Bullshit watch: "National security professionals"
Also known as imperial shills and mercenaries. Glenn Greenwald calls out this noxious phrase:
Last week, the Princeton professor Cornel West denounced Presidents Nixon, Bush and Obama as "war criminals", saying that "they have killed innocent people in the name of the struggle for freedom, but they're suspending the law, very much like Wall Street criminals". West specifically cited Obama's covert drone wars and killing of innocent people, including children. What West was doing there was rather straightforward: applying the same legal and moral rules to US aggression that he has applied to other countries and which the US applies to non-friendly, disobedient regimes.
In other words, West did exactly that which is most scorned and taboo in DC policy circles. And thus he had to be attacked, belittled and dismissed as irrelevant. Andrew Exum, the Afghanistan War advocate and Senior Fellow at the Center for New American Security, eagerly : ">volunteered for the task
Note that there's no effort to engage Professor West's arguments. It's pure ad hominem (in the classic sense of the logical fallacy): "who is "Cornell [sic] West" to think that anything he says should be even listened to by "national security professionals"? It's a declaration of exclusion: West is not a member in good standing of DC's Foreign Policy Community, and therefore his views can and should be ignored as Unserious and inconsequential.
Leave aside the inane honorific of "national security professional" (is there a licensing agency for that?). Leave aside the noxious and pompous view that the views of non-national-security-professionals - whatever that means - should be ignored when it comes to militarism, US foreign policy and war crimes. And also leave aside the fact that the vast majority of so-called "national security professionals" have been disastrously wrong about virtually everything of significance over the last decade at least, including when most of them used their platforms and influence not only to persuade others to support the greatest crime of our generation - the aggressive attack on Iraq - but also to scorn war opponents as too Unserious to merit attention. As Samantha Power put it in 2007:
"It was Washington's conventional wisdom that led us into the worst strategic blunder in the history of US foreign policy. The rush to invade Iraq was a position advocated by not only the Bush Administration, but also by editorial pages, the foreign policy establishment of both parties, and majorities in both houses of Congress."
Given that history, if one wants to employ ad hominems: one should be listened to more, not less, if one is denied the title of "national security professional".
The same goes for a lot of the other professional classes, economists especially.