‘Congress must take Trump’s finger off nuke button’
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2018-01-12 03:41:41

‘Congress must take Trump’s finger off nuke button’

Seventeen former US nuclear launch officers have called on Congress to curb President Donald Trump’s ability to launch nuclear weapons, saying the United States cannot afford to have “a petulant and foolish commander-in-chief.”

The former United States Air Force officers wrote in an open letter to Congress on Thursday that they were increasingly alarmed by the president’s temperament, saying they are more worried about Trump now than before he took office.

“In the final weeks of the presidential election, we sounded our alarm over Donald Trump’s fitness to serve as commander-in-chief, with absolute authority over the nation’s nuclear arsenal,” the former missileers wrote.

“One year into the Trump presidency, our alarm has only intensified and we must raise our voices again,” they added.

“The president has had ample opportunity to educate and humble himself to the grave responsibilities of his office. Instead, he consistently shows himself to be easily baited, stubborn in his ignorance of world politics and diplomacy, and quick to brandish nuclear threats. The reality of this presidency is worse than we feared.”

The letter was published through the Global Zero campaign, the international organization which aims to eliminate all nuclear weapons by 2030.

Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric has put the United States on a collision course with North Korea,” the officers wrote. “Worse, it appears the president is operating under the belief that these threats of nuclear war are working; we can only expect this behavior will continue.”

“As former nuclear launch control officers, it was our job to fire nuclear missiles if the president so directed,” they said. “Once the president orders a launch, we could have missiles leaving their silos in several minutes. They cannot be recalled … There is no act of greater consequence, and it should not rest in the hands of any one person.”

“We and our nation cannot abide being hostages to the mood swings of a petulant and foolish commander-in-chief,” they noted.

“No individual, especially Donald Trump, should hold the absolute power to destroy nations. That is a clear lesson of this presidency and one that we, as former stewards of the launch keys, embrace with full conviction,” the continued.

Trump has made a sharp retort to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s recent threat that he had a nuclear button on his desk, saying his nuclear button “is a much bigger & more powerful one than his.”

During a New Year’s Day national address, the North Korean leader reminded Washington that “the nuclear button is always on the desk of my office.”

The US president has also threatened North Korea with “fire and fury” if it does not scale back weapons tests.

A former chief of the US military has recently warned that the United States and North Korea are closer than ever to a nuclear war.

“We’re actually closer in my view to a nuclear war with North Korea and in that region than we’ve ever been,” retired Admiral Mike Mullen, the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said last month.

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