Foreign Policy

Spicer, Schmicer: Interventionist Hitler Analogies Are With Us Every Day

Interventionists will continue invoking Nazi Germany without a moment's interruption


Never forget! ||| Good Land Records
Good Land Records

Now that White House Spokesman Sean Spicer has apologized for saying yesterday that "Hitler…didn't even sink to using chemical weapons," that means that stupid Nazi analogies in the service of making political points about foreign policy are finally déclassé, right? Ha ha, (jumps out of window).

No, the real lesson of Spicernacht is that you have to package your even-Hitlerism with at least one layer of abstraction. Better to talk about Neville Chamberlain (the guy who appeased Hitler), or the Munich Agreement (in which Hitler was appeased), than rely solely on the H-man himself. Then you can get on with the real business, which is advocating that the U.S. military kill more people in the name of saving them.

Here's the skeezy Trump television apologist Jeffrey Lord, for example, writing in The American Spectator:

What President Trump delivered to Syria the other night was one of the oldest messages in human history, a message that unfortunately repeatedly gets forgotten. The message: There is peace through strength. And if a peaceful nation warns a bully to stop its bullying behavior — woe betide the peaceful nation if it doesn't carry through with its warning.

The most vivid example of this, of course, was British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's repeated appeasement of Nazi Germany's Adolf Hitler in the 1930s.

Or retired Brigadier General Anthony J. Tata, writing at The Hill:

In the wake of Tuesday's Syrian chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians, President Barack Obama will be remembered as America's modern day Neville Chamberlain, the infamous United Kingdom Prime Minister who appeased Nazi Germany in 1938 by signing the Munich Agreement, setting the stage for the holocaust. […]

If Obama's passivity in the face of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) deployed in Syria in 2013 lends to Chamberlain comparisons, President Donald Trump's military action against Syria this week compares favorably to Winston Churchill, Chamberlain's effective wartime successor.

Or Clifford May in the Washington Times:

In the last century, most Americans recognized, in some cases with enormous reluctance, that there was no good alternative to doing whatever was necessary to rout the Nazis and communists, enemies whose goal was to kill off the democratic experiment.

In this century, jihadists and Islamists harbor the same ambition. We can attempt to appease them. We can try to make ourselves inoffensive to them. We can keep our hand extended, hoping that in time they will unclench their fists. Or we can decide instead to plan for a long war that will end with the defeat of these latest enemies of America and the rest of the civilized world. If Mr. Trump has grasped that within his first 100 days, he's not off to such a bad start.

The world has thankfully seen no Hitler since Hitler, despite the worst efforts from the Soviet Union, Pol Pot, and the grotesque crime family in North Korea. Yet if we suspended Godwin's bogeyman from the national foreign policy lexicon, hawks would have to find some new language to oppose the Iran nuclear deal, advocate taking out Assad, or even lamely attempt to retroactively justify the Iraq War. As I wrote in this space 14 freaking years ago,

This is a real good book, BTW. ||| Harper

"Munich i.e., the consequences of appeasing fascist aggression in the 1930s was invoked in the late 1940s on behalf of establishing the containment of Soviet power and influence as the organizing principle of American foreign policy," former Armed Services Committee staffer Jeffrey Record wrote in a March 1998 Air War College paper entitled Perils of Reasoning by Historical Analogy: Munich, Vietnam, and American Use of Force Since 1945. "It was subsequently invoked on behalf of the Truman administration's decision to fight in Korea; on behalf of containment's militarization and extension to Asia and the Middle East; and on behalf of the Johnson administration's decision to intervene in the Vietnam War."

John F. Kennedy wrote his senior honors thesis on "Appeasement at Munich," and invoked the lessons learned during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The first President Bush, whenever he was on the verge of going wobbly about expelling Saddam Hussein from Kuwait, relocated his spine by reading books like Martin Gilbert's The Second World War: A Complete History. "Nothing like this since World War II," he told interviewer David Frost on Dec. 16, 1990, as recounted in Bob Woodward's The Commanders. "Nothing of this moral importance since World War II."

Bill Clinton started as a Vietman Syndrome president, but ended as a notable Munichite. The turning point was the April 1993 opening of the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. […]

[T]he Czech-born Madeleine Albright…made a point of telling reporters that "Munich is my mindset." Chamberlain's appeasement thus made a comeback during American interventions in Bosnia and Kosovo.

Some of the same people busy mocking Spicer yesterday will now get back to their regular programming of redeploying Hitler in a never-ending game of keyboard Risk. If history is any guide, they will not feel even a moment's hesitation, let alone shame.

After the jump, the very best bit of even-Hitlerism:

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  1. Even Hitler didn’t create a podcast and then schedule it so haphazardly that the host had to qualify “weekly” in the intro.

  2. Even Hitler didn’t fire she who shall not be named.

    1. Even Hitler didn’t have this many problems with squirrels.

    2. Even Hitler didn’t have this many problems with squirrels.

    3. Even Hitler didn’t have this many problems with squirrels.

    4. Even Hitler didn’t have this many problems with squirrels.

      1. Oops, sorry about that. The squirrels took my double click and ran with it.

  3. It Usually Ends With Adolf Hitler

    1. What is each of Fist’s orgasms?

      1. You know who else ended with Adolf Hitler?

        1. Adolf Hilter’s tapeworm?

  4. Bill Clinton started as a Vietman Syndrome president, but ended as a notable Munichite. The turning point was the April 1993 opening of the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. [?]

    [T]he Czech-born Madeleine Albright?made a point of telling reporters that “Munich is my mindset.” Chamberlain’s appeasement thus made a comeback during American interventions in Bosnia and Kosovo.

    So it is the Jews’ fault the US keeps going to war?

  5. What if some tinpot asshole who can’t even effectively control his own people despite the generous support of foreign oligarchs can’t be persuasively compared to Hitler at all?

  6. Even Hitler didn’t draw analogies with Hitler.

    1. Odd Hitler, however, compared himself to himself all the time.

  7. Someone on the twitter suggested an app for everyone’s phone. When it hears you say “Hitler” it starts playing some irritating pop song from the 80’s or 90’s. That distracts your listeners from the dumbass argument you were making and alerts you that you were making a dumbass argument.

    You can turn it off if you are actually discussing mid 20th century history and not making a dumbass analogy.

    1. I think that’s a great idea and for reasons I can’t explain something by The Smiths seems ideal.

  8. Even Hitler had a girlfriend.
    Even Hitler had a dog.
    Even Hitler ate his veggies.
    Even Hilter could decorate his own apartment.

    1. Not my favorite Dr. Seuss book.

      1. Corporal Schickelgruber’s aversion to gas warfare began with his being hospitalized after inhaling some in 1917.

        Spicer gets an F in History of the Great War

    2. He could paint it in an afternoon. Two coats!

  9. “The world has thankfully seen no Hitler since Hitler, despite the worst efforts from the Soviet Union, Pol Pot, and the grotesque crime family in North Korea”

    How was Hitler worse than Stalin or Chairman Mao?

    On and absolute body count of victims, both of them have Hitler beat.

    1. Worse in the sense of invading more neighbors, some of whom could actually fight back.

      Which is a self-regulating thing, arguably.

  10. I take seriously those who argue that things would’ve been worse, or at least as bad, if not for Munich.

  11. As fucking idiotic as it was for Spicer to attempt to justify our blatant act of war, he wasn’t wrong when he said Hitler didn’t use chemical weapons. Zyklon-b isn’t weaponized, even if it still killed you deader than a fucking doornail. That would be Zyklon-a that was used in The Great War. The Wermacht had no protocols for using chemical weapons, whether out of fear of retaliation in kind (a real worry from the Ruskies) or other reasons.
    The dumbasses saying that Spicer is a Holocaust Denier take the cake though. They are reacting out of pure emotion instead of logic. Spicer may be a shit-flinging retard, but the morons bleating about him denying the Holocaust are worse. Fuck me, I hate having to defend this jackass but at least fucking have some perspective on this matter.

    1. Zyklon-b was just cyanide impregnated clay balls used as an insecticide. BTW the idea that they simply dumped them into the gas chamber is a lie. They had to be heated to release the cyanide. Funny thing is there was no such equipment found were they supposedly used it.

    2. It’s pretty much also how I feel about this whole silly incident. Calling Spicer a Holocaust Denier is at least as idiotic as Spicer’s Hitler analogy.

  12. Or retired Brigadier General Anthony J. Tata, writing at The Hill:

    I have a new hero.

    Ladies and Gentlemen I give you: General Tony Titties.

  13. If Assad is losing the war and has a limited amount of chemical weapons and is willing to risk international condemnation why would he use them on civilians instead of rebel soldiers?

  14. Invoking the memory of the Nazis is a good thing to do. Keep reminding people that the distance between them and us isn’t a heck of a lot.

  15. The self-righteous hypocritical demagoguery is coming from every direction these days, especially when it comes to the ambiguous use of the phrase “Chemical Weapon.” But no matter how a rational person looks at it, the United States is as guilty as anyone here. Perhaps the most honest words to leave the Donald’s puckered lips were, “There are a lot of killers. You think our country’s so innocent?”

    After bombing Syria to express displeasure with Syria’s alleged use of “chemical weapons,” the United States drops the most powerful chemical weapon ever made on an IS target in Afghanistan. Sure it is chemical explosives instead of poison gas, but it is weaponized chemicals non-the-less.

    Now the administrations opponents have jumped down Spicer’s throat for not considering the Cyanide used in Nazi gas chambers to be a “chemical weapon.” If poison gas used for killing prisoners is to be classified as a “chemical weapon” then the United States is guilty of using the very same chemical weapon as the Nazi’s: Hydrogen Cyanide.

    1. I intended to be more specific…

      Gas chambers were used by some states for capital punishment until the turn of the century. The most recent use of cyanide for this purpose in the USA was on March 3, 1999. Also, I want to make it clear that I am not equating the execution of murderers with the mass execution of millions of innocents. The demagoguery I refer to isn’t related to the number of people killed or whether a killing can be morally justified, but rather the type of weapon.

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