In a harrowing episode of Radiolab, the hosts investigate the moral question that ended the career of a Strategic Air Command officer – one of the people responsible for turning the key that launches an ICBM.
His question? “Is there anyone who checks to see whether the President’s order to launch should be obeyed?”
It ends with six minutes of audio of clocks ticking. Six minutes is the time the President has to decide how to respond when informed of a missile attack on the United States. Knowing that President Trump has the sole authority to decide how to respond and to what degree is shocking.
I had always assumed that since the Cold War, a president’s authority had been moderated, that he’d have to consult with others, get a consensus.
But apparently not. He can launch an attack, without anybody legally able to countermand or question his order. That is horrifying.
Just recently, it emerged the Pentagon was seeking to lease an apartment in Trump Tower to accomodate the White House Military Office – which manages the ‘nuclear football’ carrying the launch codes and communication equipment necessary to allow the President to issue a launch command from anywhere, at any time, for any reason, without consultation or justification.
Yeah. The American taxpayer is paying a Trump-owned company for an apartment in Trump Tower so that Trump can have the nuclear football close at hand. You know, just in case.