White House Responds to Criticism of Bush’s Use of Hitler Comparison

President Bush’s recent comparison of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to Adolf Hitler was not meant “to diminish the enormity of Hitler’s crimes,” a senior White House official has assured the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith.

Brent Scowcroft, the national security adviser, gave that assurance in a letter to Abraham Foxman, ADL’s national director, after the group questioned Bush’s suggestion that by using hostages as “human shields,” Hussein was worse than Hitler.

“I don’t believe Adolf Hitler ever participated in anything of that nature,” Bush said at a Nov. 1 political rally in Massachusetts.

“I take your point that it is important not to diminish the enormity of Hitler’s crimes, particularly the genocide of the Jewish people,” Scowcroft wrote. “That was not the president’s meaning or intention at all.

“What we want to do instead is focus the spotlight of world attention on the outrageous behavior of Saddam Hussein. Our purpose, which I know you share, is to succeed against him, so that he loses and so that he is not emulated,” the White House official wrote.

Foxman called Bush’s statement “an exaggeration,” but said Scowcroft’s letter indicates a “sensitivity to the concerns leveled by the Jewish community.”

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