SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer ignited a feverish backlash in the Jewish community on Tuesday when he invoked a defense of Hitler to suggest that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s atrocities surpassed those of the Nazis. Spicer’s ill-timed comments took place during Passover, the most celebrated Jewish holiday in the United States. Critics pointed out that these seemingly insensitive remarks were part of a larger anti-Semitic rhetoric used by members of the Trump administration. Late Tuesday evening, in a disastrous attempt to apologize and clarify his intentions, Spicer ended up defending Darth Vader and Lord Sauron. Civil rights groups across the country have since demanded Spicer’s resignation.
Enforcing Godwin’s Law in Syria SituationSpicer’s unprompted reference to Hitler was meant to emphasize the heinous attacks orchestrated against Syrian civilians by their president. On April 4, the Assad regime deployed warplanes over the Idlib province where they dropped Sarin gas and killed at least 86 civilians, including 30 children and 20 women.
In a rare departure from the counsel of his unofficial foreign policy adviser, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump told members of Congress and Jordan’s King Abdullah II that he may consider retaliatory action: cutting of all financial aid to Jordan, which is using the funds to harbor Syrian refugees, and walling off the country behind a massive fortification along its borders.
Later that night, after speaking with Disney CEO Bob Iger, who expressed a desire to create a “$70 million fireworks show a whole nation could see,” Trump became inspired and replied, “Hold my beer.” Moments later, the president ordered a missile strike against a Syrian military base. To preserve international relations, he responsibly alerted Putin and al-Assad prior to the launch so they could protect their people.
Spicer’s press conference, the New York Times explained, was an attempt “to lend gravity to the actions of Mr. Assad, who United States officials believe used sarin gas, a lethal chemical weapon, in an attack on a rebel-held area of Idlib Province last week that killed dozens.”
“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,” Spicer said.
Of course, the Nazis and Hitler were synonymous with chemical weapons. The infamous gas chambers pumped hydrogen cyanide into killing rooms packed with Jews and other groups singled out for extermination, who were deemed a threat to the German state. At the height of deportations, an estimated 6,000 Jews died each day in the Auschwitz gas chambers. When asked to clarify his remarks, Spicer’s explanation fell on deaf ears.
“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 Assad is doing,” Spicer said. “I mean, there was clearly, I understand your point, thank you. Thank you, I appreciate that. There was not in the, he brought them into the Holocaust center, I understand that. What I am saying in the way that Assad used them, where he went into towns, dropped them down to innocent, into the middle of towns, it was brought — so the use of it.”
Vader and Sauron: Villains as Victims and HeroesIn a prepared but yet unreleased statement, allegedly drafted by Spicer and intercepted by Evening Transcript staffers, the embattled press secretary continued his baffling series of unpopular comparisons and exonerations of historic villains to justify this morning’s misunderstanding.
It was never my intent to imply that Hitler was somehow better than Assad. But significant differentiations exist. What makes Assad a worse villain than, say, Hitler or Darth Vader or Lord Sauron? His schemes. His designs. His slaughter of innocents for sadistic pleasure and not a higher purpose. His ability to destroy his own people, not ideological or physical enemies, whether perceived or legitimate.
Darth Vader destroyed entire star systems and planets. His death toll probably reached the billions. But he was following a path he believed in, that he believed would restore peace and order to the galaxy. In the end, he did that. He killed the evil emperor and restored balance to the Force. He was a hero, ultimately.
Lord Sauron. I mean, he’s a scary monster, but if you think about it, he’s also the Abraham Lincoln of Middle Earth. He rose as a lieutenant of Melkor, then as Morgoth’s second-in-command and finally as the god-king who forged the One Ring in dismal old Mount Doom. He understood the trajectory of Middle Earth culture, its political tribalism and an environment that was as morally toxic, corrupt and repugnant as Mordor’s was physically and aromatically.
It might sound surprising to a skeptical public, but he was actually the William Wallace of his age: a broadsword-brandishing champion of the people, who liberated an oppressed race of slaves, mostly Orcs, from the clutches of sadistic murderers. On the surface, he was an easy target. He created a flaming eyeball to watch over his realm. He raised a massive army of grotesque creatures as a deterrent. And he was like ten-foot tall, a pituitary problem that made him the victim of bullies since his first incarnation. But the surveillance, the steel attire, the sprawling ocean of up-armored troops --all of it to defend his people from the architects of genocide...the Men and the Elves.
He saved Orcs and Goblins from the lynch mobs and the “coon hunts” and Joy Divisions constructed by Elves. Every day for centuries, Elves of all ages emptied quivers of arrows into defenseless Orcs with no more enthusiasm or apprehension than a child discovering a booger in its pointy elf nose. With Men and Elves, it was about class. Everyone was allowed to play, so long as everyone could afford to live in the same neighborhood and get a Hobbit to do his dirty work.
Well, Sauron ended that abuse. He issued his own Emancipation Proclamation, you could say, and gave these repressed beings homes and jobs...in an environment blind to issues of color or economics or faiths. Everyone was equal in his eye. He created a democracy in a land ruled by monarchs. But everyone cheered on the fiefdoms and kingdoms. Why would Americans support that, a system antithetical to a democratic republic?
Were Sauron’s tactics ruthless, his methods extreme? Sure they were. Is that different than any other revolutionary fighting for a just cause? Should we hold our original patriots up as criminals? Vlad Dracula may have had his reputation perverted by a drunken Irishman to sell penny dreadfuls, but in his native land, Vlad is still regarded as a liberator -- a folk hero. He sacrificed to save his people from the Islamic terrorists of Turkey. And yet outside his homeland, he’s a predatory molester who eats babies and drinks blood from hobos. And who killed Dracula? A real estate agent, an oil tycoon, a doctor, a college professor and a trust fund kid. Of course.
It’s tragic, but then history is written by the winners. And there is no moral fiber in a single-minded pursuit so constipated and so appallingly myopic as winning. In the end, those who follow the Men and the Elves are doomed to perish under the inbred whimsy of tyrants. Sauron, on the other hand, founded a sanctuary for tens of thousands of disenfranchised people who were desperate to work hard and build their dreams. But he’s the bad guy. He didn’t kill his own people. Neither did Hitler. He killed Jews and Romas and immigrants and other folks who weren’t part of the Nazi Party. Assad butchers his own. So yes, he is much, much worse.
Bannon Offers Alt-Right Alt-Facts to Defend SpicerSteve Bannon, the president’s top adviser, reminded the public of the need to enforce fairness and balance in this era of fake news. As a lauded alt-right journalist, Bannon provided the correct context to Spicer’s statements by illustrating the alternate facts that mainstream media have conveniently ignored.
- As President Trump has said before, in some cases Jewish people have committed anti-Semitic hate crimes themselves to make their “oppressors” or political opponents look bad. Trump denounced a spate of such crimes in February as false flag operations carried out by Jews. He also illustrated the scriptural story of Pontius Pilate, who was coerced into killing Jesus at the exhortations of angry Hebrew politicians. Bannon reasoned that we cannot discount, with absolute certainty, that Jews did not mastermind the holocaust for similar gains.
- Ivanka Trump married a Jew and converted to Judaism. The president is deeply, madly, passionately, eerily in love with his daughter. And, to a different, lesser extent, her family. It therefore makes no sense to brand Trump an anti-Semite.
- Bannon explained, in defense of Spicer’s avoidance of using the term “death camp,” that Holocaust Centers were recreational youth facilities, like the YMCA, dedicated to Hebrew children. They contained billiard tables, exercise rooms, swimming pools, industrial ovens and showers. “Due to an unfortunate mix up with the plumbing, cyanide containers, which were there to put down a rat infestation, accidentally ended up connected to the water systems. So, not all six million Jews were necessarily Hitler’s direct victims.”
- ”While everyone is attacking Sean Spicer for appearing anti-Semitic in his comments about Assad gassing his own people, let’s not forget that the dishonest media are being anti-semantic,” Bannon said. “I would argue that Hitler did not use chemical weapons. He killed his prey with cyanide, which is a poison found in nature: it’s produced by certain bacteria, algae, fungi and plants. Sarin is a nerve toxin that is produced by chemists in labs. So Sean wasn’t strictly incorrect.”
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