There is an excellent thread about Buchanan's "unnecessary war" nonsense, about which I'm not sure I can speak without saying something flaming, at VFR here.
I've run into the "unnecessary war" thesis before, from (where else?) the paleo right. I first got an inkling of how far it might go from the highly uncomfortable discussion of WWII in Thomas Woods's otherwise very good libertarian-flavored Politically Incorrect Guide to American History. He more or less asks the question asked of Auster in the thread, "Just how many Jews did World War II save anyway?" Not in so many words, but by implication. Woods says something to the effect that, hey, most of the Jews of Europe were dead anyway by the time the allies liberated it so...(So what?)
And I've seen the whole spiel in other paleo contexts and in personal conversations. It makes me angry. It also, obviously, makes Auster angry, and he's better than I am at answering it, instead of just (as I'm tempted to do) spluttering in horrified fury and wanting to blast or ban somebody for even toying with the idea that we all should have appeased Hitler more, that what Hitler did was none of our business, and so forth.
But let's not kid ourselves. Of course this all has a contemporary edge to it, doesn't it? One of the best things Auster says in that thread is that we should not talk about Hitler as if he was rational. Yes. Precisely. But isn't this what one runs into the twisty-dovish paleo right with regard to our enemies now? And Israel's enemies, too. The "Palestinians" are to be thought of as rational, rather than (as every bit of evidence coming out of their mouths, official pronouncements, published maps, and TV programing indicates) insanely committed to the destruction of Israel. The Iranians, of course, are to be thought of as rational. Even Osama bin Laden is grist to their mill. (The leftists are in on that one, too.) Why, didn't you know? Saudi Arabia is holy ground to Osama, who is from a Saudi family, and America had (gasp!) troops stationed there. Why, if we would only understand ol' Osama, we could deal with him. He has his goals, and they are at least somewhat understandable. And so forth. So we get to the R.P. theory of 9/11--It was the fault of American foreign policy.
The paleos sometimes get angry when the neocons make 1939 analogies about the rantings of the man Auster calls "Johnnie," old "Israel must disappear," of Iran. Yet they themselves positively invite such comparisons by showing the rest of us that they are prepared to regard anyone, however evil, however committed to genocide and destruction, as merely another rational actor on the foreign policy scene, and to be negotiated with (aka appeased) as such. When they hail a revisionist history that says what a great thing it would have been if the West had treated even Hitler himself in this manner, why should they complain when we connect the dots?
It all makes me ill. I'll have none of it, and nothing to do with it. But I applaud Auster's and his readers' dissection of it.