What would Jesus bomb?

In case of attack, Tom Tancredo has Mecca and Medina in his sights.

Published August 1, 2007 10:49AM (EDT)

From IowaPolitics via Talking Points Memo, we learn that Republican Rep. and presidential candidate Tom Tancredo has a plan to deter terrorists from setting off a nuclear device in the United States.

"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," Tancredo told folks having breakfast at the Family Table restaurant in Osceola, Iowa, Tuesday.

Tancredo said he's sure that terrorists are plotting another attack on the United States. According to IowaPolitics, he cited as evidence his claim that law enforcement officials recently broke up an illegal smuggling ring in which people of Middle Eastern descent were paying $25,000 to $50,000 to get into the United States.

As best as we can tell, Tancredo was referring to a report that the FBI was investigating unsubstantiated allegations that such a ring existed -- a report accompanied by the word of an FBI official who said there was "no viable information" that could lead to an actual case being made. But Tancredo has already got all the dots connected -- and when you mix them in with a pervasive racial stereotype and a dollop of immigration fear, they all begin to make sense.

"You have to ask yourselves, why would anybody pay $25,000 to $50,000 to be smuggled into the United States?" Tancredo said Tuesday. "It's not to work over here at the Quick Stop or the 7-11. If you pay $50,000 to be smuggled into the United States or somebody is paying that for you, it's probably for some other purpose, not to just get a job that no American will take."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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2008 Elections Terrorism Tom Tancredo War Room