled to Mecca on Hajj a few years earlier and explained the significance of the place and the Hajj. I didn't rant, rave, or call him an idiot, but did ask him to reconsider his views and outlined the reasons such a policy would be rubbish.

Here are some excerpts from Rep. Tancredo's response letter to me, which I found while going through my files this week:

"My comments have prompted strong reactions from many quarters, but they have also served to start a national dialogue about what options we have to deter al-Qaeda and other would be Islamic terrorists....

Many critics of my statements have characterized then as "offensive," and indeed they may have offended some. But in this battle against fundamentalist Islam, I am hardly preoccupied with political correctness, or who may or may not be offended....

Few can argue that our current approach to this war has deterred fundamentalists from killing Westerners - nor has it prompted moderate Muslims and leaders of Muslim countries to do what is necessary to crack down on extremists in their midst who perpetrate these grisly crimes...

While I realize that some people around the world may be offended by my comments, I do not believe that the U.S. should take any option off the table, regardless of the circumstances....

Fundamentalist Muslims have advocated the destruction of the West since long before the attacks of Sept. 11, long before the Madrid, London and Bali attacks, long before the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, long before the attack on the USS Cole and the 1993 WTC bombing. In many respects, the decision of the Islamic world to acquiesce to these actions and even provide tacit justification for them is just as damaging to global safety and security as the attacks themselves...

Until Islam can bring itself to stop rationalizing terrorist attacks and start repudiating and purging people like [Tariq] Ali and [Dr. George] Hajjar from its ranks who do, this war will continue. And as long as this war goes on, being "offended" should be the least of anyone's worries."

Luckily, it sounds like he's about to quit the presidential campaign. However, he still managed to be elected in the first place and that's disturbing enough for me.


To keep an eye on Tancredo and his unhinged rantings and ravings, go to TancredoWatch.

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