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13 June
Comments Off on Spicer: ‘Hitler didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons’

Spicer: ‘Hitler didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons’

Washington:White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Tuesday tried to emphasise the depravity of Syria’s use of chemical weapons on civilians, but the way he did it – by crediting Adolf Hitler with a measure of restraint – struck many journalists as confusing and insensitive.
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“We didn’t use chemical weapons in World War II,” Spicer said. “You know, you had a – someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.”

After drawing widespreadcriticism, Spicer issued anapology on CNN, and emaileda statement clarifying his remarksto reporters.

Spicer seemed to be suggesting that chemical weapons are so bad that even Hitler wasn’t willing to use them. It was a bizarre argument, however, given Hitler’s extensive use of poison gas to kill millions of Jews and others in concentration camps.

Spicer was presumably thinking of battlefield uses of chemical weapons; even in that case, however, his version of history would be questionable. According to some accounts, the Nazis used poison gas against Russians who failed to surrender after the Battle of Kerch in the Crimean peninsula.

According to the bookIvan’s Warby Catherine Merridale, the Nazis in 1942 deployed poison gas into a cave city in which as many as 3000 Russians were living for months:

Umm… did we just get some Holocaust denial from the White House?

— Zack Ford (@ZackFord) April 11, 2017Just gas chambers, use of human skin, etc https://t.co/QQVe6Vqe2k

— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) April 11, 2017Transcript of Spicer’s commentsSpicer was asked about the US response to Bashar al-Assad using chemical weapons in attacks in Syria last week. This is what he said:

Spicer:You look – we didn’t use chemical weapons in World War II. You know, you had a, you know, someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.

So you have to, if you’re Russia, ask yourself, is this a country that you, and a regime that you, want to align yourself with? You have previously signed onto international agreements rightfully acknowledging that the use of chemical weapons should be out of bounds by every country.

To not stand up to not only [inaudible] but your own word should be troubling. Russia put their name on the line, so it’s not a question of how long that alliance has lasted, but at what point do they recognise that they are now getting on the wrong side of history in a really bad way, really quickly. And again, look at the countries that are standing with them: Iran, Syria, North Korea. This is not a team you want to be on.

Reporter:I need to clarify something you said that seems to be getting some traction right now. Quote: “Hitler didn’t even sink to the level of using chemical weapons”. What did you mean by that?

Spicer:I think when you come to sarin gas, there was no, he was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Ashad [sic] is doing. I mean there was clearly – I understand your point, thank you. Thank you, I appreciate that. There was not in the, in the, he brought them into the Holocaust centre, I understand that. But I’m saying in the way that Assad used them, where he went into towns, dropped them down into the middle of towns. So the use of it, and I appreciate the clarification there, that was not the intent.

Washington Post and Fairfax Media

 
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