Saturday, August 04, 2007

State speaks out...

...and has message for Presidential candidates: shut up.

Traditionally silent during presidential campaigns filled with divisive foreign policy debates, the department on Friday delivered a rebuke to would-be nominees of both parties whose recent comments have complicated U.S. efforts to overcome deep suspicion about the war on terrorism in the Muslim world.

"Those who wish to hold office can speak for themselves and whoever is elected in 2008 and comes into office in 2009 will then be in a position to talk about what they intend or plan to do," said deputy spokesman Tom Casey, a career foreign service officer.

First it was Barack Obama's talk of dialogue with dictators and invading Pakistan to kill Islamist militants, then it was Hillary Rodham Clinton refusing to rule out the use of nuclear weapons to that end. Now, the Democratic front-runners have been joined by radical Republican Rep. Tom Tancredo, who threatened to bomb Muslim holy sites to stop terror attacks.


Casey had unusually harsh words for Tancredo, R-Colo., who said this week that if elected he would threaten to bomb the Saudi cities of Mecca and Medina, Islam's two holiest sites, to deter attacks on the United States.

"It is absolutely outrageous and reprehensible for anyone to suggest attacks on holy sites, whether they are Muslim, Christian, Jewish or those of any other religion," a clearly agitated Casey told reporters, shaking his head in disgust.

Couldn't agree more. Spouting your mouth off like Rep. Tancredo did is at least as hurtful to the long war, if not more so, than someone like Sen. Clinton asking for plans on when and how we're going to withdraw. All a message like that does is give ammunition to the extremists to take back to those in the middle as evidence of what the Great Satan has planned for them and their religion. It doesn't matter that no one in this country takes Rep. Tancredo seriously. He has an office, and that makes anything he says easy ammunition to be turned around and used against the efforts of this country.

His message has no positive consequence. No actual terrorist is going to be deterred by the threat. No one with half a brain on their head actually thinks that anyone in the terrorist leadership cares about Mecca or Medina. Yes, I know OBL included the "presence of U.S. forces in Saudi Arabia thereby contaminating the sacred lands of Islam" (that's paraphrased) as one of main points of both his '96 and '98 fatwas. My point still stands. The only people who are going to be affected by this are your average Abdul Muslims. The extremists already do a good job of cranking out fake propaganda to sway the minds; we don't need to be giving them freebees like this.

As for Sen. Obama, all I'll say is the fact that he is still a serious contender even after his pathetic string of foreign policy faux pas scares the shit out of me.