A piece of free advice: if you are thinking of invoking Hitler in any political argument, you should pause, take a deep breath, count to ten (“ein, zwei, drei…”) and then think properly about the accuracy and the implications of what you want to say.
Case in point, the White House spokesman Spicy Sean making a case against Bashar al-Assad:
“We didn’t use chemical weapons in World War II. You know, you had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.”
Sean is now in a lot of hot water, with some even accusing him of Holocaust denial. I’m with John Podhoretz on that topic:
Sean Spicer is not a Holocaust denier or an anti-Semite or anything sinister. What he is is a blithering idiot.
— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) April 11, 2017
You see, Sean is technically correct, because the key word is “weapon”. Unlike in World War One, when as you will recall Hitler himself was gassed by the Brits and hospitalised until the armistice, neither side fired shells with sarin or mustard gas at each other in World War Two (though both sides kept large stocks). Considering World War Two that’s a very faint praise.
Hitler of course gassed around million people, mostly Jews, in several death camps, mainly Auschwitz. The method used was Zyklon B, or hydrogen cyanide. Zyklon B was marketed and previously used as a pesticide, so technically wasn’t a weapon, although a similar formula has been so used in World War One.
All those “technically” to show that while you can be technically correct, in the end it all sounds like slitting hairs. Hitler might not have used chemical weapons against Allied troops or Allied civilians (imagine a chemical Blitz over London) but he had no compunctions about using chemicals to exterminate lots of people.
Having dug a hole for himself, Sean kept digging, I mean clarifying:
“I think when you come to sarin gas, he was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Assad is doing,” Mr. Spicer said, and mentioned “Holocaust centers,” apparently referring to Nazi death camps.
Well, yes, again, technically… but many of the people killed using Zyklon B were “his people” in that they were German Jews.
Hence another clarification:
“In no way was I trying to lessen the horrendous nature of the Holocaust,” he said. “I was trying to draw a distinction of the tactic of using airplanes to drop chemical weapons on population centers. Any attack on innocent people is reprehensible and inexcusable.”
Maybe just shut up.