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

Frederick Owens
November 20, 2017

Air Force Gen John Hyten, said as head of the US Strategic Command he provided advice to a president and expected that a legal alternative would be found.

For example, what would happen if an American president ordered a nuclear strike, for whatever reason, and the four-star general at Strategic Command balked or refused, believing it to be illegal? I'm gonna say, 'Mr.

'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, ' he explained. "He did not know the microphone attached to his lapel was on when he said, "(If we) become the party of Roy Moore and Donald Trump, we are toast".

The comments came after USA senators questioned what authority Trump had to go to war, use nuclear weapons and enter into or terminate worldwide agreements, as tensions over North Korea's nuclear and missile programs grows. "When you have this responsibility, how do you not think about it?" While Hyten is correct that he and other senior defense officials would have the opportunity to consult on any launch if the president followed protocol, per Slate, the actual formal chain of command for nuclear launches is direct from the president to a one-star general at the National Military Command Center.

Hyten said he's talked it over with Trump.

Brian McKeon, who served as principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy in the Obama administration, told the committee: "I think hard cases make bad law, and I think if we were to change the decision-making process in some way because of a distrust of this President, I think that would be an unfortunate precedent".

While the President retains that authority, Hyten publicly emphasized that the U.S. military always has the obligation to follow only legal orders, including those entailing the launch of nuclear weapons. This troubles experts who worry about a president with the sole - some say unchecked - authority to initiate nuclear war.

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It's hard to overstate how thoroughly the US military has prepared for doomsday - the day America gets into a nuclear shooting war.

He said that thinking about how to respond in the event of an illegal order is standard, and that he wouldn't execute an unlawful order because of the consequences. And from there the news outlet reports, the order "would go to the men and women who would turn the launch keys". You could go to jail for the rest of your life, ' he explained.

At the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Tuesday, the first one of this kind in over 40 years, some senators raised the alarm about Trump, who has threatened to unleash "fire and fury" against North Korea, pulling the nuclear trigger.

These comments come following Trump's most recent flagrant comments about North Korea.

President Trump has not publicly commented on Gen Hyten's remarks.

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

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