Top general says he would resist "illegal" nuke order from Trump

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Media caption Would the US military disobey a nuclear order from President Trump

The top nuclear commander in the U.S. said Saturday he would refuse an order to conduct a nuclear strike from President Trump if he thought the launch was illegal, The Hill writes.Air Force Gen. John Hyten, commander of U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM), said that he would tell Trump he couldn't carry out an illegal strike, CBS News reported."And if it's illegal, guess what's going to happen?"

"If it's illegal, guess what's going to happen". I'm going to say, 'Mr. GOP is toast if it follows Trump, Moore: Sen Flake Republican US Senator Jeff Flake, an outspoken critic of Trump, was caught on an open microphone saying the GOP is "toast" if it follows Trump and Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore.

Hyten said he has been trained every year for decades in the law of armed conflict, which takes into account specific factors to determine legality - necessity, distinction, proportionality, unnecessary suffering and more.

President Trump has not publicly commented on Gen Hyten's remarks.

It's hard to overstate how thoroughly the USA military has prepared for doomsday - the day America gets into a nuclear shooting war. His response: "You'd be in a very interesting constitutional situation".

US Strategic Command oversees US nuclear weapons and missile defense.

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At the Senate hearing this week, experts testified that the use of nuclear weapons must be proportional to a threat, and the Pentagon has extensive options for use of conventional weapons against North Korea. Were it to even be so, as Slate noted, experts say the military has "devised legal rationales to justify nearly any sort of nuclear attack that a president might want to order".

Hyten's remarks come after both speculation about the president's mental state and the ongoing possibility of some kind of nuclear exchange between the USA and North Korea, which has already developed nuclear weapons but is still developing longer-range missiles to launch them on.

"We are concerned that the president of the United States is so unstable, is so volatile, has a decision-making process that is so quixotic, that he might order a nuclear weapons strike that is wildly out of step with USA national security interests", said Sen.

Forty-one years later, the US hasn't ruled out first-strike nuclear options and is unlikely to do so during Trump's tenure. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said at the outset of last week's hearing. Trump's taunting tweets aimed at Pyongyang have sparked concerns primarily among congressional Democrats that he may be inciting a war with North Korea.

"But I think it's a genuinely important subject, and I think it's one we should be debating irrespective of who the president is", he said.

Ultimately, some of those who testified warned against legislative changes to rein in the President's authority to exercise nuclear authority. He's going to say, 'What would be legal?'

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