BIRTHERS PICK UP A CRAZED RETIRED GENERAL…. Dave Weigel has one of the day’s more head-shaking stories.

I try to ignore the birther movement unless it inducts someone important — a congressman, for example. The (sigh) American Patriot Foundation’s announcement that Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney (ret.) has signed an affidavit supporting court martialed birther Lt. Col. Terry Lakin is actually a pretty big coup. […]

And is McInerney a serious person? Yes. He’s a West Point graduate who ran the Alaskan air command during the Exxon Valdez disaster…. Point is, he’s not some kook, and now he’s staking his reputation on… this.

The retired three-star Air Force Lieutenant General didn’t just dip his toe into Birther waters, he did a belly flop into the pool. McInerney issued a bizarre statement, arguing that the White House needs to “reassure all military personnel once and for all for this President whether his service as Commander in Chief is Constitutionally proper.” He added that Obama is facing “serious — and widely held — concerns that he is ineligible” for the presidency, and demanded that the president either “voluntarily establish his eligibility” or the courts must force the issue.

In other words, it’s full-blown, Grade A, unhinged birther madness.

If McInerney’s name sounds familiar, it’s because you’ve probably seen him in the media. He’s frequently on the air, calling for a war with Iran, for example. McInerney also recently made headlines for demanding that all young Muslim men “should be strip searched” before they’re allowed to board an airplane, which he said is “not racial profiling.”

Alas, there’s a pattern of idiocy here. In 2002, for example, McInerney assured Americans the war in Iraq “will be a war that is shorter than” the 1991 Gulf War, which lasted 42 days. In 2005, McInerney insisted that terrorists no longer feel the need to attack inside the United States because we have “leftists in America who have aided and abetted the enemy more than Tokyo Rose did in World War II.”

In 2006, McInerney was asked about the non-existent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the basis for the U.S. invasion. He insisted, in all seriousness, that the weapons were in Iraq, before Russia secretly entered the country to move the stockpiles to Syria.

He’s now an on-air contributor on national security issues for … wait for it … Fox News.

Update: Steve M. reminds me of some related elements of McInerney’s background that I’d forgotten about, including his efforts to smear Joe Wilson, and his efforts to coordinate his media messages with the Bush White House:

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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.