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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Why Tancredo is right on Iran

Earlier this week, I wrote a post in which I defended Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo's idea of threatening the mosques in Mecca and Medina in response to a nuclear attack. Today, the response came - not from Iran - in the form of an incoherent attack on Tancredo by a Pakistani English language daily:
The treasury and opposition members in National Assembly (NA) Wednesday have made it clear on US that one billion Muslims will turn into suicide bombers if the holiest places of Makkah and Madina are attacked and warned Vetican City will not remain secure if any such threat is materialized.

They said this unanimously while participating in debate on foreign policy. Opposition legislator Ghulam Murtaza Satti said US was pursuing double standards. Those talking of launching any military offensive against Makkah and Medina are accursed. This will not happen nor will we allow it to happen.

Treasury member Rozina Tufail said Benazir Bhutto was striking deal with government and was seeking guarantee from US. If US presidential candidates are giving offensive statements then our candidates can also say that Vetican be attacked during the election campaign in the upcoming elections ", she added.
I want to point out two things here. First, Tancredo's idea is taken as a threat in isolation from what spawned it: the possibility of an Iranian nuclear attack on the US. Recall that Tancredo said
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.
No attack on the US - no attack on Mecca and Medina. The Pakistani's conveniently ignore that part of the equation.

Second, note that the Pakistani reaction is to - at the end of the day - a threat to destroy two shrines. Two shrines that are important to Islam, but still two shrines. Recall that the Taliban in Afghanistan - who are Muslims - destroyed some huge Buddha statues several years ago and the world was silent. As noted in this blog, the Wakf in Jerusalem routinely destroys Jewish artifacts on the Temple Mount, and the world (including the Israeli government) is silent. And note that the Pakistani's first threat - other than to randomly create a billion suicide bombers - is to another religious shrine: The Vatican.

This tells me that things - religious symbols - are more important to the Muslim world than religious people. That means that Tancredo is on to something when he says "that's the only thing I can think of that might deter somebody from doing what they otherwise might do." As I have noted, Iranian President Ahmadinejad regards having half his people wiped out in a second strike as being an 'acceptable' risk to take in return for fulfilling his dream to annihilate the Jews of Israel. Mutually assured destruction - the doctrine that kept the US and the Soviet Union from using nuclear weapons on each other during the Cold War - won't work here, because one party is mad enough to be willing to accept that destruction in order to murder the other party's population. Therefore, an alternative deterrent must be found. From the Muslim reaction, Tancredo may have hit on something.

I would, however, add one thing to Tancredo's threat. If Ahmadinejad attacks Israel, my chances of survival may be marginally better than Israelis who don't live so close to Arab areas, but they still would not be great. But if Tancredo wants the US not to have to absorb an Iranian strike, his threat should be that if Israel (or any other US ally for that matter) is attacked, Mecca and Medina will be incinerated. I believe that if we are attacked, our second strike will be partly directed at Mecca and Medina anyway, but if it is not, and if we are attacked and there is no response, look for New York, Washington and Los Angeles to be next.

Ariel Sharon was right in his Czechoslovakia speech. It's 1938 all over again. Is Neville Chamberlain leading the world or is Winston Churchill? Tancredo strikes me as being much closer to Churchill. Hopefully some other candidates both here and in the US will also take the Churchillian approach. Otherwise, it will take a miracle to avoid Armageddon.


At 7:41 PM, Blogger Soccer Dad said...

An argument that Tancredo's suggestion wouldn't have sounced so extreme in another time.


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