Tom Tancredo on War & Peace

Republican Representative (CO-6)


Stop policing Iraq, but cannot leave

The major battle is this clash of civilizations. The whole idea and the whole debate can be narrowed to a relatively small area. We cannot leave Iraq. We are committed there and will be for a long time, and I donít care whoís elected president. Thatís the reality of the situation. We can, however, stop being the police force in Iraq. We are doing it; we are moving in exactly the direction that my website, the statement, anticipates.
Source: 2007 Des Moines Register Republican Debate , Dec 12, 2007

Congress cannot decide how to fight war; only fund or defund

Whatís the constitutional responsibility of the Congress when it comes to war? It is, 1) declare it; 2) fund it; or 3), not fund it. Thatís it. [Some people] talk about the number of bills that we have killed because of attempts to end this thing? Well, every one of them has inside of them all these provisions about how have to fight the war, how many people can be dispatched at any particular point in time and who they can fight.

The founders of this country knew very well what would happen to us if we ended up with 535 generals in the Congress. And that is, you lose wars. You need a commander in chief. And then the Congress has every right to be involved in it. It has every right to talk about this and to condemn it if you donít agree with it. But you know what? It ends up with this. If you donít want it, donít fund it. But you cannot micromanage it from the Congress of the United States.

Source: 2007 GOP Presidential Forum at Morgan State University , Sep 27, 2007

Promote dissenters in Iran; but take action if needed

Q: Would you go to war with Iran if they developed nuclear weapons and threatened Israel?

A: One of the most important things we can do with Iran is to look at the Iranian people themselves. There is a great deal of dissent inside Iran. We certainly donít immediately, you know, use the button. We immediately donít go to war. But I also tell you that we cannot back away from this situation, and we cannot be threatened in that way. If itís required, action has to be taken & a president has to do that.

Source: 2007 GOP debate at UNH, sponsored by Fox News , Sep 5, 2007

Iraq is a battlefield in war with radical Islam

Q: You opposed the troop surge from the start.

A: Well, I hope and pray that the surge works. But let me get back to a central point here, and that is why weíre there and in fact, with whom we are at war. The war is not actually in Iraq. The war is with radical Islam. Thatís who we are at war with. And we have to understand it, Iraq is a battlefield in that war. In order for us to be successful there, we have to disengage as the police force in Iraq. But we cannot leave the country. We cannot leave because this is not a war that will end with our departure. I wish that were the case. Wouldnít that be wonderful if thatís all it would take, for us to say weíll withdraw all of our troops and weíll never have another thing to worry about? But we were not attacked because we had troops in Saudi Arabia; I donít believe it. We were attacked because radical Islam wants to destroy the United States of America and any part of this world that they do not agree with.

Source: 2007 GOP debate at UNH, sponsored by Fox News , Sep 5, 2007

We are in a war with radical Islam; Iraq is one battle

Q: Do you differ at all from Mayor Giuliani, Governor Romney or Senator McCain?

A: There are a number of things, of course, with regard to Iraq that I think we have found some common ground on, but the reality is this: that it is absolutely true I think that we are in a war with radical Islam. That is the war. A battle is being fought in Iraq. Now, can we win the military battle on the ground? Yes, we can. Our guys are the best in the world, and cannot be faulted in any way.

Source: 2007 GOP Iowa Straw Poll debate , Aug 5, 2007

Stop restricting army with rules of engagement

I am concerned about the rules of engagement, that apparently are restricting the ability of our people to do their job and to protect themselves. No one should ever go into harmís way, no president should ever send anyone in this military into harmís way and keep one arm tied behind them. These rules of engagement have got to be reviewed, and no president should ever pursue them in this wan, or let people go into battle and be actually at risk.

I unveiled a statue in my district for a Navy SEAL. He is dead because the rules of engagement did not allow them to do what they needed to do over there. That is unacceptable. In the broader picture, of course, we have to do something about the fact that there is no political or economic solution being developed by the Iraqis. And you have to push them into it. America cannot be the police force in Iraq. It cannot remove itself entirely from Iraq, but Iraq has got to take control of Iraq.

Source: 2007 GOP Iowa Straw Poll debate , Aug 5, 2007

If Islamic terrorists threaten nukes, we nuke Mecca & Medina

Q: Last week you said that, in order to deter an attack by Islamic terrorists using nuclear weapons, you would threaten to bomb Mecca and Medina. The State Department called that ďreprehensibleĒ & ďabsolutely crazy.Ē

A: Yes, the State Department--boy, when they start complaining about things I say, I feel a lot better about the things I say, Iíll tell you right now. My task as president is primarily to do one thing--not to make sure everybody has health care or everybodyís child is educated--my task is to do one thing: to protect and defend this country. And that means to deter--and I want to underline ďdeterĒ--any kind of aggression, especially the type we are threatened with by Al Qaida, which is nuclear attack. I read the national intelligence estimate. I see what they are planning. And Iím telling you right now that anybody that would suggest that we should take anything like this off the table in order to deter that kind of event in the United States isnít fit to be president.

Source: 2007 GOP Iowa Straw Poll debate , Aug 5, 2007

Opposed the troop surge, but supports the troops

Q: You have talked about November as a timeframe for beginning to pull some of our troops back from the frontlines, & you opposed the troop surge?

A: The president said, ďI am establishing a benchmark of November for the Iraqi government to be in control of all 18 provinces of Iraq.Ē I believe that that is a good benchmark to set. I will support him in that effort, & I will support our troops while they are in the field in every single way I can. That is my responsibility as a member of Congress.

Source: 2007 Republican Debate in South Carolina , May 15, 2007

Muslims attack us because itís a dictate of their religion

Q [to Paul]: Should the 9/11 attacks have changed our non-interventionist policies?

PAUL: No. [Abandoning our tradition of] non-intervention was a major contributing factor. They attack us because weíve been over there; weíve been bombing Iraq for 10 years.

TANCREDO: Whether Israel existed or didnít, whether or not we were in the Iraq war or not, they would be trying to kill us because itís a dictate of their religion, at least a part of it, and we have to defend ourselves.

Source: 2007 Republican Debate in South Carolina , May 15, 2007

Convert from constabulary force to supporting force

Q: You said that congressional Republicans who say they must see progress by September are ďfundamentally irresponsible,Ē and they are giving a timetable for retreat to our enemies.

GIULIANI: I was talking about the timetable for retreat that the Democrats passed, in which they did something Iíve never heard of in the history of war, which is to give your enemy a schedule of how a retreating army is going to retreat. That was highly irresponsible. What the Republicans suggested isnít the right approach either.

Q: Rep. Tancredo, you are one of those congressional Republicans who talks about disengaging from Iraq. You have talked about November as a timeframe for beginning to pull some of our troops back from the frontlines.

TANCREDO: We are going to have troops in Iraq or in the region for a long time. The question is, will the troops be a constabulary force, which I do not believe they should be? Will they be a supporting force for the Iraqi government, which I believe they should be?

Source: [X-ref Giuliani] 2007 Republican Debate in South Carolina , May 15, 2007

Ok to attack Iran if they develop nukes & threaten Israel

Q: Imagine youíre president, and you get a call from the prime minister of Israel saying Israel is about to strike Iranís nuclear sites and he wants US help. What do you say?

A: There are two kinds of Irans that we are going to have to deal with here: one headed by a gentleman who believes that he is going to be responsible for the coming of the 12th imam; and a guy with a bomb, that should put us in the position of saying that anything we can do to stop that is imperative. And if Israel is put in that position, and we need to be involved in order to protect both ourselves and the Israelis, then of course we respond in the appropriate fashion.

Q: If the prime minister asks you for help, you say you will say yes?

A: Well, there are conditions, of course, under which we would say yes. But if there is a threat to the existence of Israel, which is a potential threat to the existence of the United States, then you have to come to the aid of Israel.

Source: 2007 GOP primary debate, at Reagan library, hosted by MSNBC , May 3, 2007

Surge opposed by all commanders; weíre leaving soon

Q: Explain precisely your stance on the presidentís new strategy to increase the number of US troops in Baghdad and Al Anbar province.

A: I would not have and I did not support that, whether you want to call it a surge or a reinforcement or whatever, & I didnít because primarily I listened to the people on the ground, I listened to the generals who were in charge of the operation. Every single commander on the ground--not one of them supported such an increase or believed that it was necessary, and in fact, would be counterproductive because it would only make the Iraqis more dependent on the US. I think that the increase in the number of troops that weíve sent to Iraq is simply the beginning of the end game. We are leaving Iraq, relatively soon.

Q: Is the US going to leave with a defeat or with a victory?

A: It remains to be seen, quite frankly. We donít know. But Iím telling you that we are going to be leaving.

Source: CNN Late Edition: 2007 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer , Mar 4, 2007

Begin withdrawal from Iraq, to focus on radical Islam

Q: There was a report that came out this week on the National Guard in the US, basically saying they are stretched way too thin, theyíre on the verge of collapse, the equipment is not there, the training is not there, in large measure because of the emergencies in Iraq and Afghanistan. How worried are you?

A: I am worried about it. I feel as though we have, just as you say, stretched them as far as they can be stretched. Look, it could have been and, in fact, was a noble endeavor. No one should go back on and no one should have recriminations about the fact that we tried. But at the point in time we now are looking at the situation, Iím telling you that we must begin the process of withdrawal from Iraq. It is not helping us in the all-out war, the bigger war against radical Islam.

Source: CNN Late Edition: 2007 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer , Mar 4, 2007

Voted NO on redeploying US troops out of Iraq starting in 90 days.

To provide for the redeployment of US Armed Forces and defense contractors from Iraq. Requires within 90 days to commence the redeployment; and to complete such redeployment within 180 days after its commencement. Prohibits the use of DOD funds to increase the number of US forces serving in Iraq in excess of the number serving in Iraq as of January 1, 2007, unless specifically authorized by Congress. Authorizes retaining in Iraq US forces for providing security for diplomatic missions; for targeting al-Qaeda; and for training Iraqi Security Forces. Requires the President to transfer to the government of Iraq all interest held by the US in any military facility in Iraq.

Proponents support voting YES because:

This war is a terrible tragedy, and it is time to bring it to an end. This is a straightforward bill to redeploy our military forces from Iraq and to end the war in Iraq. This bill does not walk away from the Iraqi people. It specifically continues diplomatic, social, economic, and reconstruction aid. Finally, this bill leaves all the decisions on the locations outside of Iraq to which our troops will be redeployed wholly in the hands of our military commanders.

Opponents support voting NO because:

This legislation embraces surrender and defeat. This legislation undermines our troops and the authority of the President as commander in chief. Opponents express concern about the effects of an ill-conceived military withdrawal, and about any legislation that places military decisions in the hands of politicians rather than the military commanders in the field. The enemy we face in Iraq view this bill as a sign of weakness. Now is not the time to signal retreat and surrender. It is absolutely essential that America, the last remaining superpower on earth, continue to be a voice for peace and a beacon for freedom in our shrinking world.

Reference: Out of Iraq Caucus bill; Bill H R 2237 ; vote number 2007-330 on May 10, 2007

Voted YES on declaring Iraq part of War on Terror with no exit date.

Reference: Resolution on Prevailing in the Global War on Terror; Bill HRES 861 ; vote number 2006-288 on Jun 12, 2006

Voted YES on approving removal of Saddam & valiant service of US troops.

States that the House of Representatives:
  1. affirms that the United States and the world have been made safer with the removal of Saddam Hussein and his regime from power in Iraq;
  2. commends the Iraqi people for their courage in the face of unspeakable oppression and brutality inflicted on them by Saddam Hussein's regime;
  3. commends the Iraqi people on the adoption of Iraq's interim constitution; and
  4. commends the members of the U.S. Armed Forces and Coalition forces for liberating Iraq and expresses its gratitude for their valiant service.
Reference: War in Iraq Anniversary resolution; Bill H Res 557 ; vote number 2004-64 on Mar 17, 2004

Voted YES on authorizing military force in Iraq.

Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Iraq: Passage of the joint resolution that would authorize President Bush to use the US military as he deems necessary and appropriate to defend U.S. national security against Iraq and enforce UN Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq. It would be required that the president report to Congress, no later than 48 hours after using force, his determination that diplomatic options or other peaceful means would not guarantee US national security against Iraq or allow enforcement of UN resolutions and that using force is consistent with anti-terrorism efforts. The resolution would also give specific statutory authorization under the War Powers Resolution. Every 60 days the president would also be required to report to Congress on actions related to the resolution.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Hastert,R-IL; Bill HJRes114 ; vote number 2002-455 on Oct 10, 2002

Voted YES on disallowing the invasion of Kosovo.

Vote on an amendment to the "Kosovo and Southwest Asia Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act" which would prohibit the use of funds for any invasion of Yugoslavia with U.S. ground forces except in time of war.
Reference: Amendment introduced by Istook, R-OK; Bill HR 1664 ; vote number 1999-119 on May 6, 1999

Solidarity with Israel in its fight against terrorism.

Tancredo co-sponsored a Congressional Resolution expressing solidarity with Israel:

Source: House Resolution Sponsorship 02-HR392 on Apr 18, 2002

Strengthen sanctions on Syria & assist democratic transition.

Tancredo co-sponsored strengthening sanctions on Syria & assist democratic transition

A bill to strengthen sanctions against the Government of Syria, to enhance multilateral commitment to address the Government of Syria's threatening policies, to establish a program to support a transition to a democratically-elected government in Syria.

Source: Syria Accountability and Liberation Act (S2917/HR2332) 08-S2917 on Apr 24, 2008

2016-17 Governor, House and Senate candidates on War & Peace: Tom Tancredo on other issues:
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