Sean Spicer: the Hitler and al-Assad Comparison
Sean Spicer doesn’t know from Godwin’s Law, more or less. (Godwin’s Law, in its truest form? The longer a discussion lasts on the Internet, the more likely it is that someone will compare someone to Adolph Hitler. Shorter version? By the time you bring up Hitler, you should have shut up already.)
Washington Post reporters Jenna Johnson and Ashley Parker wrote Spicer Apologizes after Receiving Sharp Criticism for Saying Hitler Didn’t Use Chemical Weapons on Tuesday, April 11. (Sean Spicer will rue this day for the rest of his life, one hopes.) Mr. Spicer suggested that Bashar al-Assad was somehow worse than Mr. Hitler because he—Mr. Hitler—did not use chemical weapons in war zones, against soldiers for the other side.
In my life I run across people, from time to time, who seem too effing stupid to have reached their station in life. I tend to be equanimous in these situations, while others in my ambit suffer their fools less gladly. Alas, when we have a booger eating moron speaking on behalf of the President of the United States—that’s you Donnie Boy, and the job involves more than early morning tweets, weekend golf on the government dime, and random everything!—I do have limits.
Mr. Spicer correctly notes the fact that Mr. Hitler did not use chemicals as war weapons. Instead, and with the help of many subhuman personages, he designed a systems which had as its purpose eradicating millions of people. Jews, first and foremost, but also Gypsies, homosexuals, people with infirmities, and many others. Never before or since has the world seen such an organized and methodological program which has murder as its sole purpose.
I excuse nothing about Bashir al-Assad’s conduct. He uses chemical weapons from time to time, in a manner which violates treaties, his own agreements, and basic humanity. (That the man worked as an ophthalmologist makes his conduct still more outrageous. Think Hippocratic Oath.) He uses them in places where his opponents live, work, and—in the distant past—played. He uses them to kill and, by doing so, instill fear in those who survive.
Still, Mr. al-Assad’s action seem hardly systematic. Instead, they are driven by war and its inherent uncertainties. Put differently, if those who rebelled against Mr. al-Assad’s authoritarian rule put down their weapons and went home, I don’t think we’d see more chemical weapons, or a systematic effort to remove whole populations in Syria. On the other hand, Mr. Hitler, war or not, was intent on ridding the world of populations he did not want in his midst.
So it occurs to me that Mr. Spicer was wrong by about 180°. The killing apparatus Mr. Hitler established involved death camps, aka Holocaust centers (and where do these people come up with their language.) Rail lines, dedicated to bringing Jews and others to the death camps. Systematic roundups of those he intended to murder. And record keeping! Mr. Hitler’s program stands alone on the horror scale. Incomparable! (Incomparable: unable to be compared; totally different in nature and extent.)
Many people want Mr. Spicer to resign. Not me! He speaks eloquently on behalf of his boss. A cleaned up version of POTUS serves no one.
By the by, it’s a few minutes after 9:30 a.m. EDT, the day after Mr. Spicer offered his opinions. Nothing yet from the Tweeter-in-Chief. No words, Mr. President, can describe your awfulness.
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