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Old 03-26-2017, 04:37 AM
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Monty is offline
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Join Date: Feb 1999
Location: Beijing, China
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Originally Posted by Stranger On A Train View Post
I can't speak to the morality–frankly, it is difficult to see how a nuclear weapon could be used that would not be definitionally immoral–but the President has plenary authority over the use of nuclear weapons. He doesn't have to ask Congress for permission, he doesn't need a verified attack on the United States by a foreign power, and he isn't required to justify his order. The order is merely verified by someone confirmed by a full vote of the Senate–generally taken to be the Secretary of Defense, but it could be any member of the Cabinet, or even Congressionally approved heads of major agencies–and all verification means is that the order comes directly from the President, and he is not under duress and is in command of his faculties. Alex Wellerstein spells this out and the rationale behind it in his Washington Post monograph, "No one can stop President Trump from using nuclear weapons. That’s by design."

Nobody is denying that there is a confirmation protocol in place to verify that Trump, in this hypothetical, had issued the order. I just don't see an American military officer carrying out such an order.