Home/Daniel Larison/Tancredo: I’ll See Your Atrocity, And Raise You A War Crime

Tancredo: I’ll See Your Atrocity, And Raise You A War Crime

I suppose I understand why Rep. Tancredo has once again taken the view he has on the retaliatory nuking of Mecca and Medina, but I have to say that it makes no sense to me.  Indeed, I would have to say that it is deeply wrong.  First of all, it doesn’t function as a deterrent to a religious person to say, “If you don’t stop what you’re planning on doing, I will desecrate and destroy what you consider sacred.”  This rather confirms in the mind of the religious man, especially if he is a fanatic already inclined to violence on behalf of his religion, that you have no respect for basic civilised norms.  Whether or not you actually have such respect is beside the point–you will have telegraphed to the world that you are willing to obliterate a place considered holy by one of the major religions in the world.  This makes the probability of devastating terrorist strikes against this country more likely rather than less, because it will convince that many more Muslims that our government is warring against all of them in the most fundamental way.  Should you threaten this, or worse yet carry out your threat in the event that the situation arises to do it, you will have confirmed every worst idea that the fanatic has about you, and you will have won him a thousand sympathisers where before he had ten.  Then there is pesky international law regulating that belligerents show respect for religious sites and make every effort to spare them from being targeted in wartime.  To make the targeting of major religious sites and central shrines of a world religion a standing policy is to say that you don’t think that anything should be off-limits in warfare. 

Before he ran fleeing to hide behind Samantha Power’s skirt and declare his bold unconventionality, Obama had briefly grasped that using the strategic equivalent of a sledgehammer for a job better suited to a needle was foolish.  There ought to be some things that we are not going to do.  Nuking the Islamic holy sites and killing hundreds of thousands of people seem to fall into that category of things we ought not to do.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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