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Old 03-26-2017, 10:40 AM
Stranger On A Train is offline
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Manor Farm
Posts: 19,051
Actually, following orders is job of military officers (particularly true of the missileer corps, who are drilled to mind-numbing degree to follow through on orders to launch weapons of mass destruction without consideration for the consequences) and failing to follow an order just because an officer doesn't consider it to be moral is essentially a guarantee of court-martial, likely resulting in termination of career.

The presumption in our command and control system for strategic deterrence is that at the executive level the National Command Authority (the President, Secretary of Defense, and other advisors) are rational actors who will behave with prudence and responsibility for the citizenry of the United States and with compassion for humanity overall. When dealing with a narcissitic man-child like Donald Trump who has surrounded himself with adorators, conspiracy theorists, and apocalyptors, the notion of some kind of informal checks and balances that would be present in a normal adult presidency is no longer guaranteed. Would the Secretary of Defense or the commander of Global Strike Command refuse to validate or contravene those orders at peril to prosecution or threat? I sure hope they have that courage and conviction to make the right decision regardless of personal consequences (and sufficient knowledge to distinguish between reflexive paranoia and a legitimate respond to threat). But that is not some assurance built into the system; that is a single individual acting from personal conviction to forestall action resulting in the deaths of millions of people.

You may wish that this is not true or believe that no one in their heart of hearts would ever carry out such an order, but in the system we have today it is factually true that the President of the United States could issue a completely arbitrary order to launch a nuclear strike and there is no law, procedure, or authority that can legitimately countermand it. And this authority is now invested in an ignorant, self-absorbed, thin skinned narcissitic Internet troll whose chief advisors are conspiracy theoriests, religious fundamentalists, and exploitative investment bankers and hedge fund managers. The notion of morality and compassion saving the world from an unjustified attack is not well supported by the available evidence.


Last edited by Stranger On A Train; 03-26-2017 at 10:41 AM.