U.S. nuclear chief would resist 'illegal' presidential strike order

20 November, 2017, 04:07 | Author: Kim Reid
  • Top nuclear commander: I wouldn't carry out an 'illegal' nuclear strike order from Trump

While a top US nuclear military commander made global headlines over the weekend after he stated plainly on Saturday that he would resist any order from President Donald Trump that he deemed "illegal", including an unlawful directive to carry out a nuclear strike, experts warn that individual objections such as that could be overcome by a commander-in-chief determined to launch an attack. Hyten also predicted that the president would then ask him for options that Hyten judged to be legal.

He explained that he would tell the president if something which he ordered was illegal, and they would then come up with options to respond to he situation legally. "It's not that complicated".

Media captionWould the U.S. military disobey a nuclear order from President Trump?

Bruce Blair, a former nuclear missile launch officer and co-founder of the Global Zero group that advocates eliminating nuclear weapons, said the Kehler scenario misses a more important point: The Strategic Command chief might, in effect, be bypassed by the president. Were it to even be so, as Slate noted, experts say the military has "devised legal rationales to justify nearly any sort of nuclear attack that a president might want to order".

In the event that Trump chose to launch a nuclear attack, Hyten would provide him with strike options that are legal.

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Hyten said the USA military is always ready to respond to the threat of North Korea.

Hyten's remarks follow a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing last week in which the president's authority to launch nuclear weapons was held on Capitol Hill.

Forty-one years later, the USA hasn't ruled out first-strike nuclear options and is unlikely to do so during Trump's tenure.

If Donald Tump ordered a nuclear strike that was not legal, the top U.S. nuclear commander says he would not carry it out.

It comes amid a debate over whether certain checks and balances should be put on the president's authority to use nukes.

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"If there is an illegal order presented to the military, the military is obligated to refuse to follow it", he said.

Acton said a president rightly has unchecked authority to use nuclear weapons in response to an actual or imminent nuclear attack.

"We are concerned that the President of the United States is so unstable, is so volatile, has a decision-making process that is so quixotic that he might order a nuclear weapons strike that is wildly out of step with US national security interests", said US Sen.

Republican members of the committee were less blunt in their criticism of Trump's judgment but did seek assurances that there are legal and strategic oversight measures in place to prevent the rash use of nuclear weapons. "We're not stupid people".

Ultimately, some of those who testified warned against legislative changes to rein in the President's authority to exercise nuclear authority.

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