There was concern before the 2020 election that Joe Biden might be suffering the early stages of dementia.
Now Democrats in Congress are asking for a provision in the law that would require him to “consult with advisers” before he would be allowed to launch a nuclear attack.
Politico reported: “Nearly three dozen House Democrats on Monday called on Biden to relinquish his sole authority to launch nuclear weapons, in the latest appeal to reform the command-and-control structure so that no single person can initiate a nuclear war.”
The letter organized by Rep. Jimmy Panetta of California warned, “Vesting one person with this authority entails real risks.”
“Past presidents have threatened to attack other countries with nuclear weapons or exhibited behavior that caused other officials to express concern about the president’s judgment,” he wrote.
“While any president would presumably consult with advisers before ordering a nuclear attack, there is no requirement to do so,” Panetta said. “The military is obligated to carry out the order if they assess it is legal under the laws of war. Under the current posture of U.S. nuclear forces, that attack would happen in minutes.”
Ed Morrissey at HotAir summarized “precisely what House Democrats want from Joe Biden. A letter signed by three dozen of his party’s caucus urges the new president to relinquish full control over the country’s nuclear weapons in favor of a committee approach.”
The Democrats’ letter references President Trump’s “supposed ‘threat’ to nuke North Korea.” It lines up, HotAir reported, with “Nancy Pelosi’s demand to remove the football from Trump after the January 6 Capitol riot, a demand which went nowhere in large part because Pelosi didn’t intend it as anything more than a stunt.”
“As an attempt to fix a problem before it arises (arguably, again), it’s not a bad idea, considering both the massive consequences of leaving control of the nuclear stockpile in one person’s hands and the constitutional requirement for Congress to authorize war. What happens when that one person turns out to be unstable, either as a permanent feature of his/her personality or as the result of some physical or mental crisis?” Morrissey wrote.
“Just because that hasn’t become an acute problem so far doesn’t mean that it won’t be at some point. Asking for more consensus around that decision seems to be a reasonable request, especially since the retaliatory strike will have its disincentivizing impact on a nuclear aggressor no matter when those missiles launch. Asking a Democratic president to resolve this risk makes more sense for fellow Democrats, as it doesn’t imply any partisan hostilities as a motive.”
But he pointed out that Congress doesn’t need to ask.
“Congress could solve this problem by passing a law that requires the president to get that kind of approval for nuclear launches, and challenging Biden to sign it rather than veto it. That makes more sense if one is concerned not just about one particular president but all presidents.”
Nearly three dozen House Democrats on Monday called on Biden to relinquish his sole authority to launch nuclear weapons, in the latest appeal to reform the command-and-control structure so that no single person can initiate a nuclear war https://t.co/AOIHaYf1b4 pic.twitter.com/OSKJ64d3cW
— POLITICO (@politico) February 23, 2021
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