It was reported by Politico this morning that quite a few Democrats are pressuring Joe Biden to give up his unilateral authority over launching nuclear weapons for a more committee approach:
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.
“…Vesting one person with this authority entails real risks,” states the letter spearheaded by Rep. Jimmy Panetta of California. “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.“
“While any president would presumably consult with advisors before ordering a nuclear attack, there is no requirement to do so,” the letter adds. “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.”
They offer a number of alternatives, including requiring other officials in the line of succession, such as the vice president and the speaker of the House — “neither of whom can be removed by the president if they disagree — to concur with a launch order.”
Here’s a copy of the first page of the letter:
Note the third paragraph where Dems reference ‘past presidents’ and then check out the footnotes. There’s no question this is less about Biden and more about their fear of Trump becoming president again. Trump lives in their heads constantly!
Ed Morrisey writes at Hot Air that it’s not a terrible idea to put such control of the nuclear stockpile under more consensus:
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? 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.
But he says if Congress were really worried about all presidents, as they suggest, they already possess the ability to pass a law and force a consensus instead of asking Biden to play along:
However, why does Congress need to ask? Congress doesn’t exist as an advisory board to the executive — it passes its own laws and negotiates with the executive on a co-equal basis. 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. If all that this letter produces is an internal policy change requiring three fingers on the button, it might only last as long as this particular presidency does. The very kind of president that creates this concern would be the least likely to adopt that as a voluntary restriction, in fact.
Whatever you think of the idea, it’s more than clear Democrats are very worried that Trump will win again in 2024. They couldn’t stop him with their phony impeachment so they are apparently trying to limit his power as much as possible in case there’s no pandemic to cover them for fraudulent mail-in voting.