A Crimson Tide Thanksgiving

I could talk about news and politics, but the reality is that nothing is gonna change, it’s the Holidays. Plus, I am still waiting for the “Distraction” story to hit…


For much of my life, I never really got the chance to enjoy the Holidays. When you get a chance to help someone less fortunate, it feels good. When it’s your job, year in and year out, it gets… well… it can’t help but jade you. Even the worst year ever for me I thought I’d found a chance to set things right, but even that left me… well… jaded… It’s why I try to enjoy the Holidays as much as I can. I do stuff, go places, see things and visit people. All the corny stuff that we see in commercials. What I don’t do is spend a lot of money, but I would if I could.

Oh, and I have five programs that I watch every year, starting this week with the greatest Thanksgiving moment in the history of Television…


Recent news reports have indicated that the leading US General, with responsibility for nuclear weapons, has made it clear to President Trump that he will “defy to carry out an illegal nuclear strike,” presumably ordered by President Trump.

Now, there’s a couple of things here. First of all, OF COURSE HE WOULD DEFY AN ILLEGAL ORDER! Sorry for yelling.

What isn’t discussed in the article, and as far as I can see what the General did not even hint about, is how come HE (the General) gets to decide if it’s an illegal order or not? Did you get that? I want you to THINK about it for a minute. If a General today can decide what’s legal and not, how come the Generals couldn’t do that, say, six, sixteen or even twenty years ago? Or… could they?

Or is the General answering a question he thinks the reporter is asking but really the reporter is writing a story about an answer he thinks is about something the General never said or meant? Huh?

Back in the early 1990’s there came a Hollywood version of this same scenario, which, naturally, glorified the bucking of the system and emphasized the evils of the system. But it was also Hollywood and made for one of the worst films ever from the standpoint of accuracy and plot. It did, however, have an awesome soundtrack.

So what should you consider when you read about this General who says he would “defy” Trumps “illegal” nuclear strike order? Is it as simple as the President is insane and we shouldn’t obey him? Or is there a bit more at work here?


Posted on November 22, 2017, in 360 Show, Christmas, Family, North Korea, Nuclear Weapons, Traditions and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. “If a General today can decide what’s legal and not, how come the Generals couldn’t do that, say, six, sixteen or even twenty years ago? Or… could they?”

    They can, as you well know. Yes, they can be replaced, but that doesn’t negate their ability to refuse. Whether, judged by the 20/20 vision of hindsight, generals in the past should or shouldn’t have doesn’t negate that ability either.

    You and I were trained to accept validity (launch orders locally verified as valid) as legality, but the two are not quite the same thing. Validity does not discern between a retaliatory strike, a pre-emptive strike, or cold blooded murder. All validity does is assure the guys with the keys and at the consoles that “yes, these are the NCA’s authenticated orders”.

    The procedures neither cares nor is capable of discerning between the orders of a sane man and the orders of an insane man. The procedures are not designed to assure that the orders are legal and moral. The procedures presumes that the orders of the NCA (by the SecDef or his representative) are a priori legal and correct, and once authenticated are subsequently transmitted down the chain of command and carried out.

    In the same way, those briefings and discussions are not procedurally required and may or may not actually occur. The President can short circuit that entire process if he so wills.

    That’s why in the waning days of the Nixon administration, various officials tried to quietly jumper around Nixon – to provide additional buffers against and to prevent a potential madman scenario.

    In the end, our only protection is the men in the loop. (That’s one of the reasons the SecDef or his representative is required to authenticate the President’s order.) In the end, those men at the top are the circuit breakers that are supposed to trip when things go wrong. Yes, that protection can be bypassed (replacing the officer or official in question), but it takes deliberate and intentional action to do so. The hope is that when push comes to shove, that slows the process down enough for sanity and rationality to prevail.

    And no, we do not have an official “no first strike policy”. The strategic forces have long acted as though one existed, but that’s a fiction we maintained to salve our conscience. The NCA has long acted as though our official position is “no first strike”, but that’s a political thing. We have no ink-on-paper or definitive statement to that end.


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