The most unnerving thing about the coming administration is Trumps’s control of the nukes, and our vulnerability to aging technology is no comfort either…

I would not be at all surprised if Donald Trump will wind up being impeached and convicted and losing his office. And then we get Mike Pence? Yikes. Maybe more conventional, but better?

Okay, still Trump has not even taken office. And since no one really knows what he believes in (except himself) what with all of his contradicting statements, pure platitudes (make America great again), outright and transparent lies, fragmentary speech and so on, it might be premature to predict disaster.

But one thing that makes me nervous is that he and he alone could launch a nuclear attack. Why he would do that I don’t know, but he hates to lose face and if someone or group provoked him, he just might go off the deep end (and some say he is already there).

Not long before Richard Nixon gave up his presidency under the threat of impeachment the word went out to ignore any orders he might give for a nuclear attack (we were still fighting the Vietnam War), even though the law as it is interpreted does not provide for such a refusal unless the commander-in-chief can be officially declared incompetent (and I don’t know how that is supposed to take place — probably like the military when you are not required to follow an illegal order, except that when the dust clears and the court-martial decides it was a lawful order, you are in deep doo doo).

But this nuclear thing is really I think an underestimated danger. The president is the only one who can order the use of nuclear weapons.

And even with a president in a fit of pique with a screw loose not being part of the scenario, the command and control of our nuclear weapons is precarious. There have been hundreds or actually some sources say thousands of incidents over the years in which there could have been a devastating, even civilization-ending, outcome due to pure accidents and old equipment that is part of our nuclear arsenal. And I will bet you that a lot of otherwise intelligent and reasonably informed citizens don’t even know we still have nuclear weapons — missiles and bombers — poised to go into action and vulnerable to accidents even now, despite disarmament treaties. I mean just one of those missiles is as deadly powerful as all the ordnance dropped in WWII, including the two nukes we dropped on Japan.

If you have not, you ought to watch the documentary Command and Control about a missile that blew up in its silo in Arkansas in 1980 after a workman accidentally dropped a wrench, puncturing a hole in the missile and causing fuel to leak out and resulting in an explosion that sent the nuclear warhead flying into a ditch some distance away. It was later determined that it would have been possible for the warhead to have exploded and wiped out much of Arkansas and that part of the nation (no jokes like, who cares? please) and spewed radioactive clouds to a much wider area.

And there have been many other incidents since. News reports (oh, I know, we are not supposed to trust news reports since they are all propaganda — who do we trust then? Oh, yeah, fake sites on the internet, the Russians) have told us that much of our nuclear arsenal is still controlled by old technology, such as floppy discs (and younger people will be asking: “what the heck is a floppy disc?”).

So seriously, having someone as unpredictable and paranoid, narcissistic, and so full of the need to take revenge, as Trump with a stubby finger on the nuclear button is unnerving.

(sorry, the use of  “stubby” was gratuitous)

It was said that Barack Obama’s shortcoming was that he was too cool. No-drama Obama.

For the sake of our safety and that of the world, I already miss the cool-headed Obama.

And I do want the United States to stand tall and take no guff from our enemies and to demand that the free world partners take a stand — you are either with us or against us, and you have sure lived off our security for all these years.

But a lot of that can be left unsaid. If we are strong, it will be apparent. Calm, cool, level-headed action is much better than bellicose rhetoric that often results in over commitment and putting yourself at the point of no return.

No one is perfect. Obama would have done better to simply take action (or not) than to draw that line in the sand concerning Syria.

We cannot expect perfection from our leaders perhaps.

But sanity we should insist upon.

p.s.

A link to Command and Control (I hope this works):

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/command-and-control/player/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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