Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Tom Tancredo vindicated

A year and a half ago, Rep. Tom Tancredo (R - Colo.) suggested that if islamic terrorists detonated a nuclear bomb in the USA, we should consider destroying (not necessarily "nuking")Mecca in response. Rep. Tancredo was widely criticized for this comment even by the right.

Well, now someone else has suggested the very same thing, the Wall Street Journal editorial page.

Is this whole thought process horrible? Yes. However, responsible leaders need to think these issues through. Islamic terrorists don't seem to be deterred by the fear of death (or, more accurately, death in battle or suicide bombing "martyrdom"). Should we simply abandon any attempt to deter them? Or should we think creatively (and morbidly) about ways we could deter them, even if we do not intend to follow through with every deterrent we think up? (Of course, if we ever communitate a deterrent, we better be damned sure we have the gumption to follow through - that lack of gumption is what got us into this mess.)

Let me go out on a limb here and propose something equally, or even more, disturbing than simply obliterating Mecca (after all, we could warn Saudi Arabia in advance, and just take out the holy site, killing very few actual people). I don't think al Qaeda terrorists have any rights under the Geneva conventions (or, to clarify, I agree with John Yoo's analysis of their rights). I believe we have the legal ability to summarily execute any non-uniformed enemy combatant we capture. If we started doing so - and I'm not necessarily saying that we should - I think we would deter more potential jihidis. Reasonable people should consider all the options.