Spicer on Assad: Even Hitler didn't use chemical weapons

Two clips from today’s presser, one more unfortunate than the other. Spicer knows his World War II history, I’m sure (although the term “Holocaust centers” is a new one on me). The error here is an excess of zeal in trying to demonize Assad, who really is demonic, by reaching for the worst benchmark he can come up with without thinking through the analogy. Hitler didn’t use chemical weapons — except, okay, he did, but he didn’t use them against his own people. Except, okay, he did, but he didn’t drop them on people, he … rounded them up and gassed them systematically in death factories. Advantage: Hitler, I guess? Where was he going with this point in which somehow Hitler compares favorably to Assad? Hitler didn’t use sarin on the battlefield, true. And therefore…?

Can we acknowledge, at least, that the fact that we’ve reached the “Assad is worse than Hitler” talking point less than a week after Trump’s airstrike likely means (a) more strikes are on the way, since we can’t let WorseThanHitler continue to act with impunity, and (b) last week’s strike really was a humanitarian measure against an evil actor, not a defense of U.S. national security interests? Assad’s not waging an expansionist war to build a Greater Baathist Reich, he’s trying to crush the Sunnis battling to overthrow him. He’s not going to take France and threaten America from across the Atlantic. Although, thanks to Obama, his patrons in Iran may threaten the U.S. with nuclear missiles sooner rather than later.

Exit lesson: If you’re a PR person in any capacity, stay away from Hitler analogies, for cripes sake.

Update: Spicer tries to clarify.

Update: Another clarification. “I was trying to draw a distinction of the tactic of using airplanes to drop chemical weapons on population centers,” Spicer notes. Right, but as Jake Tapper says, “This doesn’t really answer the question as to why doing it from a plane is worse than building gas chambers in death camps.” Spicer’s still clinging to the idea that using chemical weapons on the battlefield and/or via airdrops crosses a moral line that even Hitler wouldn’t cross. It doesn’t really, though. It’s a difference in tactics, not morals.

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