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  #101  
Old 11-21-2017, 06:46 PM
HurricaneDitka HurricaneDitka is online now
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Originally Posted by griffin1977 View Post
Have you been paying attention to news for the last couple of years? The commander of U.S. Strategic Command (along with pretty much every human being that hasn't been living in a cave for the last 2 year) suspects that the current POTUS IS less civil, less human, of less self control than previous Presidents and indeed that a heightened threat of such a gross inhuman illegal action exist. Hence why he made this statement.
I don't think this is even a remotely-accurate description of the context and motivation for the commander of U.S. Strategic Command's statement. Please see this quote from earlier in the thread:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ravenman View Post
First of all, I completely agree with the minority of posters in this thread who have written things to the effect that the Commander of Strategic Command answered the question in the same way that every other military leader would have, or should have. According to a news report I listened to this morning, General Hyten was directly asked a question to the effect of, "Would you obey an illegal order to launch nuclear weapons?" (I was listening to the radio, so I'm not sure how the question was precisely phrased.) The answer, of course, is No. ...

Last edited by HurricaneDitka; 11-21-2017 at 06:50 PM.
  #102  
Old 11-21-2017, 07:36 PM
Tripler Tripler is offline
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Originally Posted by SamuelA View Post
You mention specifically practicing hand jamming actual devices in past posts. That sounded an awful lot like a job that officers don't do.
You're throwing around a personal opinion based on an antiquated stereotype, and it follows through your posts.

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Originally Posted by SamuelA View Post
I stand by my post, though. You're arguing from authority that does sound pretty solid...still wrong. The 1946 act blocks officers like yourself in an active war from deciding when to use the nuclear munitions you might be entrusted with without a Presidential order.
So, illustrate that. I doubt you've actually read the law. I had the opportunity today to go through it today, but I'll wait for your "expertise."

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Originally Posted by SamuelA View Post
A 2017 Act could hypothetically explicitly make the first use of nuclear weapons a war crime, subject to the UCMJ, and would explicitly give all officers in the nuclear chain of command a legitimate reason to resist that illegal order. You know, the thing those JAG guys told you about. Even if the order came from the President.

Right now, the President can't order you to use VX on hippie protesters outside the post, right? Even though he's the CinC. Everyone involved would either refuse or face a court martial where they would be certain to be convicted, right? So the same principle applies for the nukes.
Wow, you sure do grandstand a lot. Those JAG guys you base a personal opinion on taught me about a lot of things, including "proportionality." No court would convict based on your scenario. Your logic (if there's even a shred of it) escapes me.

Tripler
We like to deal in facts here.
  #103  
Old 11-21-2017, 07:50 PM
Ravenman Ravenman is offline
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Originally Posted by HurricaneDitka View Post
I don't think this is even a remotely-accurate description of the context and motivation for the commander of U.S. Strategic Command's statement. Please see this quote from earlier in the thread:
To add to HD’s refutation, I found the text of his answer. I couldn’t find the question.

Quote:
"I provide advice to the President," Hyten said. "He'll tell me what to do, and if it's illegal, guess what's going to happen? I'm gonna say, 'Mr. President, that's illegal.' Guess what he's going to do? He's going to say, 'What would be legal?' And we'll come up with options of a mix of capabilities to respond to whatever the situation is, and that's the way it works. It's not that complicated."
Seems to me that is what we should expect military commanders to do.
  #104  
Old 11-21-2017, 07:51 PM
SamuelA SamuelA is online now
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Originally Posted by Tripler View Post
Wow, you sure do grandstand a lot. Those JAG guys you base a personal opinion on taught me about a lot of things, including "proportionality." No court would convict based on your scenario. Your logic (if there's even a shred of it) escapes me.

Tripler
We like to deal in facts here.
Wait, what? My scenario was that some hippies are holding a sit in and smoke-out, blocking the front gate of a major military base. And I said if the CinC instructed you to nerve gas the protesters, you're sure to go to prison if you comply. You're saying that is not that case?
  #105  
Old 11-21-2017, 10:30 PM
AK84 AK84 is online now
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Originally Posted by Ravenman View Post
Well, SLBMs generally have a range that substantially exceed those of medium- and intermediate-range land-based missiles; but yeah, SLBMs also tend to have about 2/3rds of the range of a land-based ICBM. I don't really consider that to be "much shorter range."
Not true anymore. Trident D5, SS-N-32 and the French M51, have range of 11,-12000 km. Which is a similar range to Minuteman missiles and SS-19 ICBMs. Was true for previous generation SLBMs like Trident C4, SS-N-20, and M45.
  #106  
Old 11-21-2017, 10:57 PM
SamuelA SamuelA is online now
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I wonder what the flight path would look like if you fire from 200 kilometers from the target. Does the whole missile turn sideways and hit hypersonic velocities in the atmosphere, negating any warning? Or can it not withstand that kind of air friction and it has to still take a ballistic path, giving the targets 10+ minutes to respond?

Last edited by SamuelA; 11-21-2017 at 10:58 PM.
  #107  
Old 11-22-2017, 03:59 AM
Ravenman Ravenman is offline
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Originally Posted by AK84 View Post
Not true anymore. Trident D5, SS-N-32 and the French M51, have range of 11,-12000 km. Which is a similar range to Minuteman missiles and SS-19 ICBMs. Was true for previous generation SLBMs like Trident C4, SS-N-20, and M45.
I said “tend to,” not “always.”
  #108  
Old 11-22-2017, 09:29 AM
Tripler Tripler is offline
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I need you to do some actual reading, but more on that in a moment. . .

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Originally Posted by SamuelA View Post
Right now, the President can't order you to use VX on hippie protesters outside the post, right? Even though he's the CinC. Everyone involved would either refuse or face a court martial where they would be certain to be convicted, right? So the same principle applies for the nukes.
Convicted of what? Your rambling (past and present) has implied to me that they'd be court-martialed for failure to follow an order or regulation (Art. 92, UCMJ Punitive Articles).

But to answer your question:
1) That order would never come;
2) Hippie protesters outside the post are a civilian law enforcement issue, not a military problem. Barney Fife doesn't have VX;
3) Proportionality of a military response to that situation is extremely unbalanced, and if those with military weapons' custody refused to carry out what they felt as illegal orders (due to the proportionality of VX on your hippie friends), courts-martial would side with the defendants based on the principle of proportionality.

With your overblown hypothetical situation, you're trying to play smoke-and-mirrors to make a weak point, and it is failing miserably. We're still waiting on your "expertise" on that Atomic Energy Act of '46. It's only 23 pages. . . I'll even provide a link for you. Feel free to chime in and back up your assertions at any time.

If you're actually referring to the War Powers Resolution of 1973 that changed 50 USC § 1541, then say so.

Tripler
I can wait.

Last edited by Tripler; 11-22-2017 at 09:34 AM.
  #109  
Old 11-22-2017, 11:17 AM
eschereal eschereal is offline
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nm

Last edited by eschereal; 11-22-2017 at 11:17 AM.
  #110  
Old 11-22-2017, 11:40 AM
SamuelA SamuelA is online now
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Originally Posted by Tripler View Post
I need you to do some actual reading, but more on that in a moment. . .



Convicted of what? Your rambling (past and present) has implied to me that they'd be court-martialed for failure to follow an order or regulation (Art. 92, UCMJ Punitive Articles).

But to answer your question:
1) That order would never come;
2) Hippie protesters outside the post are a civilian law enforcement issue, not a military problem. Barney Fife doesn't have VX;
3) Proportionality of a military response to that situation is extremely unbalanced, and if those with military weapons' custody refused to carry out what they felt as illegal orders (due to the proportionality of VX on your hippie friends), courts-martial would side with the defendants based on the principle of proportionality.

With your overblown hypothetical situation, you're trying to play smoke-and-mirrors to make a weak point, and it is failing miserably. We're still waiting on your "expertise" on that Atomic Energy Act of '46. It's only 23 pages. . . I'll even provide a link for you. Feel free to chime in and back up your assertions at any time.

If you're actually referring to the War Powers Resolution of 1973 that changed 50 USC § 1541, then say so.

Tripler
I can wait.
The main reason we are worried about an incompetent blowhard in the Oval office with poor judgement is if he starts a nuclear war, it would be an ignominious end to the entire experiment of America. Not to mention most of us would die.

Hence it's actually relevant whether or not military leaders would obey an order to fire on North Korea...or China or Russia.

"VX on hippies" was simply to give an example of a case where the law clearly says no, it's a no go.

Your contention is that it is impossible for Congress to pass any law that de facto means "no first use", which China as a major world power has also declared. So that's the "on topic" point. I read from a credible source that the effect of the atomic energy act was to define the mechanisms by which the nukes could be used. So I'll read your link, but the main point of discussion is that I contend there is a way Congress could force "no first use" to be the law of the land.

Oh, and the President's direct power over the nukes probably comes from "The President from time to time may direct the Commission (1) to
deliver such quantities of fissionable materials or weapons to the armed
forces for such use as lie deems necessary in the interest of national
defense or (2) to authorize the armed forces to manufacture, produce,
or acquire any equipment or device utilizing fissionable material or
atomic energy as a militar wmpon"


That seems to give him exclusive command over them. This could be ammended.

Last edited by SamuelA; 11-22-2017 at 11:45 AM.
  #111  
Old 11-22-2017, 11:52 AM
HurricaneDitka HurricaneDitka is online now
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Originally Posted by SamuelA View Post
The main reason we are worried about an incompetent blowhard in the Oval office with poor judgement is if he starts a nuclear war, it would be an ignominious end to the entire experiment of America. Not to mention most of us would die. ...
The only plausible way I see an end to America, with most of us dead, is a nuclear war with Russia. And Trump is a good bit less likely to start a war with Russia than Hillary would have been.
  #112  
Old 11-22-2017, 12:08 PM
SamuelA SamuelA is online now
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Originally Posted by HurricaneDitka View Post
The only plausible way I see an end to America, with most of us dead, is a nuclear war with Russia. And Trump is a good bit less likely to start a war with Russia than Hillary would have been.
I hope you're right. Don't forget China, though. They don't have enough ammo to kill "most" of us, but they have enough nukes to kill "a heck of a lot" of us.
  #113  
Old 11-22-2017, 12:09 PM
Tripler Tripler is offline
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Originally Posted by SamuelA View Post
I stand by my post, though. You're arguing from authority that does sound pretty solid...still wrong. The 1946 act blocks officers like yourself in an active war from deciding when to use the nuclear munitions you might be entrusted with without a Presidential order.
I argue from a position of experience, and hard fact backed up with evidence. You argue from a position of skimming documents to read into what you want to, applying loose 'armchair quarterback' experience (if that). You are wrong in your logic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SamuelA View Post
The main reason we are worried about an incompetent blowhard in the Oval office with poor judgement is if he starts a nuclear war, it would be an ignominious end to the entire experiment of America. Not to mention most of us would die.
I agree with this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SamuelA View Post
Oh, and the President's direct power over the nukes probably comes from "The President from time to time may direct the Commission (1) to
deliver such quantities of fissionable materials or weapons to the armed
forces for such use as lie deems necessary in the interest of national
defense or (2) to authorize the armed forces to manufacture, produce,
or acquire any equipment or device utilizing fissionable material or
atomic energy as a militar wmpon"


That seems to give him exclusive command over them. This could be ammended.
For a third time, you don't read the full document, and again are wrong. The Atomic Energy Act of 1946 establishes the Atomic Energy Commission and the infrastructure for the acquisition, manufacture, storage, custodianship, and technology sharing (w/allied nations) of weapons. This specific paragraph directs the AEC to act as the middleman for procurement/acquisition of fissionable material to supply the DoD, and to allow the DoD to acquire equipment independent of fissionable material. It does nothing to allow authorization of employment of weapons. Your interpretation of "seems" is as loose as POTUS's thumbs on Twitter--stop spreading malarkey. As far as amendments, the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 may have already changed it--I haven't looked, nor is it important to this discussion.

Procurement vs. employment are completely different channels. Things have evolved away from the AEC to run through today's NNSA for procurement, however once the weapons are procured, they are 'deployed' to the DoD who maintains custody and the procedures for employment of those weapons. The Atomic Energy Act of 1946 does nothing to dictate DoD (what was then the War Department) employment policies or procedures. Beyond the War Powers Resolution/50 USC § 1541 as 'root legislation' to establish procedures, I won't comment on what's in place today.

Tripler
If you want to go through the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, it's 543 pages. Good luck.

Last edited by Tripler; 11-22-2017 at 12:10 PM.
  #114  
Old 11-22-2017, 12:30 PM
Ravenman Ravenman is offline
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Originally Posted by SamuelA View Post
Your contention is that it is impossible for Congress to pass any law that de facto means "no first use", which China as a major world power has also declared.
I'm not so sure that such a law would be constitutional. Every country is entitled to self-defense, and there's no requirement that a country has to wait to take the first blow before counterattacking.

One can imagine many scenarios in which a President would have to launch an attack -- either nuclear or conventional -- to prevent massive harm from occurring to the United States. I think most people would agree that it is the President's duty to do so, as commander in chief.

Could Congress dictate that, under certain circumstances, the President may not defend the country before actual harm is inflicted upon us? I don't think so -- and the phrase "the Constitution is not a suicide pact" comes to mind.

The trouble is that once anyone concedes that the President may attack another country in anticipatory self-defense under the most reasonable scenarios, one cannot play backseat driver to a really shitty President and second-guess what constitutes a "reasonable scenario."

Which is why we need good Presidents. And if we don't have good Presidents, then it recalls the maxim: "Democracy is the belief that the people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard."


Quote:
Oh, and the President's direct power over the nukes probably comes from "The President from time to time may direct the Commission (1) to
deliver such quantities of fissionable materials or weapons to the armed
forces for such use as lie deems necessary in the interest of national
defense or (2) to authorize the armed forces to manufacture, produce,
or acquire any equipment or device utilizing fissionable material or
atomic energy as a militar wmpon"


That seems to give him exclusive command over them. This could be ammended.
It's kind of embarassing when someone goes to such extreme lengths not to admit they were in error. That section, in its plain reading, has to do with the manufacture and custody of nuclear weapons, and says literally nothing about the use of nuclear weapons in war. The authority to use instruments of war clearly derives from the President's power as commander in chief. The ability of Congress to determine how the military is armed clearly derives from its Article I power to provide and maintain an army and navy.
  #115  
Old 11-22-2017, 12:54 PM
SamuelA SamuelA is online now
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Originally Posted by Ravenman View Post
It's kind of embarassing when someone goes to such extreme lengths not to admit they were in error. That section, in its plain reading, has to do with the manufacture and custody of nuclear weapons, and says literally nothing about the use of nuclear weapons in war. The authority to use instruments of war clearly derives from the President's power as commander in chief. The ability of Congress to determine how the military is armed clearly derives from its Article I power to provide and maintain an army and navy.
Don't blame me, blame The Washington Post. They are the ones that clearly state that, and I assumed they were credible.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/poste...ats-by-design/

Maybe Tripler's a better source than WaPo, but that would not have been my default assumption. My default assumption was he was an E6 or so former bomb defusal tech. Very much a respectable job, but not one that would be involved in this issue.

Also, back to the issue at hand. Everyone agrees that a nuclear salvo is basically an immediate escalation to total war, right? Since only Congress is supposed to be allowed to declare war, couldn't they write a law that states that a nuclear salvo is defined as a war, and that it is unlawful without the consent of Congress, except in a situation that an enemy power has launched a nuclear salvo at the United States, as determined by <specific military officers and the President>

Last edited by SamuelA; 11-22-2017 at 12:58 PM.
  #116  
Old 11-22-2017, 01:10 PM
Ravenman Ravenman is offline
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Originally Posted by SamuelA View Post
Don't blame me, blame The Washington Post. They are the ones that clearly state that, and I assumed they were credible.
I read the article, and I think you are simply not understanding some part of it. Or perhaps reading what you want to read. But it doesn't seem to say what you think it does.
  #117  
Old 11-22-2017, 01:40 PM
SamuelA SamuelA is online now
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Originally Posted by Ravenman View Post
I read the article, and I think you are simply not understanding some part of it. Or perhaps reading what you want to read. But it doesn't seem to say what you think it does.
This is what I think it says, something Tripler disagrees with :

When the legal framework for nuclear weapons was developed, the fear wasn’t about irrational presidents but trigger-happy generals. The Atomic Energy Act of 1946, which was passed with President Harry Truman’s signature after nine months of acrimonious congressional hearings, firmly put the power of the atomic bomb in the hands of the president and the civilian components of the executive branch.

Every post I have made was assuming that this paragraph was true.

Last edited by SamuelA; 11-22-2017 at 01:40 PM.
  #118  
Old 11-22-2017, 02:47 PM
Ravenman Ravenman is offline
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Originally Posted by SamuelA View Post
This is what I think it says, something Tripler disagrees with :

When the legal framework for nuclear weapons was developed, the fear wasn’t about irrational presidents but trigger-happy generals. The Atomic Energy Act of 1946, which was passed with President Harry Truman’s signature after nine months of acrimonious congressional hearings, firmly put the power of the atomic bomb in the hands of the president and the civilian components of the executive branch.

Every post I have made was assuming that this paragraph was true.
It is true, just not in the way you seem to be assuming. And then from your assumptions you are extrapolating, throwing your argument way off into the woods.

Congress has plenary power to determine the armaments of the military. From the days of the Atomic Energy Commission, to today's National Nuclear Security Administration, virtually all authority related to designing, building, and maintaining nuclear weapons themselves (but not delivery systems) has been in the hands of civilian agencies.

So when the Government wants to build or refurbish a nuclear weapon, according to various policies and laws, Congress gives money to NNSA to do the work on the explodey parts and to the military to do work on the parts that get the bomb to where it is going. This is completely in keeping with the Article II powers of Congress, to provide and maintain a military, and to determine how best to do it.

But just because the acquisition and maintenance of a nuclear weapon (except for the delivery system) is a responsibility directed by law for a civilian agency to carry out, does not mean that Congress has seized powers given to the President under Article I to be the commander in chief of the armed forces.

You can't just say, "Hey, there's already a law that says that NNSA is responsible for building nukes... so a new law can put limits on the Article I powers of the President!"

It doesn't work that way. It never has.
  #119  
Old 11-23-2017, 09:45 AM
Tripler Tripler is offline
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Originally Posted by SamuelA View Post
Don't blame me, blame The Washington Post. They are the ones that clearly state that, and I assumed they were credible.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/poste...ats-by-design/
I blame you. This is the first time a Washington Post article has made an appearance in this thread. Your only other link in this thread, from post #22, was from some lobby group. After being called out on facts or for citations, you pursued a personal attack in an attempt to undermine credibility (very Presidential, by the way)--that failed. Then, again, you go out and drag up some other link that, not before seen in this discussion, you hope will support your position. There have been others calling you out for misinformation, or requesting citations, and this is another example of you trolling the internet for cites that support your positions after the fact. Bottom line: I blame your logic in trying to build an alibi after you've been caught bullshitting red-handed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SamuelA View Post
Maybe Tripler's a better source than WaPo, but that would not have been my default assumption. My default assumption was he was an E6 or so former bomb defusal tech. Very much a respectable job, but not one that would be involved in this issue.
You continue to assume too much. I have indicated before that your assumptions are based on personal opinions, not fact. There have been other posts on the SDMB that indicate I have taken a new position.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SamuelA View Post
This is what I think it says, something Tripler disagrees with :

When the legal framework for nuclear weapons was developed, the fear wasn’t about irrational presidents but trigger-happy generals. The Atomic Energy Act of 1946, which was passed with President Harry Truman’s signature after nine months of acrimonious congressional hearings, firmly put the power of the atomic bomb in the hands of the president and the civilian components of the executive branch.
I agree that you have just cut and pasted text from the Washington Post article into this thread: thus, your argument that I disagree with what it says is incorrect.

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Originally Posted by SamuelA View Post
Every post I have made was assuming that this paragraph was true.
No. Every post you have made, as written, was about assuming each previous citation was true. The Washington Post article is poorly written, because it glosses over the topic and, as we now know, is incorrect in its assumption about the AEA of '46. This article, I agree, is misinformed, but from a historically credible source. I would understand confusion if this is the first citation you had provided; however it is too late in the discussion to be exculpatory.

Tripler
We're done here. This has become a spin-off from the OP.
  #120  
Old 11-23-2017, 10:06 AM
SamuelA SamuelA is online now
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Originally Posted by Tripler View Post
I blame you. This is the first time a Washington Post article has made an appearance in this thread. Your only other link in this thread, from post #22, was from some lobby group. After being called out on facts or for citations, you pursued a personal attack in an attempt to undermine credibility (very Presidential, by the way)--that failed. Then, again, you go out and drag up some other link that, not before seen in this discussion, you hope will support your position. There have been others calling you out for misinformation, or requesting citations, and this is another example of you trolling the internet for cites that support your positions after the fact. Bottom line: I blame your logic in trying to build an alibi after you've been caught bullshitting red-handed.
I would understand confusion if this is the first citation you had provided; however it is too late in the discussion to be exculpatory.

Tripler
We're done here. This has become a spin-off from the OP.
You haven't proven shit. I read the Washington post article, then another article specifically about the AEA of 1946 that seemed to confirm it. So I posted it as a more direct source.

And in pretending you're an attorney you're just ducking the original question. You have yet to provide a shred of evidence for the President's power to start - and finish - a total war on an enemy nation in 45 minutes - being something we must accept. That Congress is powerless to pass any law that could return their warmaking powers to them, in accordance with the Constitution.

My post is based solely and entirely on a newspaper article from a credible source. You have asspulled this supposed powerlessness of Congress to do anything - even though Congress has been holding meetings on this very thing - and in attacking me in post after post, you haven't said shit to justify your position. Other than various arguments from authority, authority you don't have. (unless you are actually a retired General and Constitutional law scholar and you mispoke - then I'd accept your authority without explanation)

I mean for one thing, you could, uh, declare that the nukes don't belong to the military and can only be released with the consent of Congress or under a procedure as decreed by Congress. A legal fiction, perhaps, but are you a Constitutional lawyer, too? That seems to almost be what the 1946 AEA says. Just, it defines the President as being the caretaker of this procedure, and it doesn't have to be some con-man who lies his way into office.

Last edited by SamuelA; 11-23-2017 at 10:09 AM.
  #121  
Old 11-23-2017, 10:50 AM
Tripler Tripler is offline
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Originally Posted by SamuelA View Post
You haven't proven shit. I read the Washington post article, then another article specifically about the AEA of 1946 that seemed to confirm it. So I posted it as a more direct source.
You still don't read things, do you?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SamuelA View Post
And in pretending you're an attorney you're just ducking the original question. You have yet to provide a shred of evidence for the President's power to start - and finish - a total war on an enemy nation in 45 minutes - being something we must accept. That Congress is powerless to pass any law that could return their warmaking powers to them, in accordance with the Constitution.
I never implied anything about being an attorney, nor am I ducking a question--I simply pulled the bullshit card on you. I have provided "a shred." It was done in calling you out and highlighting US Code allowing the President to take immediate action on an attack on the United States. I have made no assertions to any other statement; now you're just throwing smoke grenades to deflect attention from your failures, and trying to redirect attention from them back to the OP.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SamuelA View Post
My post is based solely and entirely on a newspaper article from a credible source. You have asspulled this supposed powerlessness of Congress to do anything - even though Congress has been holding meetings on this very thing - and in attacking me in post after post, you haven't said shit to justify your position. Other than various arguments from authority, authority you don't have. (unless you are actually a retired General and Constitutional law scholar and you mispoke - then I'd accept your authority without explanation)
Your posts have been based on a timeline of articles with increasing relative credibility. You sure as hell started out with a whimper, and have seemed to unquestioningly taken everything you read as Gospel.

Please illustrate to all of us where I indicated anything about the "powerlessness of Congress to do anything." Post #15 asks a question. Tell me what position I have taken in that respect. My time has been highlighting your inconsistencies and asking you for evidence to support it. I attack your logic. And I have authority you apparently don't--they're called 'facts.'

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Originally Posted by SamuelA View Post
I mean for one thing, you could, uh, declare that the nukes don't belong to the military and can only be released with the consent of Congress or under a procedure as decreed by Congress. A legal fiction, perhaps, but are you a Constitutional lawyer, too? That seems to almost be what the 1946 AEA says. Just, it defines the President as being the caretaker of this procedure, and it doesn't have to be some con-man who lies his way into office.
You still don't read things, do you?

And you're basing a debate on what things "seem to almost be"? Fissile material (now called SNM for "Special Nuclear Material") does not belong to the military--it is manufactured by, and belongs to the DoE which deploys it to the DoD. This started with the AEA of 1946. Only the President can authorize the employment of nuclear weapons that are in the custody of the DoD, based on procedures (which are classified and I do not have access to) implemented to support 50 USC § 1541.

Tripler
I can wait.
  #122  
Old 11-24-2017, 06:35 PM
SamuelA SamuelA is online now
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Originally Posted by Tripler View Post
That whoosh you heard was one of my W88/Mk 5s sailing over your head. You completely missed the point.

In retrospect however, if the Congress did enact such a set of laws they'd be rendered moot because the POTUS (despite the War Powers Resolution of '73) can initiate military action immediately, basically putting us in a de facto state of war.

I'm curious on what checks and balances Congress could put on the POTUS to limit such things, especially in the case of a nuclear release. I'm not talking about one officer taking it upon himself to declare it an 'illegal order' or simply feigning that it's not the President in order to deflect the orders. The system is what it is. What could Congress do to change it?

Tripler
A legislative solution, maybe?
So what we have here is an issue where it actually is a question of Constitutional law. Congress could write an infinite number of laws intended to block the President from starting a war. And we have a clear inherent conflict in powers between "commander in chief" and "Congress declares war".

So the deciding factor is actually how the Supreme Court would rule, and also, how could Congress technically enact this.

Could they declare the nukes, being a war in themselves, are not under control of the military chain of command but are nominally under control of Congress? And then Congress declares that specific postings - which Congress can specify as I understand it* - of officers in high command are to be given authority to retaliate under specific instructions written into law? So a first strike would require Congressional authorization through a declaration of war.
  #123  
Old 11-24-2017, 09:19 PM
Ravenman Ravenman is offline
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Jesus Christ, this thread has become a parody of itself.
  #124  
Old 11-25-2017, 02:30 AM
SarahWitch SarahWitch is offline
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Originally Posted by griffin1977 View Post
I know this has been discussed here in the past but this comment by the commander of U.S. Strategic Command confused me:



So when this has been discussed here and elsewhere, the general conclusion is that the president (as commander in chief) has ultimate decision making power when it comes to when and how to launch America's nuclear arsenal, regardless of whether congress has or has not declared war. So, given that, what would make such an order illegal?
This notion that "it doesn't matter how it started, if the world's gone," is highly emotional-- as well as incorrect; since a nuclear strike would (probably) not blow the Earth apart and kill everyone. Rather, nations could continue to exist and function, and their response would depend on the circumstances surrounding the attack; for example if North Korea were to lob a nuclear missile at someone just because Kim Jong Fat got a chubby from it, then clearly every nation in the world would turn against him and basically issue a Kim Jong Fat-WA.
In contrast, if Trump fired first then it might... change things.

Last edited by SarahWitch; 11-25-2017 at 02:33 AM.
  #125  
Old 11-25-2017, 04:54 AM
SarahWitch SarahWitch is offline
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So what we have here is an issue where it actually is a question of Constitutional law. Congress could write an infinite number of laws intended to block the President from starting a war. And we have a clear inherent conflict in powers between "commander in chief" and "Congress declares war".

So the deciding factor is actually how the Supreme Court would rule, and also, how could Congress technically enact this.

Could they declare the nukes, being a war in themselves, are not under control of the military chain of command but are nominally under control of Congress? And then Congress declares that specific postings - which Congress can specify as I understand it* - of officers in high command are to be given authority to retaliate under specific instructions written into law? So a first strike would require Congressional authorization through a declaration of war.
Great, and when the bill passes one section of Congress, the enemy attacks while it's waiting for the other to vote on it. Or just when it is proposed. The president is not the Commander in Chief so that emergency decisions can waddle through Congress. It's why the legislature is not the executive.

Last edited by SarahWitch; 11-25-2017 at 04:55 AM.
  #126  
Old 11-25-2017, 05:08 AM
Czarcasm Czarcasm is online now
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And the President is not an emperor.
  #127  
Old 11-25-2017, 09:18 AM
Tripler Tripler is offline
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Originally Posted by SamuelA View Post
So what we have here is an issue where it actually is a question of Constitutional law. . .[Snipped for brevity. ]
Here's how I see this: with the instruments of any nation's power (Military, Economic, Diplomatic, or Informational), I can see a direct Russian nuclear launch against the US being under the Military scheme, where the President already has the authority to respond.

Shift gears a second, and say that 'Atlantica' has hosted websites that have attacked US servers, has hosted bank accounts that have funded terrorism, and knows how to leverage that power; then I can see where the Congress could draft legislation over time to authorize and declare war against 'Atlantica'.

My point, is that it's the speed of a military action. Can Congress pass laws to dictate the pace of instantaneous war? That's what I'm curious about. . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by SamuelA View Post
Could they declare the nukes, being a war in themselves, are not under control of the military chain of command but are nominally under control of Congress? And then Congress declares that specific postings - which Congress can specify as I understand it* - of officers in high command are to be given authority to retaliate under specific instructions written into law? So a first strike would require Congressional authorization through a declaration of war.
Hey, you're confusing things again (not being snarky, just clarifying). I can manufacture a bullet, and give it to you. The bullet is an inanimate object--the Congress decides where that bullet is loaded (SSBNs, silos, etc.), and the POTUS decides when that bullet is shot at the enemy.

My question, and I think the OP's question is, when can Congress weigh in to limit an unstable shooter of that bullet?

Tripler
I stand hard and fast on this: that bullet is inanimate, and doesn't know right from wrong.
  #128  
Old 11-25-2017, 12:23 PM
Ravenman Ravenman is offline
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My point, is that it's the speed of a military action. Can Congress pass laws to dictate the pace of instantaneous war? That's what I'm curious about. . .
During the Constitutional Convention, there was a debate on whether Congress should have the power to “make war.” That power was specifically changed to “declare war” on the basis that expecting a legislature to act with alacrity in the face of an imminent threat was an unreasonable assumption.

So when you hear a certain person express an opinion that Congress can dictate how the President may respond to an imminent threat, and the basis of such an opinion is a Washington Post article, we should remind ourselves that for better or worse this issue of whether the President can act without Congress in self-defense of the country was settled conclusively centuries ago.


Quote:
The bullet is an inanimate object--the Congress decides where that bullet is loaded (SSBNs, silos, etc.)....
There is something to this point, but because so many basic facts have been twisted already, this has to be clarified. Congress does not determine what weapons go in what weapons system. Congress has no control over whether an Ohio class submarine goes on patrol with a full load out of MIRVed missiles or goes out totally empty.

Congress is the ultimate authority on how many missiles and submarines we buy and own. And treaties, made with the advice and consent of the Senate, have created lawful limits on the numbers of ICBMs and other delivery systems.

But this is not in any way a day-to-day power exercised by her legislature.

Quote:
My question, and I think the OP's question is, when can Congress weigh in to limit an unstable shooter of that bullet?
Congress has some considerable tools at its disposal - if it could muster support for a veto override Congress could direct the total elimination of all nuclear arms in the US. But when it comes to trying to put limits on how the Commander in Chief can exercise legitimate self-defense of an actual or imminent attack (as distinguished from a President starting a preventative war to neutralize a threatening country while it is still weak), then Congress cannot impinge on that constitutional responsibility of the Executive.
  #129  
Old 11-25-2017, 02:14 PM
SamuelA SamuelA is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripler View Post
My question, and I think the OP's question is, when can Congress weigh in to limit an unstable shooter of that bullet?

Tripler
I stand hard and fast on this: that bullet is inanimate, and doesn't know right from wrong.
This is a problem. Stepping back from nuclear arms for a moment - let's suppose that Trump orders the military to invade Canada and depose Justin Trudeau. Immediately, without preparation. Absurd? Sure. But the 101st and 82nd dutifully parachute in, a poorly organized mess of armored vehicles start crossing the border, and it's the clusterfuck of all clusterfucks.

When Trudeau refuses an offer to surrender, cruise missile volleys are launched at Canadian military bases. Their modern, well trained military do the obvious and melt into the woods and urban areas. They do continue to wear uniforms, but they have access to modern weapons and tactics, and their IEDs can reliably kill an Abrams.

So American soldiers start dying in relatively large numbers. Not enough to make any strategic difference - the numbers and equipment disparity is too large - but enough that this disaster looks really bad. Congress is pressured to end the war as fast as possible...how can they even do it?

I guess they could freeze all funds, instructing the pentagon not to spend a penny supporting the war. But that just means that units in the cold of Canada would start running out of supplies and fuel and none of their requisitions for replacement equipment and warm winter clothing are going through. And it would directly cause more casualties, as this means they can't get the gear needed to counter whatever it is the remaining Canadian forces are doing. (better mine detectors or more air support or thermal sensors or whatever). Politically untenable.
  #130  
Old 11-25-2017, 02:51 PM
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In such a patently crazy and illegal invasion of Canada, Congress could simply remove the President for starting an illegal war.

And don’t give me that “oh that will never happen” line. You just suggested an even more far-fetched invasion of Canada.
  #131  
Old 11-25-2017, 03:09 PM
HMS Irruncible HMS Irruncible is online now
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
I suspect that this is what would actually happen, if Trump were to order a completely irrational nuclear attack (one on Mexico, for instance, or a target within the US): The Secretary of Defense would shoot him, ask for confirmation of the order from President Pence, and then resign his post and turn himself in to the authorities.
Practical question: Realistically, would the SecDef or his deputy ever be packing heat in the presence of POTUS? Would anyone? Considering the Secret Service ought to be protecting him, would there be a gaggle of Secret Service just hanging out in the NORAD situation room sitting on the WOPR or whatever?
  #132  
Old 11-25-2017, 03:09 PM
SamuelA SamuelA is online now
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In such a patently crazy and illegal invasion of Canada, Congress could simply remove the President for starting an illegal war.

And don’t give me that “oh that will never happen” line.
They didn't remove Bush...
  #133  
Old 11-25-2017, 03:43 PM
Ravenman Ravenman is offline
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They didn't remove Bush...
After Congress voted for the war? Yes. Which is my point.
  #134  
Old 11-26-2017, 10:07 AM
Tripler Tripler is offline
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Originally Posted by SamuelA View Post
This is a problem. Stepping back from nuclear arms for a moment - let's suppose that Trump orders the military to invade Canada and depose Justin Trudeau. Immediately, without preparation. Absurd? Sure.
Well, at least that's out into the open, to start. . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by SamuelA View Post
But the 101st and 82nd dutifully parachute in, a poorly organized mess of armored vehicles start crossing the border, and it's the clusterfuck of all clusterfucks.

When Trudeau refuses an offer to surrender, cruise missile volleys are launched at Canadian military bases. Their modern, well trained military do the obvious and melt into the woods and urban areas. They do continue to wear uniforms, but they have access to modern weapons and tactics, and their IEDs can reliably kill an Abrams.

So American soldiers start dying in relatively large numbers. Not enough to make any strategic difference - the numbers and equipment disparity is too large - but enough that this disaster looks really bad. Congress is pressured to end the war as fast as possible...how can they even do it?

I guess they could freeze all funds, instructing the pentagon not to spend a penny supporting the war. But that just means that units in the cold of Canada would start running out of supplies and fuel and none of their requisitions for replacement equipment and warm winter clothing are going through. And it would directly cause more casualties, as this means they can't get the gear needed to counter whatever it is the remaining Canadian forces are doing. (better mine detectors or more air support or thermal sensors or whatever). Politically untenable.
I think you're trying to make a point that Congress can halt appropriations to an ongoing military operation/campaign. That is true, but knowing the political climate (with respect to the Congress) and structure, there's nothing from POTUS from ordering an immediate seizure of 'OBJ STANLEY CUP' from Toronto. With the speed/pace of warfare, Congressional action is an afterthought pending an "immediate threat" to the United States. My point, and I believe the point of the OP, is the question of what can stop POTUS from initiating a military operation, be it conventional or nuclear, be it illegal (a definition for politicians), immoral (a definition for the public opinion) or ill-advised (a definition for the POTUS' conscience).

Tripler
I am on the fence about the War Powers Resolution.

Last edited by Tripler; 11-26-2017 at 10:08 AM.
  #135  
Old 11-26-2017, 10:51 AM
Muffin Muffin is offline
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Stepping back from nuclear arms for a moment - let's suppose that Trump orders the military to invade Canada and depose Justin Trudeau.
Trump taking out Canada's leadership on a whim without there being any remotely supportable reason?

Congress acts immediately to shut down Trump under via 25 Amend. or Art. 2 s. 4 the moment it gets wind of Trump intention. Problem solved.

Failing that, any number of rational people (ranging from a White House intern to the Deputy Commander of Norad) restrain or take out Trump.

Any of more than two dozen NATO countries take out Trump and/or provide support for Canada taking out Trump.


Whichever way you cut it, in the aftermath Canada joins the nuclear club in short order. And yes, we have the knowledge and experience to do it easily.

Last edited by Muffin; 11-26-2017 at 10:54 AM.
  #136  
Old 11-26-2017, 12:36 PM
HurricaneDitka HurricaneDitka is online now
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... Whichever way you cut it, in the aftermath Canada joins the nuclear club in short order. And yes, we have the knowledge and experience to do it easily.
Of course we're not going to war against Canada, but if we did, I'm reasonably confident that "no more Canada" is a far likelier outcome than "Canada gets nukes".
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