What on earth was the congressman thinking?
No matter how hypothetical Tancredo thought his outrageous comments were, in the eyes of the world, he's an official of the US government, even if he's not in the executive branch.
If the sophisticates who lead the government in China can't understand the distinction between the branches of our government and therefore feel compelled to lecture Congress to lay off the proposed UnoCal deal, how do you suppose young Muslims who have never experienced democracy are likely to interpret Tancredo's remarks?
Like most people in the world, they'll see it as an American threatening them. It's therefore an unnecessarily provocative statement.
As Hewitt writes:
Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo's speculation about using nukes on Mecca following an act of nuclear terrorism in the United States is the most irresponsible statement any American official can make. It will be on al-Jazeera within the hour, and it will be used by jihadists against us. Such speculations send the message that we are at war with all of Islam. We are not. We are at war with a slice of Islam that is radical and violent. Statements like Tancredo's invite all of Islam to think they are our enemy.