BUCHANAN TURNS THE CRAZY TO 11…. Ethan Porter asks the right question, and then answers is the right way: “Just how crazy is Pat Buchanan? Pretty goddamn crazy.”

The reason this comes up is because the MSNBC personality and former Republican presidential candidate asks in his latest column, “Did Hitler Want War?” Buchanan believes the answer is “no.”

As it turns out, the piece has generated a fair amount of interest today, and it crashed Buchanan’s servers. But once it’s back up, Buchanan’s creative argument deserves a look.

[W]here is the evidence that Adolf Hitler, whose victims as of March 1939 were a fraction of Gen. Pinochet’s, or Fidel Castro’s, was out to conquer the world?

Adam Serwer responded, “That whole invading Poland thing was clearly just a big misunderstanding. He didn’t want war, he just wanted to arbitrarily annex whatever part of Europe he felt like having — the response was clearly overblown, and maybe even a little rude.”

Buchanan also argued that by 1939, Hitler “was surrounded by allied, friendly or neutral neighbors, save France,” and had no interest in confronting Russia. Matt Yglesias makes quick work of this.

The need for a German-Soviet war to obtain lebensraum was long at the center of [Hitler’s] thinking. That’s why Generalplan Ost was prepared in the early years of the war and called for German occupation of vast swathes of Soviet territory. The answer to Buchanan’s riddle of how Hitler intended to invade Russia when Russia and Germany were separated by Poland is, of course, that Hitler intended to conquer Poland, the very thing that Buchanan is perversely trying to deny he intended to do.

The real question for Buchanan is why, if Hitler had no intention of marching through Poland into Russia, did he follow up his conquest of Poland by breaking the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact and invading Russia? The answer, of course, is that Hitler wanted to conquer Eastern Europe and the western USSR from the beginning.

It’s so rare to see tacit defenses of Hitler’s military strategies in modern American journalism. That Pat Buchanan sure is … unique.

Anyone want to lay odds on whether this interferes with Buchanan’s role as a high-profile political commentator? I’m guessing his status in the media establishment goes unaffected. It always does.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.