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Crusade and Its
The Congressman's not so helpful bombing Mecca ideas...…
[Hugh Hewitt] 7/27/05
Tom Tancredo took to the pages of the Denver Post Monday
in an effort to resurrect his reputation. He fails because
he doubles down on his absurd insistence that "bombing Mecca" ought
to be "on the table." No serious politician in the country
has come to Tancredo's defense, and indeed I have not seen
any credible authority on war or religion endorse this foolishness.
No serious Christian theologian can endorse what is obviously
an immoral threat against another faith. Tancredo is drawing
encouragment from the small percentage of Americans who have
fallen into the erroneous belief that all of Islam is arrayed
against the West.
Hugh Hewitt - Senior Columnist
Hewitt is senior member of theOneRepublic & CaliforniaRepublic.org
editorial board. [go to Hewitt index]
one. Tancredo's ego is really astonishing, attributing the
widespread comment on and embarassment at his remarks to the
veiw that they:
to start a national dialogue about what options we have to
deter al-Qaeda and other would-be Islamic terrorists.
the column Tancredo makes absurd leaps of logic in an effort
to obscure the central issues of the morality or utility of
a threat on Muslim holy sites. Here's the first:
this battle against fundamentalist Islam, I am hardly preoccupied
with political correctness, or who may or may not be offended.
Indeed, al-Qaeda cares little if the Western world is "offended" by
televised images of hostages beheaded in Iraq, subway bombings
in London, train attacks in Madrid, or Americans jumping
to their death from the Twin Towers as they collapsed.
In fact Tancredo
is preoccupied with attention-getting statements that play
to the frustrated edge of the conservative camp that sees any
denunciation of "political correctness" as an endorsement of
their desire for blunt talk against media elites.
But not threatening
Islamic countries and populations with the destruction of the
places they devoutly esteem is not p.c.-generated double-talk.
It is sensible respect for a vast group of Muslims abroad and
a few million Muslims who are our fellow citizens from whom
we must ask cooperation and to whom we must pledge a non-bigoted
appreciation for their religious choices.
Tancredo makes from Americans disgusted with his foolishness
to al Qaeda's reactions to American outrage is incoherent.
incoherence follows quickly:
have accused me of creating more terrorism by making these
statements. Indeed, we often hear that Western governments
bring these attacks on themselves.
foolishness will no doubt be used, as was Dick Durbin's outrageous
comparison of the American military to Nazis and Khmer Rouge,
for Islamist extremists. But Tancredo's attemp to hide
himself under the wings of John Howard and other eloquent spokesmen
who reject the dangeorus idea that the West is generating the
attacks on itself overlooks Howard's --and Blair's and Bush's--
refusal to be drawn into Islam bashing or incediary rhetoric
like Tancredo's. On Thursday, Howard bluntly stated, again:
is about the perverted use of the principles of a great world
religion, that at its root preaches peace and cooperation,
and I think we lose sight of the challenge we have if we
allow ourselves to see these attacks in the context of particular
circumstances rather than the abuse through a perverted ideology
of people and their murder."
in the West refuse to indulge the hatred for a different religion
that is implicit in Tancredo's frothings. No doubt Tancredo
and his supporters deem Howard, Blair, and Bush "soft" on terrorism.
then quotes a couple of extremist Islamists and/or apologists
for such extremist Islamists before finishing with this flourish
--a libel on every Muslim who has indeed condemned terror and
especially on the between 5,000 and 10,000 Muslims serving
in the American military:
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 "moderate" Muslims
to acquiesce to these actions and even provide tacit justification
for them is just as damaging to global safety and security as the attacks
Until "mainstream" Islam can bring itself to stop rationalizing
terrorist attacks and start repudiating and purging people like Ali
and Hajjar from its ranks who do, this war will continue. As long as
this war goes on, being "offended" should be the least of anyone's
to every Muslim who has courageously stood up to Islamist terror
should not be allowed to pass uncondemned by supporters of
the GWOT. There needs to be more and more and louder and louder
condemnation of Islamist terror from within Islam. There needs
to be more and more cooperation from among Muslims in the identification
of Islamist threats at home and abroad. But Tancredo's absurd
hypotheticals injure that prospect. The Congressman needs to
review the record, finding the good --not just the evil-- and
praising it. He
might want to start with the fact the Muslim community in upstate
New York helped DOJ uncover and halt the operation of a cell
If you were
a Muslim, would Tancredo's outrageous speculations make you
more or less likely to assist in the GWOT? Obviously the latter.
After braving Islamist threats to help the authorities break
a cell, you open the paper and find that your holy places will
be "on the table" if terror takes another huge toll in the
"Being 'offended'" is
not my worry.
in the GWOT compromised handicapped by a publicity-seeking
Congressman is my worry. Handing propaganda to Islamists is
my worry. Encouraging the wrong-headed belief that the world
cannot be made safe until Islam is destropyed is my worry.
some basic facts for Tancredo fans to ponder:
is the second-largest religion in the world, counting more
than 1.3 billion believers. Americans have the misconception
that all Muslims are Arabs and that all Arabs are Muslims.
In fact, less than 20 percent of the Muslims in the world
are Arab, and all Arab countries have populations that believe
in other religions. The nation with the world's largest Islamic
population is Indonesia -- 88 percent of its 280 million
people are Muslims.
In the United States, Islam is the fastest growing
religion, a trend fueled mostly by immigration. There are 5 million
to 7 million Muslims in the United States. They make up between 10,000
and 20,000 members of the American military.
Army Chaplain (Capt.) Abdul-Rasheed Muhammad is a Muslim
Imam stationed at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington. In
his chaplaincy, he ministers to all faiths."
State is locked in a deadly war with Islamists who would indeed
use nukes against American cities if they could, or any other
WMD for that matter. There are some states that support these
Islamists, including the governments of Iran and Syria, and
some of the elites in Saudi Arabia.
are also governments like those in Eygpt, Jordan, and Pakistan
that are providing us enormously valuable assistance in the
war, governements which come under huge pressure from their
fundamentalist Muslim populations to stop assisting the "crusaders."
made all of their jobs more difficult, and ours as well, by
sounding exactly like a Christian jihadist would sound, even
though it is clearly contrary to Christian teachings to threaten
retaliation against non-combatants even in a just war.
I have repeatedly
invited Congressman Tancredo on my show over the past week.
He has declined every opportunity, and Tancredo fans have repeatedly
asked me to "drop it." Well, Tancredo doubled down today, and
his attempt to camouflage his inanity in a variety of ways
does nothing but highlight again and again why he doesn't deserve
invitations to GOP events or leadership positions in Washington.
Tancredo on this issue identifies you as an American interested
in comforting noise rather than progress in the GWOT.
rule of any conflict is to unite your allies and divide your
enemies. Congressman Tancredo's hypothetical has had exactly
the opposite impact. It will be crucial that those allies understand
what an outlier he is.
I am sure
I will hear --again-- from all the "realists" who want to quote
the Koran to me and instruct me on how blind I am to the threat
of Islam. Look, feel free to write me, but try and find at
least one quote from a serious conservative on the American
or world stage to back you up. Dick Cheney's pretty solid,
right? So is Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz, right? O.K., then, send
me some citations to their Tancredo-like remarks. There's a
reason they are leading and Tancredo is simply milking rage
and anger for personal benefit. They are interested in the
national security and victory in the GWOT. Congressman Tancredo
is interested in, well, Congressman Tancredo. tOR
copyright 2005 Hugh Hewitt
Contributor Hugh Hewitt is an author, television commentator
and syndicated talk-show host of the Salem Radio Network's Hugh
Hewitt Show, heard in over 40 markets around the country.
He blogs regularly at HughHewitt.com and
he frequently contributes opinion pieces to the Weekly
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