On Thurs., Oct. 12 at 4:30 PM, come to the White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., WDC, for the Stop a War with Iran Rally. This week, Donald Trump is expected to decertify the Iran deal, one of the most historic diplomatic agreements in U.S. history. He will claim -- falsely -- that Iran isn’t complying with the deal or that the agreement harms U.S. national security. The truth is that the deal is working and makes us and the world safer. Trump’s decertification decision will reduce our credibility in the world, anger our allies, and put us on a dangerous path to war. The Iran deal is working and there is no reason for Trump to make this move other than trying to score political points with the most extreme members of his base. Join Win Without War, MoveOn, CREDO, and J Street so that we can raise a strong and unified voice for peace and diplomacy. We need you to stand with us. RSVP at https://act.winwithoutwar.org/go/997?t=2&akid=878%2E466287%2EDkzUxL.
Once again, the New York Times gets close to the finish line, but then falters. Legislation has been introduced to take away from the president the right to first launch nuclear weapons and to give the decision to Congress. Get your members of Congress to sign on to the Markey-Lieu legislation. Then dwell on the question, Should those who voted for Trump be indicted?
Opinion | EDITORIAL
Mr. Trump Alone Can Order a Nuclear Strike. Congress Can Change That.
By THE EDITORIAL BOARD OCT 11, 2017
President Trump when asked what he meant when he said, “We’ll see” in response to a question about potentially attacking North Korea over its nuclear tests. Pete Marovich for The New York Times
The broad debate over President Trump’s fitness for the difficult and demanding office he holds has recently been reframed in a more pointed and urgent way: Does he understand, and can he responsibly manage, the most destructive nuclear arsenal on earth?
The question arises for several reasons. He has threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea. He has reportedly pressed for a massive buildup in the American nuclear arsenal, which already contains too many — 4,000 — warheads. And soon he will decide whether to sustain or set a course to possibly unravel the immensely important Iran nuclear deal.
Doubts about his competency were reinforced this week by Senator Bob Corker, who charged that Mr. Trump was treating his office like “a reality show” with reckless threats that could set the nation “on the path to World War III.” Mr. Corker, a Republican from Tennessee, says he is relying on Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and John Kelly, the White House chief of staff, to help “separate our country from chaos.” That is a searing indictment, and Mr. Corker is no garden-variety legislator; as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he is a respected, and largely responsible, voice on national security issues.
Further, NBC News now reports that Mr. Tillerson judged Mr. Trump a “moron” after a July 20 meeting in which Mr. Trump, apparently distressed that the arsenal has declined since the Cold War, said he wanted a nearly tenfold increase in weapons.
Mr. Trump’s policy pronouncements during the campaign betrayed either profound ignorance or dangerous nonchalance: At one point he wondered why America had nuclear weapons if it didn’t use them; at another he suggested that Japan and South Korea, which have long lived under the American security umbrella, should develop their own nuclear weapons. But nothing he said has been quite as unsettling as his recent tweetstorms about North Korea, his warnings of “fire and fury” and his quip about “the calm before the storm
The U.S. Nuclear Arsenal Is Already Too Big
President Trump believes the U.S. needs more weapons, but its current stockpile of 4,000 could decimate much of the planet.
A New York Times analysis found the U.S. could use 1,103 nuclear warheads and decimate China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, Libya, Iraq, and Syria...
... and still have 2,897 left.
Notes: Based on estimates from the Natural Resources Defense Council and data from Hans M. Kristensen at Federation of American Scientists. "Decimate" indicates at least a quarter of the population would be killed or threatened. Population estimates based on 1999 Landscan data.
Many have hoped, and still hope, that Mr. Trump’s aggressive posture is mostly theater, designed to slake his thirst for attention, keep adversaries off guard and force changes in their behavior by words alone. But there is no underlying strategy to his loose talk, and whatever he means by it, Congress has been sufficiently alarmed to consider legislation that would bar the president from launching a first nuclear strike without a declaration of war by Congress. It wouldn’t take away the president’s ability to defend the country.
That’s a sound idea, and could be made stronger with a requirement that the secretaries of defense and state also approve any such decision. As things stand now, the Atomic Energy Act of 1946, passed when there was more concern about trigger-happy generals than elected civilian leaders, gives the president sole control. He could unleash the apocalyptic force of the American nuclear arsenal by his word alone, and within minutes.
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A version of this editorial appears in print on October 12, 2017, on Page A22 of the New York edition with the headline: One Finger on the Button Is Too Few. Today's Paper| Subscribe
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs