Friday, October 21, 2016

PRESIDENTS AND NUKES: Time for some polling

Has Donald Trump's candidacy woken people up to the risk of nuclear weapons? Good! Even better will be when they realize the risk Hillary Clinton poses, too.

It seems pretty clear that the candidacy of Donald Trump is waking a lot of people up to just how much power the US president has, acting alone, to subject the world to nuclear holocaust.


"Our founding Fathers would be rolling over in
their graves if they knew the President could
launch a massive, potentially civilization-ending
military strike without authorization from
Congress.... The current nuclear launch approval
process, which gives the decision to potentially
end civilization as we know it to a single
individual, is flatly unconstitutional. I am proud
to introduce the Restricting First Use of Nuclear
Weapons Act of 2016 with Sen. Markey to realign
our nation's nuclear weapons launch policy with
the Constitution."
- Congressman Lieu, September 27, 2016
(Share this message on Twitter!)


I think it's time for a reality check: it's not just Donald Trump that's the issue. The other major candidate (and currently predicted winner) in this campaign uses words like "obliterate" to describe what the US could do to other countries.

Today's New York Times had stark words about Hillary Clinton:

Hillary Clinton made it abundantly clear Wednesday night that if she defeats Donald J. Trump next month she will enter the White House with the most contentious relationship with Russia of any president in more than three decades, and with a visceral, personal animus toward Vladimir V. Putin, its leader.

That's right, that Russia -- the other country in the world besides the US that is sitting on a massive nuclear arsenal. (See "The Hawk on Russia Policy? Hillary Clinton, Not Donald Trump.")

Now that Congress has legislation in front of it to take the power to act alone to launch a nuclear first strike out of the hands of the US president, it would be a good time for somebody with a name like Gallup or Pew (or ...? ... ) to double-check with the public. "Are you only concerned about Trump?"

I predict that if the US public was asked, they would demonstrate a clear preference for NO president having unilateral authority to start a nuclear war.


A poll might sound something like this . . . 

Under current procedure, the US president may, acting alone, give the order for a nuclear first strike.

Do you consent to the fact that, as US president, Donald Trump could, acting alone, with no questions asked, give the order for a nuclear first strike?

(5) Definitely not
(4) Probably not
(3) No opinion, don't know
(2)  I suppose . . .
(1) Yes, I feel totally confident giving President Donald Trump complete authority to order a nuclear first strike.

Do you consent to the fact that, as US president, Hillary Clinton could, acting alone, with no questions asked, give the order for a nuclear first strike?

(5) Definitely not
(4) Probably not
(3) No opinion, don't know
(2)  I suppose . . . (1) Yes, I feel totally confident giving President Hillary Clinton complete authority to order a nuclear first strike.

Do you consent to the fact that, under current procedure, any US president could, acting alone, with no questions asked, give the order for a nuclear first strike?

(5) Definitely not
(4) Probably not
(3) No opinion, don't know
(2)  I suppose . . . (1) Yes, I feel totally confident giving any person elected US President complete authority to order a nuclear first strike.

Legislation has been proposed that would require the US Congress to first make a declaration of war, and explicitly authorize a nuclear first strike, before any US President could carry out a nuclear first strike. How in favor would you be of such a change?

(5) Very much in favor: I think a nuclear first strike should never happen without everyone in Congress being required to debate it.
(4) Somewhat in favor
(3) No opinion, don't know
(2) Somewhat opposed
(1) Very opposed:  I feel totally confident letting the US President continue to have the power, acting alone, with no questions asked, to give the order for a nuclear first strike.


I know how I would respond. (How about you?)

Let the polling begin!


Related posts

Representative Ted Lieu and Senator Ed Markey have introduced the "Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2016."  Here's how you can get on the phone to your member of Congress to demand their support . . . .

(See NUKES: Your Call to Your Congressman Matters)



In a recent Huffington Post article, John Carl Baker discussed the current state of affairs in the US -- one that many US citizens are finally waking up to: "In the United States, the president has the absolute authority to launch a nuclear attack. He or she doesn’t have to seek approval from the legislative branch, the public, or anyone else. If the president wills Armageddon, there’s effectively no way to stop it from happening."

(See Summary Edition of "Thermonuclear Monarchy")










So now it occurs to you that there's a problem? Up until now, you've assumed the US president would always be self-controlled enough, reflective enough, consistent enough . . . foolproof enough . . . that the nuclear thing would just kind of stay safely under wraps where it belongs?

(See Trump? Maybe the problem is the NUCLEAR ARSENAL itself ...)