Wow, that’s a cowardly piece of writing. He rhetorically asks the cui bono question over and over again, to the point where it becomes tedious. The effect is deliberate because he clearly only has one answer in mind, but he’s too afraid to say the words: Jews, Zionists, Neocons. This sort of game — common in certain paleo quarters  — of “raising questions” without offering the answers they clearly have in mind is an attempt to seem brave without actually risking anything. ~Jonah “Lie For A Just Cause” Goldberg

While other NROniks are in the throes of their latest spasm of foolish Russophobia, several have decided that they haven’t kicked Pat Buchanan recently enough and accuse him (as usual) of anti-Semitic conspiracy-mongering because he has written an article questioning the received wisdom that Putin simply must have been behind the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko.

I’ll say this: Putin killing off Litvinenko with slow-acting radiation poisoning, which makes for a drawn-out, public death in another country, makes as much sense for a trained old KGB hand as does the Ukrainian intelligence services supposedly poisoning Viktor Yushchenko with a rare poison slipped into his soup while he was dining with the head of secret intelligence.  I know in certain neocon quarters they seem to have nothing but contempt for Slavs, but don’t you suppose trained spies and intelligence agents could murder their prominent enemies in a less blatant and less obviously traceable way?  I have no idea whether Putin was behind Litvinenko’s death, and neither does anyone else at this point.  The people peddling conspiracy theories are the ones who already have the case solved and the murderer indicted; naturally, they react badly when anyone begins poking holes in their theory. 

The presumption of much of the Western media that Putin was the villain almost immediately makes me disbelieve it, but I would never rule out that Putin could be as clumsy and ham-fisted in eliminating his enemies as this story suggests he must be.  Supposing for the sake of argument that Putin was responsible, it might have been an expression of overconfidence stemming from the knowledge that he has Europe over a barrel as one of their main suppliers of energy resources.  He might have thought that he could get away with a provocative act with few consequences.  Then again, Litvinenko might have had other enemies who are escaping more extensive scrutiny while the world’s gaze is fixed on Putin.  Considering that Litvinenko was something of a conspiracy loon himself (convinced that the FSB was responsible for the apartment building bombings that Moscow has attributed to the Chechens), it is somehow fitting that his death should become the stuff of new conspiracy theorists.  It does keep bringing us back to the same question: why would Putin kill an exile when no one, except other anti-Putin exiles, would be inclined to believe his earlier criticisms of the government?  Scotland Yard is investigating, and we’ll know more when that investigation is done.  Until then, the Russophobes will mostly be making it up as they go along and sliming anyone who dares suggest that they may be very conveniently jumping to conclusions that happen to suit their pre-existing hostility to Putin and Russia.   

Goldberg says that “in certain paleo quarters” there is a “game” of raising questions to avoid the risk of saying the things we “really” believe (because, unlike him and his colleagues at NR, we paleos are deeply concerned about our public acceptance and obviously seek to curry favour with the great and the good at all times).  Goodness knows that Mr. Buchanan has been shy and retiring when it comes to openly accusing neocons of anything nefarious!  Unlike Mr. Goldberg, we obviously believe in the necessity of dissimulation and lies in the service of a greater good.  Oh, you’ve got us pegged! 

Neocons apparently don’t feel obliged to hide what they really think.  They play a little game where they baselessly accuse other people of the most heinous prejudices and attitudes and allow their accusations to serve as their argument, because they typically have nothing else worth saying.  They also play a game where they simply deny their own existence when someone calls them on the folly of their fantastical policy proposals (no cowardice there, of course).