The Most Important Presidential Burden

In this world of nuclear superpowers, what must it be like to be faced with this penultimate Presidential burden? This week Air Force General John Hyten, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, correctly answered what to do with an illegal order. What the General was not asked and what the President may someday face, is what to do with an immoral order. Is that scenario possible. Probably more than you wish to think. Here is what the writer means.

As Written By Chet Richards for the American Thinker:

General John Hyten, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, started a minor controversy in responding to a question by saying that he would not obey a president’s illegal command for a nuclear strike.  Of course, he was completely correct in his response.  He explained further that he would advise the president on a legal approach and an appropriate course of action would then be worked out.

The much deeper question was not asked:  What would the general do if the president ordered a perfectly legal, but profoundly immoral, nuclear strike?  The trials at Nuremburg were precisely about this question.

This second question illuminates the most important burden carried by our president.  This is the kind of burden that prematurely ages a vigorous individual.  This is also the most important question that should confront us as we judge a candidate for the presidency.  We cannot afford to have someone who lacks a strong moral foundation occupying the Oval Office.

In my estimation we have only had one president who faced the issue head-on and made the right decision about this dread challenge.  That man was Ronald Reagan.

In 1983 President Reagan called for a robust missile defense program to be called the “Strategic Defense Initiative.”  This idea, which many thought to be childish, was sarcastically named “Star Wars.”  The name stuck because of its positive associations and was adopted by those actually favoring missile defense.  The next year the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization (SDIO) was established to implement Reagan’s……


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