#Sean Spicer, President Trump’s press secretary, got himself into trouble when he declared, referring to Bashar Assad’s use of Sarin gas against his own people, that even Adolf #Hitler did not use #chemical weapons. Of course, many people were quick to point out that Hitler indeed used poison gas, carbon monoxide and later Zyklon B to exterminate Jews and others that Nazi Germany wished to see eradicated from the Earth.
Spicer was apparently thinking about the use of chemical weapons in combat. World War I had taught the major powers that poison gas was a horrific weapon that, nevertheless, did not prove to be decisive since all sides used it.
Germany did not use such weapons in combat, even when it was making its last stand with the Allies entering the Fatherland from both sides.
But Spicer should have known that he was going to get hit by using imprecise language, even if everyone knows what he really meant. He should have noted that exception of the use of poison gas, not so much as a weapon of war, but as a weapon of mass murder. Now he has to backtrack and explain himself, never a good position for a White House spokesperson.
Better yet, Spicer would have done better not to drag Hitler into the conversation at all. Hitler (along with Stalin and Mao) was so uniquely evil that most every other tyranny pales by comparison. Assad is demonic enough that one does not need to compare him to the greatest monster of them all. Otherwise, one is in peril of violating Godwin’s Law, which states, “Anyone who brings in Hitler or Nazism into a discussion has automatically lost the argument.” To be sure Godwin is often ignored by people think Trump is Hitler and previously said Bush was Hitler and Reagan were Hitler and so on back to when Hitler was still alive and disturbing the peace of the planet..
The way to deal with murderous despots like Assad is to reiterate over and over again the crimes they are committing against humanity. The Syrian leader is undoubtedly not on a scale of Hitler, but anyone who drops Sarin gas on anyone, not to mention women and children, is wicked on an epic scale and needs to be put down by someone, his own people by preference, with some assistance by the United States and its allies.
Of course, if one wants to make analogies, there is always ISIS, the other great enemy of humanity in the Middle East. But its doom, at least as a force that holds territory, is all but certain now, with the Iraqi Army investing Mosul and a 50,000 man army of Sunni Arabs and Kurds throwing a ring of steel around Raqqa. ISIS are of a different level of evil than has ever been seen before on this Earth.