Why don’t we trust the U. S. electorate?


Apparently 31 democrats in congress have started a movement to relieve our president from the sole responsibility of ordering a nuclear attack.  A letter from the democrats to President Biden reportedly asks for a review of the command and control process for a nuclear weapons launch. The idea seems to be to replace the unilateral launch control our president currently retains with some sort of committee and/or group decision making process. They would likely add congressional leaders to the procedure.

Bad idea.  We elect our president to be the commander in chief of our armed forces and invest in him or her the constitutional authority to order such a strike. We trust that person to make such decisions in our stead with the advice of  civilian and military leaders. This direct command and control process both provides the deterrence to our enemies that prevents a first strike, and the assurance to our allies that we have their backs. This process, with the authority vested in the commander and chief, provides stability for both our friends and adversaries.

Even with a politically divided country, Americans are more than equal to the task of electing a president who will not take this nuclear strike capability and responsibility lightly. We don’t need people who think they are smarter than us mucking up the system. We need to trust ourselves to freely pick a president who knows the gravity of the duty to protect us.

In the unfortunate event that our president is struck with diminished mental capacity we have the 25th Amendment to the Constitution. The vice president and cabinet can suspend a president’s powers under the 25th Amendment if they are really concerned about his or her mental state. That would effectively prevent a president from launching nuclear attacks.

So why do we have members of congress seeking to encroach on an executive branch authority? It often seems in our three branch system of government that, given any opportunity, the branches always work to usurp some power from each other.

We have seen instances of the courts substantially legislating from the bench. The executive branch works around the legislative branch with convoluted regulations and executive orders. Sometimes the legislative branch seems to give up some of their responsibility through inaction, allowing the other branches to overstep. But often we see congress trying to exert more control over the executive branch than they should. Like inserting themselves into the role of the commander in chief.

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