24 July 2005

Tancredo vs. the girly men

A few days ago, I discussed the remarks of Tancredo, a Colorado congressman, who told a radio show host that the U.S. could "take out" Islamic holy sites if Muslim fundamentalist terrorists attacked the country with nuclear weapons. Most bloggers on the left rightly condemned the remarks, whereas the right-hand sector of the blogosphere was, for the most part, silent, treating Tancredo like a slobbering drunk uncle at a family reunion. But sure enough, the remark did find its fans among its intended audience. Thus The Anti-idiotarian Rottweiler, in a post titled Killing Them Softly With Hugs and Bunny Rabbits, argues that this kind of balzy comment is just what our wimpy nation needs. Let's take a look at this morsel of rightwing wisdom:

It looks like Tom Tancredo's remarks about keeping Mecca and Medina on the list of targets we just might decide to turn into dust in response to a massive terrorist attack (radioactive or otherwise, it doesn't really matter, we can do both without breaking a sweat) . . .

I guess real men do it with plutonium--gives the gals that nice glow the next morning. (And if any of the radiation ends up in our wheat fields, we'll just wolf it on down with our Wheaties).

. . . has turned a bunch of otherwise sensible bloggers into shrinking violets embracing the philosophy of "can't we all just get along" that has served us so well in the past (just don't tell that to the ghosts of the 3,000 victims of 9/11. They might get upset, the bloody unnuanced primitives).

I guess all who oppose attacks on religious sites are hippy flower children (I keep hoping to meet some of that lost tribe). I suppose the Muslims living in the U.S. should get with the program. Either embrace bombing your religion's most sacred site or switch religions to something more Amerikan. (And we ain't talking about Hopi kachinas).

Of course, it's most likely because it's been so long since we conservatives had somebody we could offer up as a sacrificial lamb proving our "fair" bona fides.

What??? Offer up Bush. Or Cheney. Or Rummsfeld.

We'd hate to think that it was because our fellow conservatives knew less about fighting a war to win it than your average jelly fish knows about nuclear physics.

I'd agree with you on this one. Of course, the librals are even less capable of winning wars. But you're right. The Republicans, while willing to raze cities, torture prisoners, pre-emptively attack countries, cook intelligence, rig elections, enfeof excons, and engage in all sorts of other nasty Republican dirty tricks, haven't completely mastered the art of war. So where should they turn for the ultimate strategy? How about Hitler? He wasn't a girly man. He was quite willing to give an order to obliterate entire peoples (the Jews) and political groups (the communists and socialists). He even foresaw the mass murder and removal of entire nations (the Russians) until he was stopped by sheer Russian tenacity. Hitler, Tancredo--these people aren't jellyfish. On the other hand, there are a few of us who wonder what in the hell has been "won" after a certain line has been crossed. When we start targetting entire peoples or religions, the current democratic experiment (or more accurately, the illusion of attempting such an experiment) is gone.

Someone quoted on the above-mentioned site wrote the obvious sane response:

The idea that the US would retaliate in such a manner should be repulsive to any rational person, no matter where they fall on the political spectrum.

To which the manly Rottweiler replies:

Why? You throw out the rules, we throw out the rules as well. I've said it a million times before, but let me say it again: I'm not in favor of initiating brutal measures, but I sure as Hell won't hamstring myself by voluntarily stating that I won't respond in kind, no matter what the enemy decides to do.

I can guarantee that right now, some Muslim fundamentalist is sitting in a Mosque before a crowd of young men saying, "The Westerners came to the Middle East and occupied our countries, stole our resources, bombed our cities and mosques, and are now attempting to destroy our way of life. I've said it a million times before, but let me say it again, I'm not in favor of initiating brutal measures, but . . . "

The same logic is being used: There is a vague "they" out there called the West and everyone who is part of "they" and not part of "us" is collectively guilty.

Racism and nationalism have fueled the establishment of "great" empires (that is, mass-murder campaigns), whether it be the Mongol Hordes or the Europeans slaughtering native Americans as they crossed the plains. The vitriolic nonsense spouted forth from some rightwing blogs shows that old ideas truly die hard.

Lest I make it sound like all conservatives have swerved off the road into the ditch, take a look at Blundapundit's well-reasoned post (final excerpt below):
Congressman Tancredo repeat these three easy words ... "I was wrong." Consider this an intervention. I'm taking away your shovel so you can't dig any deeper! I'm going to help you remove your foot from your mouth ASAP! Believe me I'm an expert at the latter! Apologize and move on to more credible theories or be marginalized as one of the right-wing nut jobs that should be run out of Washington at the next election. I know if I was a Republican Coloradan from your district I would be working against such a foolish man. A "leader" who cannot see the error of tying retribution on a faith's holy sites to the actions of nut job factions of that faith should not even be leading a Boy Scout troop let alone be a representative in the Congress of this great country.


MM said...

what exactly do you propose if multiple nukes are detonated in american cities? nothing?

you criticize, but offer no solution of your own.

we shouldn't hit mecca first anyways. that is the trump card. we should shithammer medina, and bomb a few other holy sites first. If the people in the middle east knew that the u.s. would do this, they would probably think twice about supporting terrorists, especially if it meant their incineration.

it's doomsday type shit, but if we get nuked, i believe we should retaliate with a show of force that has been unimaginable to mankind thus far.

And we should film it and put it on the net too to scare the living shit out of anyone that dares to strike us again.

this isn't eye for an eye, this is 1000 eyes for an eye.

On another note, this may surprise you, but their is a significant percantage of the public that sides with me on this, not a majority, but many more than you would imagine.

Karlo said...

My proposal would be to go after those responsible and protect the innocent. And as for your last comment, it doesn't surprise me at all. I'm sure you're right. A large segment of the population has slipped into an almost tribal mentality.

mm said...

We are fighting those responsible. The problem is, that might not stop a nuclear attack. Sad to say, but we might have to just "one up" the terrorists.

it's the return of M.A.D.

dailyread said...

And we should film it and put it on the net too to scare the living shit out of anyone that dares to strike us again.

And I suppose we should cut off their heads and show that on the internet to scare the shit out of anyone who dares not agree with us... or has that already been tried?
When all else fails, I suggest that we hire some adults to take over the leadership of our country. Adults willing to look beyond short term gain and political capital in the interest of what might be good for the neighborhood tomorrow and on down the road. Adults who have the ability to understand that people who are willing to burn churches or gun down freedom riders or bomb anyone because they don't happen to be from the neighborhood are not people who should be entrusted with the reins of leadership in any situation whatever.
The percentage of the public in agreement with you, mm, is somewhere around 20%... and that is only because the polling questions are rigged.

mm said...

no, don't cut off their heads.


1000 eyes for an eye. put and end to this shit once and for all.

m.a.d. needs to be brought back. they need to know that we WILL do something drastic if necessary.

Karlo said...

Ah, so we're looking for a "final solution" to end this once and for all. Why does this sound so familiar?

gutshot said...

I guess this is the proper answer to what happens if the Islamists nuke us:

"Well, we'll first apologize for building a city on their preferred testing site. Then we'll turn to Mecca and thank Allah that he spared our lives. Then we'll train to be suicide bombers so that we can take out the final renegade Jewish/Christian hotbeds."

I'll tell you, I pray to God that people like you aren't in power when they find a way to strike against this country again. Do you think our enemy protects the innocent? NO, they target the innocent. I'm not saying that we do the same, but you must protect YOUR OWN innocents first. If that means that you must strike against the terrorist cells where they hide (a.k.a. mosques), then so be it.

Aside from how the media portrays it, we have been relatively respectful of the Muslim population. It's unfortunate that we're having to police this for them, because they should be the ones to condemn and kill their militant countrymen.

Karlo said...

I don't get the "they do it so we should do it" form of argument you use. Are you saying that our ethical standards and actions should be dictated by terrorists? If they kill innocents, we should too? Do we exact our revenge by ultimately resembling terrorists? We shouldn't confuse "efficiency" with "rationality." Hitlers willingness to murder entire populations, push war to an absurdly violent level, take and kill hostages and the like was, in a sense, "efficient." But it wasn't rational. And in the end, it sealed the regime's fate. If the U.S. ever turns from targetting terrorists to targetting peoples or religions, its fate is likewise sealed. I can guarantee that the day a Muslim religious site is bombed with the express intent to "send a message," the war won't be against Iraqi insurgents. The war will suddenly be against your next-door neighbor. And the pistol under the seat of your car will turn out to be of little value.

dailyread said...

Just an additional postscript here...even with the use of nuclear weapons, it would be very difficult to imagine a scenario where the last man standing will be white.
The tools that we have used to keep red, brown, black, and yellow people "in their place" are beginning to appear in every country's tool box. Muslim countries already have the means to wage a war of annihilation, and China has the ability to dump our economy right in the shitter.
Without oil, the ability to move our armies does not exist (eventually), so the only realistic component on our side is the mindset we employed prior to Bush taking office.
Our foreign policy is the only thing that can pull us back onto the road and keep us between the lines, but we have to be willing to approach the rest of the world with respect and genuine interest in elevating the quality of life for every world citizen. Testosterone is okay to a certain extent, but a splash of maturity is also required, which we do not have in this current administration.

Karlo said...

Good point. As we think of nuking spots all over the globe to protect U.S. interest, we do need to keep in mind that there are nukes that Bush doesn't control and those nukes have also been deployed for a purpose. Personally, I find the macho "nuke'em til they glow" reactions ridiculous in the extreme.

George Turner said...

If Hitler and succeeded in leveling London and Moscow he would've won. Fortunately FDR and Churchill were better at bombing civilians into the stone age, so we don't today suffer under German national socialism.

The difference is that we weren't trying to kill everyone who didn't fit into the volk's plans for a social utopia, we were just bombing those who were.

Karlo said...

I think that both the Nazis in Europe and the Japanese in Asia would have had a hard time maintaining an empire--even if some of the decisive battles would have gone the other way. The Nazis had planned to simply depopulate much of the Slav areas--which doesn't leave people a hell of a lot of choice. You either die now fighting or die later under occupation. In spite of the animosity of the period, I don't remember any plans to bomb churches or temples in order to "send a message." Of course, even if massive bombings and all out war were justified, their justification hardly applies to the current situation. About 3,000 people died during the 9/11 attacks at the hands of some idiotic fanatics carrying tiny cannisters of mace. In Russia, over 3,000,000 people died in the Nazi invasion (and even more Jews). In spite of all the hyped-up rhetoric, the current threat hardly calls for total war and a "nuke-em til they glow" sort of mentality. As a matter of fact, the much-lauded Nazi killing machine sends a telling message: If you push people into a corner, they'll fight to the end in even the most desperate situation. The most successful empires in the modern period (that of the U.S. and Soviet Union) have been maintained in part because of their ideological appeal and their ability to incorporate different elements into a rational system. The Nazis and Japanese would have never been able to becomme inclusive without a total abandonment of their ideologies.

The Continental Op said...

Believe it or not, Tancredo is contemplating a run for President! That ought to be amusing (unless, by some freak chance, he actually landed in the White House, in which case it wouldn't be funny at all).

Karlo said...

Perhaps one of the Taliban who blew up the Buddhist sites in Afghanistan can join him as a running mate.