US General: Illegal Nuclear Launch Can Be Refused

 In Military

Since the left is nervous about President Trump’s temperment, Air Force Gen. John Hyten, head of STRATCOM (Strategic Command),  reminded a Security Forum in Halifax, Nova Scotia, that an illegal nuclear launch could be refused. Of course, some of the more liberal news outlets wrote the headline like this: “General says he would refuse Trump’s Nuclear Order,” which is not exactly what he said.

The General stated that IF an illegal nuclear launch order were given, he would sit down with the President and talk about other options that are legal. He clearly stated that he had spoken with President Trump on the matter before.

“I think some people think we’re stupid. We’re not stupid people. We think about these things a lot. When you have this responsibility how do you not think about it?” Gen John Hyten

The fact of the matter is that the US Military is never obligated to follow illegal orders. Executing an illegal order is a good way to go to prison “for the rest of your life,” as the General put it. The law of armed conflict takes into account numerous things including, “necessity, distinction, proportionality, and unnecessary suffering” when deciding whether an order is illegal.

General Hyten referred to the case of the massacre of over 500 people at the village of My Lai in Vietnam. The order given by Lt William Calley to murder the villagers was obviously an illegal one, yet his troops followed him blindly, until an Army helicopter pilot saw what was going on and placed the helicopter between the fleeing villagers and the offending troops and threatened to open fire. That incident has been the subject of training and policy within the US Military for many years.

But what would happen if that illegal order actually came?

“I provide advice to the president, he will tell me what to do. And if it’s illegal, guess what’s going to happen? I’m going to say, ‘Mr. President, that’s illegal.’ And guess what he’s going to do? He’s going to say, ‘What would be legal?’ And we’ll come up with options, with a mix of capabilities to respond to whatever the situation is, and that’s the way it works. It’s not that complicated.” General Hyten

When the former head of STRATCOM, retired Gen. Robert Kehler  spoke to the Senate foreign Relations Committee earlier in November, he reiterated that the military is not obliged to execute illegal orders.

STRATCOM is charged with nuclear response, among many other issues. Their mission statement:

“USSTRATCOM employs tailored nuclear, cyber, space, global strike, joint electronic warfare, missile defense, and intelligence capabilities to deter aggression, decisively respond if deterrence fails, assure allies, shape adversary behavior, defeat terror, and define the force of the future.”

The main point for STRATCOM is stratgic deterrence. Nobody is planning a nuclear holocaust for anyone, President Trump’s tweets notwithstanding.

The left is consistently “concerned” about Trump’s temperment with regard to having “his finger on the button.” The President alone chooses the timing of a nuclear strike, but there are many cogs in the wheels after he does so. There are approximately 8 steps to nuclear launch, and all sorts of issues could crop up in the process.

“The president first talks to advisors such as the Omaha-based four-star general at the helm of the U.S. Strategic Command. The president’s conclusion is then carried out through a series of codes and encrypted messages that travel through the Pentagon to the land- or sea-based launch sites, where control officers simultaneously turn their security keys to initiate the launch.” CNBC article

So, liberals, no worries about whether President Trump is going to “push the button” on a nuclear strike.  That won’t stop them from making noise about it, calling Trump “crazy” and wringing their hands over him having any access whatsoever to the nuclear codes. Whether or not he is truly that hotheaded appears to be a matter of opinion.

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