Philippines leader Rodrigo Duterte likened himself to Adolf Hitler on Friday saying that he would "be happy" to murder over three million drug users and peddlers in the Philippines leading to a vigorous blowback from the international community and causing anger among the Jewish community.
US Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Friday said he found Duterte’s comments "deeply troubling," but refused to say whether there would be any consequences for the latest controversial statements by the Philippines strongman.
The US found itself in a similar bind in recent weeks when Duterte called US President Obama a "son of a b---" or a "son of a whore" depending on the translation used only weeks after saying that the United States should stop meddling in the Philippines and mocking Secretary of State John Kerry for what he perceived as idiocy suggesting he should have insulted the diplomat more in order to get more funding.
Despite the controversial nature of the country’s leadership, the Philippines are one of the United States foremost allies in the Pacific region and one of its longest standing defense partners with Washington bound by treaty to come to the country’s aid in the event that it finds itself in a war.
"If Germany had Hitler, the Philippines would have…" said Duterte, pausing and pointing to himself. "You know my victims. I would like (them) to be all criminals to finish the problem of my country and save the next generation from perdition."
"Hitler massacred 3 million Jews. Now there is 3 million, what is it, 3 million drug addicts (in the Philippines), there are," said Duterte. "I’d be happy to slaughter them."
Since Duterte took office on June 30, more than 3,100 people have been killed in an extrajudicial fashion, most of whom are alleged drug users and dealers, by police and vigilantes set loose by the Philippines leader.
The Philippines spokesperson, realizing the blowback from the untoward reference to Hitler, explained that "The President recognizes the deep significance of the Jewish experience especially their tragic and painful history. We do not want to diminish the profound loss of 6 million Jews in the Holocaust – that deep midnight of their story as a people."
The spokesman did not apologize or modify the call for the massacre of three million alleged drug users or dealers in the country instead suggesting the call for mass murder is justified saying "that while the Holocaust was an attempt to exterminate the future generation of Jews, drug-related killings as a result of legitimate police operations… will nevertheless result in the salvation of the next generation of Filipinos."