Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, defended his government’s bloody crackdown on dissent, comparing his security forces – who have been repeatedly accused of torture and mass killing – to surgeons working to save the life of their patients.
Speaking before a newly selected parliament, Assad, a London-trained ophthalmologist, said: “When a surgeon … cuts and cleans and amputates, and the wound bleeds, do we say to him your hands are stained with blood? Or do we thank him for saving the patient?” (source)
Dehumanizing your enemies – in this case comparing them to infected limbs and, I guess, cancerous tumors – has always been a favorite MO of brutal dictators (more examples here and here) but it’s something that goes way beyond official oppression (see here and here for instance). Assad has also violated a more fundamental rule of politics: don’t indulge in metaphors.
More in the annals of heartlessness here.