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Sun Jan 24, 2021, 03:37 PM

More hands needed on the nuclear football

Fears about President Trump's unilateral access to nuclear launch codes in the remaining days of his troubled administration led Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and others to call for limiting the President's ability to authorize a nuclear strike. What may have seemed like political theater is in fact a serious and known gap in accountability that lawmakers and scholars have tried to address for decades without success.

Trump was not the first embattled U.S. leader whose access to the launch codes spooked Congress. President Nixon, who revealed to the press in 1985 that he considered using nuclear weapons on four occasions, reportedly told two congressmen in the summer of 1974 that "I can go back into my office and pick up the telephone and in 25 minutes 70 million people will be dead." Concerns about Nixon's heavy drinking and pressure from the impeachment proceedings are said to have led Defense Secretary James Schlesinger to instruct the Joint Chiefs of Staff that any emergency order coming from the president - such as a nuclear launch order - should go through him or Secretary of State Henry Kissinger first. But Schlesinger had no legal authority to intervene and it is not clear what would have happened if Nixon had ordered an attack.

Two years earlier, Senator J. William Fulbright sought to include an amendment to the landmark War Powers Resolution (which Nixon vetoed but Congress overrode) that would have required prior congressional authorization for nuclear weapons use except in response to a nuclear attack. The exception, presumably, was to cover the scenario of a surprise nuclear strike by the Soviet Union designed to disarm us. The amendment failed, but the conviction that the president needed full freedom of action lived on.

Today, there is less merit than ever to support unilateral authorization without consultation and many ways to structure a process that would still be flexible but accountable. For example, the United States could modify its nuclear decision making procedures to require that one or more officials concur with a presidential order to use nuclear weapons before the military carries it out.


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Reply More hands needed on the nuclear football (Original post)
Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin Jan 24 OP
TigressDem Jan 24 #1
musclecar6 Jan 24 #2

Response to Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin (Original post)

Sun Jan 24, 2021, 03:50 PM

1. I believe they already changed the codes. Trump has one of the "footballs" but his codes EXPIRED.


Mr. Trump’s codes are to go dead at noon, like a canceled credit card. And Mr. Biden’s go live as soon as he is sworn in.


Trump is set to leave Washington DC around 8 am and fly to his estate in Mar-a-Lago, Florida. He will take the ‘nuclear football’ with him since he will still be the president till Biden’s inauguration. However, the nuclear codes will be deactivated at noon.

“There are at least three to four identical ‘footballs’: one follows the president, one follows the vice president, and one traditionally is set aside for the designated survivor at events like inaugurations and State of the Union addresses,” Stephen Schwartz, a nonresident senior fellow at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, told CNN. “On January 20, [the extra footballs] will be out of town somewhere with their designees, leaving just [Vice President Mike] Pence’s briefcase unless the White House Military Office has prepared (or already has on hand) another backup for Biden,” he added.

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Response to Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin (Original post)

Sun Jan 24, 2021, 06:14 PM

2. After

The performance of our favourite runaway lunatic, if ever there was a time where you need more than just the president to us authorize a nuclear strike, now is the time.

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