The most important act of the "Resistance" so far / and now the 2d-most important act

paulsurovell

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/u-s-strategic-command-gen-john-hyten-resist-illegal-nuke-order-from-trump/

The top U.S. nuclear commander said Saturday he would push back against President Trump if he ordered a nuclear launch the general believed to be "illegal," saying he would hope to find another solution.
Air Force Gen. John Hyten, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM), told an audience at the Halifax International Security Forum in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Saturday that he has given a lot of thought to what he would say if Mr. Trump ordered a strike he considered unlawful. 
"I think some people think we're stupid," Hyten said in response to a question about such a scenario. "We're not stupid people. We think about these things a lot. When you have this responsibility, how do you not think about it?"
Hyten explained the process that would follow such a command. As head of STRATCOM, Hyten is responsible for overseeing the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
"I provide advice to the president, he will tell me what to do," Hyten added. "And if it's illegal, guess what's going to happen? I'm going to say, 'Mr. President, that's illegal.' And guess what he's going to do? He's going to say, 'What would be legal?' And we'll come up options, with a mix of capabilities to respond to whatever the situation is, and that's the way it works. It's not that complicated."
Hyten said he has been trained every year for decades in the law of armed conflict, which takes into account specific factors to determine legality -- necessity, distinction, proportionality, unnecessary suffering and more. Running through scenarios of how to react in the event of an illegal order is standard practice, he said. 
"If you execute an unlawful order, you will go to jail. You could go to jail for the rest of your life," Hyten said. 
Hyten's comments come against the backdrop of Mr. Trump's bombastic comments about North Korea and how he might respond to that regime's nuclear threat. The president has pledged to unleash "fire and fury" and to "totally destroy" North Korea if necessary. Hyten's comments also come as Congress is re-examining the authorization of the use of military force and power to launch a nuclear strike. 
In a hearing earlier this week, Sen. Ed Markey, D-Massachusetts, said Mr. Trump "can launch nuclear codes just as easily as he can use his Twitter account." 
Hyten said the U.S. military is always ready to respond to the threat of North Korea, even at that very moment. 
"And we are ready every minute of every day to respond to any event that comes out of North Korea. That's the element of deterrence that has to be clear, and it is clear," Hyten said. 
But Hyten also said handling North Korea and its unpredictable leader Kim Jong Un has to be an international effort. Mr. Trump has continued to put pressure on China to help manage its tempestuous neighbor.
"President Trump by himself can't change the behavior of Kim Jong Un," Hyten said. "But President Trump can create the conditions that the international community can reach out in different ways where we can work with the Republic of Korea, where we can work with our neighbors in the region."

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BG9

Very inspiring. But this stance may change.

Senior military leadership, such as Hyten, will be replaced with Trump appointees. They usually serve two year terms. They then retire or rotate into some other position. At that level its up to the president to nominate them into their new position. In two years the military would likely be redone in Trump's image.

Trump's senior appointees will be the right material, like the judicial nominees he's pushing onto the Federal bench.


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South

So the general will "push back against President Trump" if he thinks the order is illegal.

The general says,  "And if it's illegal, guess what's going to happen? I'm going to say, 'Mr. President, that's illegal.' And guess what he's going to do? He's going to say, 'What would be legal?' And we'll come up options, with a mix of capabilities to respond to whatever the situation is, and that's the way it works. It's not that complicated."

So the President will listen to reason.  That's optimism, not resistance.


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paulsurovell


South_Mountaineer said:

So the general will "push back against President Trump" if he thinks the order is illegal.

The general says,  "And if it's illegal, guess what's going to happen? I'm going to say, 'Mr. President, that's illegal.' And guess what he's going to do? He's going to say, 'What would be legal?' And we'll come up options, with a mix of capabilities to respond to whatever the situation is, and that's the way it works. It's not that complicated."

So the President will listen to reason.  That's optimism, not resistance.

What actions of "Resistance" have you carried out?


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BG9

I also wonder what will happen at the command center when a general disobeys an order from the CIC and some other general or colonel tells the armed security officers to arrest the general.


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paulsurovell
BG9 said:

I also wonder what will happen at the command center when a general disobeys an order from the CIC and some other general or colonel tells the armed security officers to arrest the general.

These are the kinds of questions that show the importance of a policy of no first-use of nuclear weapons and of improving cooperation among all nuclear weapons states, especially Russia, to avoid war caused by launch-on-warning errors.

https://www.markey.senate.gov/news/press-releases/senator-markey-and-rep-lieu-introduce-the-restricting-first-use-of-nuclear-weapons-act


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BG9


paulsurovell said:


BG9 said:

I also wonder what will happen at the command center when a general disobeys an order from the CIC and some other general or colonel tells the armed security officers to arrest the general.

These are the kinds of questions that show the importance of a policy of no first-use of nuclear weapons and of improving cooperation among all nuclear weapons states, especially Russia, to avoid war caused by launch-on-warning errors.


https://www.markey.senate.gov/news/press-releases/senator-markey-and-rep-lieu-introduce-the-restricting-first-use-of-nuclear-weapons-act

I agree.

I heard that near the end of Nixon's career something was put in place. The nuclear go command needed the assent of two of the three stakeholders - VP, SecDef, JCS majority?


Haig had done in 1974 when he began worrying about Nixon’s “state of mind.” He sent a classified message to Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger that he was to ignore any orders coming from Nixon without Haig’s authorization. Schlesinger forwarded Haig’s message in ultra-top secret “Personal For” format to top American military commanders around the world that any orders from Nixon, including a nuclear strike on Russia or any other nation, were to be ignored.

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South


paulsurovell said:



South_Mountaineer said:

So the general will "push back against President Trump" if he thinks the order is illegal.

The general says,  "And if it's illegal, guess what's going to happen? I'm going to say, 'Mr. President, that's illegal.' And guess what he's going to do? He's going to say, 'What would be legal?' And we'll come up options, with a mix of capabilities to respond to whatever the situation is, and that's the way it works. It's not that complicated."

So the President will listen to reason.  That's optimism, not resistance.

What actions of "Resistance" have you carried out?

I'm boycotting the Trump Tower public bathrooms. They are some of Midtown's finest, especially with the marble and gold colored fixtures. I would also tell Trump what I thought of whatever stupid plan he would ask me to comment on, not that I'm in a position to be asked.  I wouldn't assume he'd take that advice.

Seriously, what kind of a response is "what are YOU doing?"  Why don't you ask all those folks who DIDN'T vote for Hillary, so there wouldn't have to be a "Resistance" against Trump?



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author

I am sure that 99% of the readership of MOL is right here in NJ.   You only get the designated number of electoral votes if you win a state.........no more.  Blame HRC for running a piss poor campaign, her imperial attitude and carrying enough baggage to sink a battleship



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drummerboy

nah, we'll just blame characters like you. Since that's where it belongs.


author said:

I am sure that 99% of the readership of MOL is right here in NJ.   You only get the designated number of electoral votes if you win a state.........no more.  Blame HRC for running a piss poor campaign, her imperial attitude and carrying enough baggage to sink a battleship



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paulsurovell


South_Mountaineer said:

paulsurovell said:

South_Mountaineer said:

So the general will "push back against President Trump" if he thinks the order is illegal.

The general says,  "And if it's illegal, guess what's going to happen? I'm going to say, 'Mr. President, that's illegal.' And guess what he's going to do? He's going to say, 'What would be legal?' And we'll come up options, with a mix of capabilities to respond to whatever the situation is, and that's the way it works. It's not that complicated."

So the President will listen to reason.  That's optimism, not resistance.
What actions of "Resistance" have you carried out?
I'm boycotting the Trump Tower public bathrooms. They are some of Midtown's finest, especially with the marble and gold colored fixtures. I would also tell Trump what I thought of whatever stupid plan he would ask me to comment on, not that I'm in a position to be asked.  I wouldn't assume he'd take that advice.

Seriously, what kind of a response is "what are YOU doing?"  Why don't you ask all those folks who DIDN'T vote for Hillary, so there wouldn't have to be a "Resistance" against Trump?

I thought that perhaps your dismissive attitude toward General Hyten's act of courage was based on personal acts of "resistance" on your part, but apparently there are none.


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paulsurovell

Interview with Noam Chomsky in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists discusses the increasing threats of nuclear war and climate change catastrophe.

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00963402.2017.1388659


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Jackson Fusion

It is an exciting time when unelected members of the military assume final control over military decisions. Some decisions should be left to the people’s representatives, but the important ones should be left to experts.


The articles I’ve seen grossly overstate what has been said on the issue however. The General does not seem to have said anything that should come as a surprise to anyone with even a cursory understanding of how elected officials oversee and direct the military.


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LOST

"If the President does it, it is not illegal."

Richard M. Nixon


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Jackson Fusion


LOST said:

"If the President does it, it is not illegal."

Richard M. Nixon

Very apt, if you mean it (and I think you do) in the context in which Nixon was speaking in that discussion. 


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drummerboy

Aren't our military personnel all under the same stricture that they must refuse illegal orders?


If so, then this "most important act" is merely a statement of the obvious. It's not an act of defiance.


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BG9

Commissioned Officers took an oath:

I, _____, having been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States, as indicated above in the grade of _____ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God." 

Different from the Oath of Enlistment:

"I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."


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drummerboy

I'm thinking the qualifier is pretty important:

I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

BG9 said:

Commissioned Officers took an oath:

I, _____, having been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States, as indicated above in the grade of _____ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God." 

Different from the Oath of Enlistment:

"I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."



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Jackson Fusion

The President, not being a member of the military, is not bound by the UCMJ. The “according to...” part is burdening the oath taker, not limiting those issuing the order.

The President is essentially free of any jurisdiction save that of Congress. If you want to charge a President with murder, for example, you must first impeach him. That keeps one county prosecutor from deciding to sign an arrest warrant on Obama or whomever just to put him in jail if there was a coup attempt. 

There are elements of “lawful order” that have the sense of what I think people are assuming  in this thread, but the bulk of it is not addressing whether it is a “good”order or a “moral”order or one we would like. Most of the concern about a “lawful order” would be whether it is in a form by which the individual presumed to be bound by it indeed is. 

There is little question that a President ordering a nuclear strike to the head of whatever nuclear force he was addressing would legally bind that officer to compliance. A lawful order is not in any sense “an order I like” or “an order I agree with”. The executive derives his power & authority from the people through the constitution. The officer derives his authority from the executive, ie the President. This is a key point of the republic- there is no power government has that does not derive from the people. So rule of thumb, the closer you are to the people’s exercise of power, the higher your authority. They are all the power there is. There is no inherent power of any individual in office. Contrast that with Kings who derive their power from God. 


On a practical note, he or she also likely has more information than anyone receiving the order. For example, he does not need to explain, “but the North Koreans are fueling rockets. Hang on let me get you some pictures so you can decide if you agree with my decision.”

We hope we the people don’t elect maniacs. Cue partisan commentary- but there is good reason for the structure we have.

Edit to add- in the case of a President exercising his singular prerogative to order a nuclear strike, on a technical note the sec of defense does need to second it. This is so we avoid a situation where someone calls CentCom and says “Yes, General? Nuke Rosie O’Donnell. It’ll be the best nuclear strike ever, believe me. People will love it.” and it’s not Trump.... or more realistically, it’s not in response to someone kidnapping the President’s kid and coercing him to order a strike or something equally unlikely. 

Nobody else, no one, can use even a tactical nuclear weapon without Presidential approval prior. Not the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, not the theater commander. No one.


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LOST


Jackson_Fusion said:


 
There is little question that a President ordering a nuclear strike to the head of whatever nuclear force he was addressing would legally bind that officer to compliance. A lawful order is not in any sense “an order I like” or “an order I agree with”. The executive derives his power from the people through the constitution. He or she also likely has more information than anyone receiving the order. For example, he does not need to explain, “but the North Koreans are fueling rockets. Hang on let me get you some pictures so you can decide if you agree with my decision.”
 

The President orders a nuclear strike. It goes down the chain of command to the Officer who actually pushes the button, Lt. Smith. He carries out the Order.

Congress impeaches the President and the Senate convicts him of a War Crime and removes him from office.    

Lt. Smith is put on trial for a War Crime. What result?

Alternate scenario:

The President orders a nuclear strike. It goes down the chain of command to Capt. Jones who orders Lt. Smith to push the button. Lt. Smith refuses. Capt. Jones relieves Smith of his post and pushes the button himself.

The House of Representatives impeaches the President and the Senate convicts him of a War Crime and removes him from office.

Lt. Smith is Court Martialed for disobeying a lawful order. What result?



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Jackson Fusion


LOST said:



Jackson_Fusion said:


 
There is little question that a President ordering a nuclear strike to the head of whatever nuclear force he was addressing would legally bind that officer to compliance. A lawful order is not in any sense “an order I like” or “an order I agree with”. The executive derives his power from the people through the constitution. He or she also likely has more information than anyone receiving the order. For example, he does not need to explain, “but the North Koreans are fueling rockets. Hang on let me get you some pictures so you can decide if you agree with my decision.”
 


The President orders a nuclear strike. It goes down the chain of command to the Officer who actually pushes the button, Lt. Smith. He carries out the Order.

Congress impeaches the President and the Senate convicts him of a War Crime and removes him from office.    

Lt. Smith is put on trial for a War Crime. What result?

Alternate scenario:

The President orders a nuclear strike. It goes down the chain of command to Capt. Jones who orders Lt. Smith to push the button. Lt. Smith refuses. Capt. Jones relieves Smith of his post and pushes the button himself.

The House of Representatives impeaches the President and the Senate convicts him of a War Crime and removes him from office.

Lt. Smith is Court Martialed for disobeying a lawful order. What result?

Context would matter. If he refused to nuke Rosie, unless she was in North Korea, I think he’s ok. If he nuked her in Connecticut, he may be sanctioned.

You would need to start with “Congress convicts him of a war crime” I guess in seriousness. If an officer refused a lawful order prior to that (and that’s how time works) he’d be cashiered I imagine, unless he had a specific reason as to why the order was illegal. IT IS NOT ILLEGAL for the President to order a strike on North Korea, preemptive or otherwise. A horrible idea? A sin? Maybe. But we the people handed him that power to use on our behalf. In absence of a crime, the punishment would be getting turned out of office in the next election.

ETA- criminal prosecution for a President besides impeachment would be unlikely. The President would simply pardon himself. That wouldn’t keep congress from removing him from office, but it would remove the personal fear the individual occupying the office may have for his own life and safety- which is as it should be. 

“Boy, I know this is the right move for the safety of American citizens...but I’m afraid some opposition party judge and prosecutor will trump up some charge on me. Better not do it.” 

The ICC- of which we are not a party- could accept charges and have some theater, but they would have a tough time enforcing their dictats.


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paulsurovell


drummerboy said:

Aren't our military personnel all under the same stricture that they must refuse illegal orders?

If so, then this "most important act" is merely a statement of the obvious. It's not an act of defiance.

Chew on this for a while.

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/06/2016-donald-trump-nuclear-weapons-missiles-nukes-button-launch-foreign-policy-213955


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Klinker


Jackson_Fusion said:

It is an exciting time when unelected members of the military assume final control over military decisions. Some decisions should be left to the people’s representatives, but the important ones should be left to experts.

As the loser of the popular election I hardly think Donald Trump can be described as the "people's representative".  Perhaps you meant to say the "electoral college's representative"?

Lets not confuse our selves with talk of democracy when we live in a country that falls well short of that ideal.


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Klinker

Perhaps this is the strongest argument for reserving the power to make nuclear war to Congress.  At least it's members were actually selected through a popular vote.


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Jackson Fusion


Klinker said:



Jackson_Fusion said:

It is an exciting time when unelected members of the military assume final control over military decisions. Some decisions should be left to the people’s representatives, but the important ones should be left to experts.

As the loser of the popular election I hardly think Donald Trump can be described as the "people's representative".  Perhaps you meant to say the "electoral college's representative"?

Lets not confuse our selves with talk of democracy when we live in a country that falls well short of that ideal.



Klinker said:

Perhaps this is the strongest argument for reserving the power to make nuclear war to Congress.  At least it's members were actually selected through a popular vote.


I suppose there is no need to remind that the United States, by intent, is designed to not be a direct democracy & that the founders thought nothing so dangerous to individual liberty as that form of government.

Are you suggesting that Congress should work bills for nuclear strikes through the traditional legislative process? If so or not, what do you envision? I’m curious to hear how that would work.


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Klinker


Jackson_Fusion said:

I suppose there is no need to remind that the United States, by intent, is designed to not be a direct democracy & that the founders thought nothing so dangerous to individual liberty as that form of government.

Of course there isn't.  You, however, seemed to be suggesting that the tapeworm in the White House was somehow a "representative of the people" when, electorally speaking, he is not.


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Klinker


Jackson_Fusion said:

Are you suggesting that Congress should work bills for nuclear strikes through the traditional legislative process? If so or not, what do you envision? I’m curious to hear how that would work.

I seem to recall something in the Constitution about the power to declare war resting with Congress.  Surely there can be no more decisive a declaration of war than a nuclear first strike.  

Just because Congress has failed for the last seven decades to fulfill its obligations under the Constitution doesn't mean that it should continue to do so for another seven decades.  Perhaps now, with the specter of a madman's stubby fingers on the nuclear button, Congressional leaders will finally see the folly of resting the power to murder all of humanity in the hands of one man.


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Jackson Fusion


Klinker said:



Jackson_Fusion said:

Are you suggesting that Congress should work bills for nuclear strikes through the traditional legislative process? If so or not, what do you envision? I’m curious to hear how that would work.

I seem to recall something in the Constitution about the power to declare war resting with Congress.  Surely there can be no more decisive a declaration of war than a nuclear first strike.  

Just because Congress has failed for the last seven decades to fulfill its obligations under the Constitution doesn't mean that it should continue to do so for another seven decades.  Perhaps now, with the specter of a madman's stubby fingers on the nuclear button, Congressional leaders will finally see the folly of resting the power to murder all of humanity in the hands of one man.

OK, so you think nuclear weapons only should be controlled by congress, or should congress generally control military usage and strategy? How would that work? Public debate on, for example, on the place and time of Operation Overlord? Or more narrowly, should Congress been brought in to discussion on “tube alloys” and their eventual use? Should they have legislated for and passed the Quebec Agreement?


I am interested in how all of this may work. Thanks.


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LOST


Jackson_Fusion said:





Context would matter. If he refused to nuke Rosie, unless she was in North Korea, I think he’s ok. If he nuked her in Connecticut, he may be sanctioned.

You would need to start with “Congress convicts him of a war crime” I guess in seriousness. If an officer refused a lawful order prior to that (and that’s how time works) he’d be cashiered I imagine, unless he had a specific reason as to why the order was illegal. IT IS NOT ILLEGAL for the President to order a strike on North Korea, preemptive or otherwise. A horrible idea? A sin? Maybe. But we the people handed him that power to use on our behalf. In absence of a crime, the punishment would be getting turned out of office in the next election.
 

You are not directly addressing my hypothetical. Congress impeaches and removes the President for ordering a nuclear strike. It's their call. The President is not prosecuted criminally but a Military Officer who carried out the order is indicted for a War Crime, just like all the defendants at Nuremberg who were carrying out orders that were legal under the laws of the Third Reich.

Could such a thing happen theoretically?

And what about my alternative; A soldier is court martialed for refusing to carry out an Order for which the President has been impeached. Would that be correct? The Officer disobeyed an order that was lawful when given, but Congress later decides that the Order constituted a War Crime.


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Elizabeth


LOST said:



Jackson_Fusion said:




Context would matter. If he refused to nuke Rosie, unless she was in North Korea, I think he’s ok. If he nuked her in Connecticut, he may be sanctioned.

You would need to start with “Congress convicts him of a war crime” I guess in seriousness. If an officer refused a lawful order prior to that (and that’s how time works) he’d be cashiered I imagine, unless he had a specific reason as to why the order was illegal. IT IS NOT ILLEGAL for the President to order a strike on North Korea, preemptive or otherwise. A horrible idea? A sin? Maybe. But we the people handed him that power to use on our behalf. In absence of a crime, the punishment would be getting turned out of office in the next election.
 

You are not directly addressing my hypothetical. Congress impeaches and removes the President for ordering a nuclear strike. It's their call. The President is not prosecuted criminally but a Military Officer who carried out the order is indicted for a War Crime, just like all the defendants at Nuremberg who were carrying out orders that were legal under the laws of the Third Reich.

Could such a thing happen theoretically?

And what about my alternative; A soldier is court martialed for refusing to carry out an Order for which the President has been impeached. Would that be correct? The Officer disobeyed an order that was lawful when given, but Congress later decides that the Order constituted a War Crime.

I hope you realize, after a nuclear strike, there is no human society left to do any impeaching!


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