I’m kidding with the title. A bit.
Spicer said during a White House briefing Tuesday that Adolf Hitler “didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.” That drew instant rebuke from Jewish groups and critics who noted it ignored Hitler’s use of gas chambers to exterminate Jews during the Holocaust.
Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/entertainment/article143970244.html#storylink=cpy
What should be emphasized is that comparing Assad to Hitler isn’t a problem. Everybody we try to go to war with gets compared to Hitler at one time or another. And yes, Americans do have a tendency to compare the other party’s presidential candidates to Hitler (and I’d argue Democrats are much more obnoxious about it). If we don’t like you, we call you Hitler. That’s the way it works.
Where the problem comes in is that you’re not supposed to hold anyone up to Hitler and try to make Hitler look decent by comparison.
For example, imagine the uproar if my son wasn’t eating his dinner and I said, “You’re not being a good boy. Even Hitler ate all his vegetables.” In historical context, this is basically true since Hitler was a vegetarian but you still can’t say that somebody is worse is Hitler.*
Spicer wasn’t entirely wrong, but he wasn’t right either. It’s always been my understanding that the main reason Hitler didn’t use chemical weapons on the battlefield was because he got seriously jacked up by a mustard gas attack on the Western Front in WWI. I think him being respectful of international agreements on this one thing had more to do with it being the only thing he could feel any empathy about (and actually makes his use of gas in the Holocaust seem even worse and crueller).
Also, what’s with the “Holocaust center” euphemism? The term is “death camp”. That’s on par with “re-accommodated” as an inappropriately over-cautious description of something bad.
But did Hitler use poisonous gas to eliminate people he considered problematic? Hell, yes he did. You could give props to Assad for at least not bothering to put people in concentration camps before gassing them, I suppose, if that wasn’t at cross-purposes of trying to justify military action against him.
I’d like to think that the blowback over this comment might eventually lead to the elimination of Hitler comparisons as an argument to oppose someone. It’s too easy to invoke that name and get a reaction. What would we call that, Peak Hitler? I think we’re there. It’s time to quit.
*Truthfully, the closest I’ve ever come to comparing my son to a dictator was when he was taking too long to eat and I told him, “You’re Stalin and you need to be Putin food in your mouth!”
I’m proud of that one. It was worth the eye roll from Mrs Thrill.