Saturday, August 06, 2016

You think Trump starting a nuclear war is unthinkable? Think again.

I was writing up a response to comments on my last post about The Donald and the clear and present danger he presents to the security of the U.S. and the world.  It got so long that I found myself writing, "I should just write a whole post about this," so here it is.

The general tenor of the comments I was responding to was: Yes, in theory the president has the power to launch nukes, but in practice cooler heads would prevail.  Somewhere in the chain of command, someone would realize that Trump had run off the rails and refuse to relay the order or turn the key.

Some select quotes from Steven Lefevre:
[a soldier refusing a nuclear launch order] would prevent a nuclear first strike.  And in the meantime, a response could be organized. Congress could convene an emergency session and rescind the War Powers act. They could impeach the president. They could immediately defund the military chain of command... I have trouble believing that all US military personnel, esp. those literally with their fingers on the button, are just going to blindly follow nuclear strike orders.
and Peter Donis:
Me: Anyone who refused the order would be arrested and court-martialed and replaced with someone else. 
Peter: On whose orders? The President's?  The same President whose SecDef just refused to confirm a nuclear launch order?
These arguments miss this crucial point: the danger is not that Trump would wake up on an otherwise uneventful day and say, "You know, what Kim Jong Il said about my hands really pisses me off, let's nuke Pyongang."  The nightmare scenario goes more like this:  Kim Jong Il says something about Trump's hands. Trump responds by insulting Kim. Kim responds by mobilizing the DPRK army. This alarms the Chinese, who respond by imposing a naval blockade at the Malacca straight and the South China Sea. In the midst of escalating tensions there is sudden news of an explosion in Seattle. Trump goes on TV and announces that the U.S. has been attacked by North Korea. It was a nuclear warhead, but fortunately it failed and only the conventional explosive detonated. Is it true? Who the hell knows.  No independent confirmation is available, but President Trump is on TV saying, "Believe me folks, it was a nuke, and it was the North Koreans."  In retaliation, Trump has just issued orders to counterstrike by nuking Pyongyang and all of North Korea's known nuclear sites because, "We can't just sit around like pussies waiting for another attack hoping the next one will also be a dud too."  Secretary of Defense Chris Christie concurs with the order.

Under those circumstances, do you really expect a member of the military to refuse a launch order?  Or, if they do, for that refusal to stand for more then thirty seconds?

What about the other possibilities?  Yes, Congress could convene an emergency session and rescind the War Powers act.  The problem is that rescission would not become law until the president signed it, which, under the circumstances, would be unlikely.  A pocket veto cannot be overridden by Congress, and least not for two weeks.  By then it's way too late.

The only thing Congress could do immediately without Trump's approval would be to remove him from office through the impeachment process.  But the problem is that in order to stop Trump from launching nukes they'd have to do it not in a matter of days or even hours, but minutes.  That might be theoretically possible, but I sure wouldn't want to bet the planet on those odds.

The danger that Trump poses is not that he'll suddenly go crazy with no warning.  Quite the contrary, he's given us ample warning.  The reason Trump is dangerous is that he gradually, deliberately, and -- what is most distressing -- effectively moves the needle towards crazy.  A year ago it was unthinkable that a presidential candidate who had actively avoided the draft could get away with saying that someone who volunteered to serve in Viet Nam was not a war hero because he was captured and held as a POW.  It was unthinkable that a presidential candidate could casually lob around phrases like "Bomb the shit out of 'em" and survive politically. It was unthinkable that a U.S. presidential candidate could actively condone violence against peaceful protesters and "opening up libel laws" in order to silence the press.  Thanks to Donald Trump, none of these things are unthinkable any more.  They are part of our reality.  In the span of one year Donald Trump has made us forget a big chunk of what sanity and civil society even look like.

There is a long, long list of things that used to be unthinkable that Donald Trump has made normal (in just over one year too!).  Hence I take little comfort in the idea that he won't start a nuclear war because it would be unthinkable, that in some as-yet-to-be-determined way cooler heads would prevail in that case when they have failed to prevail up to that point.  Turning the unthinkable into reality is Donald Trump's stock in trade!  That is why he must be kept as far from the mechanisms of power as possible.

25 comments:

Peter Donis said...

> Under those circumstances, do you really expect a member of the military to refuse a launch order?

I can't answer this yet, because your hypothetical left out a crucial element: what was the actual cause of the explosion in Seattle? Let's consider some alternative possibilities:

(1) The explosion in Seattle was due to something totally unrelated to the crisis with North Korea and China--for example, say it's a fuel refinery that blew up because of some maintenance not being done properly.

In this scenario, I would expect it to become public knowledge fairly quickly that the explosion had nothing to do with the crisis, and therefore I would not expect a launch order to be obeyed.

(2) The explosion in Seattle was in fact linked to the crisis, but was not an actual attempted nuclear detonation--for example, say it's an attempted act of sabotage by a North Korean or Chinese agent, using conventional explosives to, say, blow up critical infrastructure. In this scenario, I would not expect the actual cause to become public knowledge very quickly; but I would expect information at least suggesting the actual cause to be available to the national security apparatus in Washington fairly quickly.

In this scenario, I think the response to a launch order could go either way; it would depend on what was targeted by the explosion and what else was happening. But I would lean towards a launch order not being obeyed if there was no evidence that the attempted sabotage involved a nuclear device.

(3) The explosion in Seattle was in fact a dud nuke. In this scenario, I would expect the information that it was a dud nuke to go up the chain rapidly as soon as it was discovered--which would probably be as soon as a qualified bomb squad was on site. A dud nuke is pretty hard to mistake for anything else.

In this scenario, I would expect a launch order to be obeyed.

Note, however, that in none of these scenarios is the following going to happen as you describe it:

> No independent confirmation is available, but President Trump is on TV saying, "Believe me folks, it was a nuke, and it was the North Koreans."

It's simply not credible to me that no independent confirmation would be available *to the military leaders who would have to execute a launch order*. They would *expect* NCA to have such information before deciding on a launch order--and to issue the necessary commands to obtain that information if it was not already available. Oh, we don't know for sure what the explosive device was? I want the best experts in the country in Seattle ASAP to evaluate the situation. Oh, an ordinary cargo plane would take five hours to get there? Then we'll detach some supersonic two-seaters from the nearest base to get them there faster. There is simply no reason for a President to make such a decision in the absence of complete information.

Steven Lefevre said...

Again, I agree completely about the dangers of a Trump presidency, but another quibble:

> Yes, Congress could convene an emergency session and rescind the War Powers act. The problem is that rescission would not become law until the president signed it, which, under the circumstances, would be unlikely. A pocket veto cannot be overridden by Congress, and least not for two weeks. By then it's way too late.

If congress holds an emergency session, then by definition, they are in session, so no pocket veto.

I don't know if a veto-proof vote automatically becomes law or if it has to go through the motions of being vetoed and then voted on again.

But, if congress holds an emergency session, and does whatever it can to declare "no confidence" in Trump and strip him of power, you still think that military leaders are going to blindly follow nuclear launch orders?

> No independent confirmation is available, but President Trump is on TV saying, "Believe me folks, it was a nuke, and it was the North Koreans."

It's not the US TV-watching public that are going to be launching nukes. It's going to be the chain of command. They sure as hell are going to know what exactly hit Seoul, and whence it came. Who exactly would be an "independent" source of confirmation, anyway? A CNN reporter?

It's not the public that Trump has to sell on launching a nuke, it's the missile commanders.

The SecDef is just going to say, "Sir, here's the plans for toppling the Kim regime, in fact they're already underway since the strike."

Trump: "Nuke 'em anyway!"

SecDef: "I'm placing you under arrest..."

And it's over.

Again, I agree with you, Trump is wildly dangerous for this whole planet, but I have a hard time swallowing that the whole chain of command above the nuclear missiles are maniacal Trump supporters or order-following automatons.

Steven Lefevre said...

If you think the military is going to launch nuclear missiles based on no information and the conclusions jumped to by the president, then, _in this scenario_, the problem isn't actually President Trump.

Steven Lefevre said...

Ron, I will also guarantee you that, you're not the only one worried about this, and right now, in the high echelons of government, plans, contingency plans, and fallback plans are being discussed and created _right now_ for how to handle this exact scenario.

Peter Donis said...

> There is a long, long list of things that used to be unthinkable that Donald Trump has made normal (in just over one year too!).

This is, by my count, the *third* different argument you've presented for why Trump should not be President. The first was that he could just launch nukes on his own without anyone else's concurrence, which isn't true (we discussed this in a previous thread). The second was that a Trump administration would have all of the other people in the chain who could theoretically be "cooler heads" who would refuse to accept a launch order, be just as nuts as Trump, so there wouldn't actually be any cooler heads. This third argument is basically that Trump would change the definition of what a "cooler head" is, so that a cooler head would no longer refuse a launch order under questionable circumstances.

Of the three, I still think the second is the strongest.

Peter Donis said...

> I don't know if a veto-proof vote automatically becomes law or if it has to go through the motions of being vetoed and then voted on again.

As I understand it, it has to be vetoed and then voted on again. This would allow the President to at least delay it becoming law by refusing to veto it until the last possible moment (ten days excluding Sundays).

Don Geddis said...

Steven Lefevre said: "If you think the military is going to launch nuclear missiles based on no information and the conclusions jumped to by the president"

Your barrier to action sounds highly implausible to me. It isn't the job of the commander in the sub, or the aircraft pilot, to know exactly how much information the President has, in order to justify his decisions. It isn't even the job of the Joint Chiefs. Their job is to provide predictive advice, and to follow orders. The Joint Chiefs are not forensic experts on explosions in Seattle. If the President says "it was a nuke, and it was the North Koreans", I'm highly suspicious that even the Joint Chiefs respond to future orders with "oh, yeah? give me the specific evidence, personally".

Bush claimed that Saddam has WMDs. He suggested the kind of information that he had. But he didn't actually provide the specific evidence to the public. Do you think that the military planners of the Iraq invasion, demands personal briefings on the claim of Saddam's WMDs, before they planned and executed that invasion? It isn't their job to evaluate the intelligence that leads to a Presidential decision.

I completely disagree with your confidence, that US military leaders would refuse to follow orders until they were able to independently confirm the President's claims. That's just not how the chain of command works.

Steven Lefevre said...

Don, you are right. Once the order comes down to launch nuclear missiles, they are launched. That's the normal situation.

My contention is, if Trump is president, all bets are out the window. Read the interview with the missile officer that Ron linked to. They're not Ooh-Ra! jar heads. They know what's going on politically, all the way up the chain.

Bush claimed that Saddam had WMD, Colin Powell made a presentation in front of the UN, Tony Blair, Angela Merkel, and other allies were brought on board, Hans Blix was leading inspectors over Iraq for months, finally the UN passed a resolution authorizing the use of force and congress had a vote and approved the war. This whole process took over a year. The Bush administration got their ducks in a row, made their case, and got internal and international support. This whole process took over a year, if memory serves. You can't really blame the Bush administration alone; almost everyone was on board.

Contrast that with this scenario: Trump gets in a twitter feud with Kim Jong Il and orders Pyong Yang nuked. The order goes through, say, several people. This takes course over a couple hours.

I'm the submarine commander. I get the order. I know we're not at war with China, I know there hasn't been any major terrorists attacks recently, etc. There's been no presentation to congress, Colin Powell hasn't gone before the UN, congress hasn't declared war, the UN hasn't passed any resolution against anyone. The only thing different than any other day is that Trump is president, that maniac that I've been hearing about for the past two years. Am I going to relay that order?

> The Joint Chiefs are not forensic experts on explosions in Seattle

The fuck they aren't. If North Korea launches an ICBM, they'll know about it /seconds/ after it launches. They watch it fly all the way into the sea. They aren't experts themselves, but they have hundreds if not thousands of experts reporting up the chain of command to them.

Steven Lefevre said...

Ron, others, please note:

Section 4 of the Twenty-fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution gives Congress a role to play in the event of a presidential disability. **If the vice president and a majority of the president's cabinet declares that the president is unable to serve in that role, the vice president becomes acting president.** Within 21 days of such a declaration (or, if Congress is in recess when a president is disabled, 21 days after Congress reconvenes), Congress must vote by two-thirds supermajorities to continue the disability declaration; otherwise, such declaration expires after the 21 days and the president would at that time "resume" discharging all of the powers and duties of the office. While Section 3 of this amendment (in which the president declares that they are unable to discharge the powers and duties of the Presidency) has been invoked three times, Section 4 has yet to be invoked.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supermajority#United_States

The constitution provides for a defacto coup with a smooth transition of power.

If the vice president and a majority of the cabinet are not willing to declare Trump unfit to serve when he haphazardly orders a nuke strike, the problem isn't limited to Trump

Ron said...

> If congress holds an emergency session, then by definition, they are in session, so no pocket veto.

A pocket ten-day delay then. That's plenty of time to start WW3. (It might even be plenty of time to finish it.)

> your hypothetical left out a crucial element: what was the actual cause of the explosion in Seattle?

Yes, that was intentional. And there's precedent for this kind of uncertainty, as Don Geddis point out. The point is that there's a plausible path to this scenario using nothing but actions that are entirely within Trump's character or that otherwise have historical precedent. If WW3 does happen, we might never know for sure why.

> The constitution provides for a defacto coup with a smooth transition of power.

A good point. But the turning point in this scenario was not the explosion, it was Trump's response to Kim's insult, which leads to escalation. By the time Trump launches the nukes, the U.S. is (apparently) *under attack*. The point is that Hillary (or just about anyone else) would know better than to take Kim's bait in the first place.

Steven Lefevre said...

> A pocket ten-day delay then. That's plenty of time to start WW3. (It might even be plenty of time to finish it.)

I don't understand what you are talking about? Congress can get back in session any time they want. They don't have to wait ten days or anything. They just don't want to interrupt their vacation and get back on a plane to DC in regular situations, is all. Their legislative schedule is tradition, not mandated by the constitution.

I'm just really flummoxed that you think that all the level heads and attention hungry megalomaniacs are going to sit around in a diner in their home district, taking constituent questions, while Trump is ordering nuclear missile launches. "Well, I'd like to go there and give him what-for, but on the other hand, we have really worked hard this past legislative session..."

Or do you think, when nuclear missiles are flying, people are going to feel that their hands are tied by legalisms? Isn't that the very time when they would feel it was the exact situation to break the rules?

"Gee I'd really like to stop this madman and save the world from destruction, but as the Secretary of Transporation, I don't have the legal authority to grab him by the lapels and throttle him, so I am just going to stand around nervously while the world blows up around me..."

Luke said...

Perhaps the little guy is happy that folks like you (and me) finally have something to be afraid about? After all, if we're not going to pursue their best interests out of the goodness of our hearts (and I don't think we have), perhaps we can be forced to do it by fear. Isn't that the way things work?

Ron said...

> > A pocket ten-day delay then.

> I don't understand what you are talking about?

You said that Congress could change the law to reel Trump in. Yes, they could, but not immediately. The could pass a bill, but it would not become law without Trump's signature. Trump could veto the bill, and Congress could override the veto. But Trump can wait ten days before vetoing. During that ten-day period the bill is still not law, and Congress can do nothing but wait for Trump to act. So even with a 2/3 majority, Congress cannot effect any change in the law faster than ten days without the president's cooperation.

Peter Donis said...

> It isn't even the job of the Joint Chiefs. Their job is to provide predictive advice, and to follow orders. The Joint Chiefs are not forensic experts on explosions in Seattle. If the President says "it was a nuke, and it was the North Koreans", I'm highly suspicious that even the Joint Chiefs respond to future orders with "oh, yeah? give me the specific evidence, personally".

I don't know where you're getting this from. The President would quite possibly be *getting* whatever evidence he is basing his decision on *from* the Joint Chiefs. Even if he were getting it from somewhere else, say the FBI or the CIA, that same information would be going to the Joint Chiefs as soon as, or possibly even before, it went to the President. The Joint Chiefs are part of the national security apparatus and they see everything the national security apparatus sees. It is simply not going to be the case that the President has any significant information that the Joint Chiefs don't also have. And if a President claimed to have such "special" information that the Joint Chiefs didn't have, the Joint Chiefs would be highly suspicious--particularly if it were a President Trump who was already known to be a loose cannon.

Peter Donis said...

> Bush claimed that Saddam has WMDs. He suggested the kind of information that he had. But he didn't actually provide the specific evidence to the public. Do you think that the military planners of the Iraq invasion, demands personal briefings on the claim of Saddam's WMDs, before they planned and executed that invasion?

They didn't have to. They had already seen all of the intelligence that was (or wasn't, which is more to the point) behind Bush's claims. So had the Joint Chiefs. So had, at a minimum, the members of the Intelligence Committees in both houses of Congress. All of the political and military leaders who publicly supported the Iraq war had all of the private information they needed to know that the Saddam WMD claim was not well supported.

The more interesting question is, suppose that, instead of invading Iraq with conventional forces, Bush had proposed using nuclear weapons to take out his (claimed) WMD facilities? Would all of those same leaders still have supported him, knowing the same private information? Bear in mind that, as we discussed in a previous thread, use of WMDs is governed by international treaty in ways that use of conventional forces is not.

Peter Donis said...

> If the vice president and a majority of the cabinet are not willing to declare Trump unfit to serve when he haphazardly orders a nuke strike, the problem isn't limited to Trump


This is basically Ron's second argument that I referred to before: the idea that a Trump administration would end up putting people in these positions who would be as off the rails as he is. The only barrier to that that I can see is the Senate confirmation process.

Publius said...

Hillary Clinton - War Candidate

It's peculiar that you'd be worried about Trump starting a war or using nukes. Trump is an isolantionist! He wants to avoid military engagements. He has also stated he would be the last one to use nukes. The last one -- which means Hillary would come before him.

It's preposterious to think that a person who has made good choices in life - going to college, a successful busines, a successful family - would somehow turn into a mass murderer upon becoming President. Trump's never killed anyone, nor ordered a military mission that will result in dealth. A reasonable expectation would be that he woudl be reluctant to kill.

In contrast, what do we know of Hillary? She's a hawk  and a neocon.

1. She tried to join the Marines in 1975, giving you an idea of her warrior spirit.

2. As first lady:
a. supported in the invasion of Haiti in 1994. 
b. supported airstrikes in 1995 to bring an end to the Bosnian war. 
c. urged her husband, President Bill Clinton, to bomb Serbia in 1999. 

3. As Senator: she voted 'Yea' on H.J.Res. 114 on Oct 11, 2002, "Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002"

4. As Secretary of State:
a. pushed President Obama for escalation of the war in Afghanistan and the keeping of U.S. forces in that country longer. 
b. she pressed President Obama to arm the Syrian rebels and later endorsed airstrikes against the Assad regime. 
c. she pushed for the (unconstitutional and against the wishes of Congress) bombing of Libya. After Muammar Gaddafi died, she joked that "We Came, We Saw, He Died!" She later called this action "Smart power at its best." Also known as Hillary's War. 
d. she supported the Iran nuclear deal, which not only gives billions in cash to a state sponsor of terrorism, who calls the U.S. "Enemy #1", but also includes a secret add-on agreement which allows it to double its uranium enrichment rate by installing advanced centrifuges. Iran continues to develop ballistic missiles. Hillary hasn't threatened Iran with nuclear weapons -- instead, she supporting giving them the Bomb and a means to deliver it.

In conclusion, Hillary supports pre-emptive war, the President taking military action without the approval of Congress, and giving our enemies nuclear weapons.

Given the facts above, it's clear that a vote for Hillary is a vote for War.

Ron said...

@Publius:

> Trump is an isolantionist! He wants to avoid military engagements.

Sure. Unless he's dealing with "terrorists" in which case he wants to "bomb the shit out of them ... take out their families [and] ... take the oil." All direct Trump quotes.

It's true that Hillary is a hawk. She would not be my first pick to be president. I was hoping Elizabeth Warren would run. I was hoping Kasich would win on the Republican side (the only Republican candidate who was even remotely reasonable). But she didn't and he didn't, so here we are. At least Hillary has a grasp on reality. It's slim pickin's, I know, but you've gotta play the hand you're dealt.

Peter Donis said...

> Trump's never killed anyone, nor ordered a military mission that will result in dealth. A reasonable expectation would be that he woudl be reluctant to kill.

No, a reasonable expectation would be that he has never actually thought about what is involved in killing people; to him it's just a video game, not something real, since he's never had to deal with it as real. He's never had to make decisions where people's lives are at stake, so he would be expected to be ignorant about such decisions. I think the evidence bears out that expectation.

If Trump were a reasonable person with a reasonable amount of humility, then one might expect him to be reluctant to make such decisions because he would recognize his lack of knowledge and experience with them. But I don't think Trump has shown any evidence of being reasonable about such things, and he certainly hasn't shown any evidence of humility whatsoever.

Publius said...

@Peter Donis
>No, a reasonable expectation would be that he has never actually thought about what is involved in killing people; to him it's just a video game, not something real, since he's never had to deal with it as real. He's never had to make decisions where people's lives are at stake, so he would be expected to be ignorant about such decisions. I think the evidence bears out that expectation.

Your statement has a logical contradiction.

Restated:
A person not experienced with killing is more likely to become a mass murderer.
or
If one is not experienced with homicide, then one is more likely to commit homicide.

Let's take the contrapostive of that:
If one is not not experienced with homicide, then one is not more likely to commit homicide.
Which simplies to:
If one is experienced with homicide, then is one is less likely to commit homicide.

Evaluation
Certainly first-time homicide offenders come from the large group of people who have never committed homicide. How does their murder rate compare to that cohort of people who have committed homicide in the past?

Let's look at the data

Homicide rate for
No prior homicide : 0.065 - 0.35 %
Prior homicide conviction: 1 - 3.5%

Individuals who have committed homicide in the past are 10 times more likely than non-offenders to commit another homicide.

Conclusion
Your statement is invalidated.

Commentary
Humans have a built-in aversion to killing other humans. Killing is a learned skill. Soldiers have to be taught how to kill.

It is unreasonable to expect that Donald Trump would become a mass murder after he becomes President.

Luke said...

Publius, an obvious flaw in your argument is that first-person homicide is very different from making decisions which result in death via bureaucratic consequences—something much less direct that someone in Texas launching a drone strike in Afghanistan. Do you have evidence that the reticence of one human to kill another is very strong when there is significant indirection at play? My own understanding is that this indirection makes it quite easy to advocate death.

It's also the case that the US President has decisions to make which would save lives, which is very different from the homicide scenario. Instead, you would want to look at something like the category of 'culpable negligence', and how it functions among people in executive-level positions. My guess is that training in how to think properly is the best way to avoid culpable negligence; I'm not sure that Trump has such training. Indeed, I'm inclined to give him negative points for his support of casinos, as those tend to harm the weakest in society. (e.g. "Gambling is a tax on the mathematically stupid.")

Peter Donis said...

Restated:
A person not experienced with killing is more likely to become a mass murderer.

or

If one is not experienced with homicide, then one is more likely to commit homicide.


That isn't my argument. My argument is that a person not experienced at making decisions that can result in people being killed will not understand the ramifications of such decisions. As Luke pointed out, making decisions that can result in people being killed is not the same as killing them directly. Your straw man argument assumes that the two are the same.

Humans have a built-in aversion to killing other humans.

This is true, but it does not imply that humans also have a built-in aversion to making decisions that can result in people being killed, when they don't have to directly experience the deaths. The latter is what is being discussed.

Publius said...

Institutionalized Homicide

Let's take a look at bureaucratic, or institutional, killing. Mass killing by instituations is accomplished by separating the process into a series of intermediate steps. One person writes an order for the killing. That gets passed through the bureaucracy until it reaches the person who performs the actual violent action. As Stanely Milgram says in chapter 1 of Obience To Authority (1974):

This may illustrate a dangerously typical situation in complex society: it is psychologically easy to ignore responsibility when one is only an intermediate link in a chain of evil action but is far from the final consequences of the action.. . . Thus there is a fragmentation of the total human act; no one man decides to carry out the evil act and is confronted with its consequences. The person who assumes full responsibility for the act has evaporated. Perhaps this is the most common characteristic of socially organized evil in modern society.

He goes on further to state this is not a wholly psychological problem - it is also the environment, the situation, that people are put in:

The form and shape of society and the way it is developing have much to do with it.. . . A person does not get to see the whole situation but only a small part of it, and is thus unable to act without some kind of over-all direction. He yields to authority but in doing so is alienated from his own actions.

He then quotes George Orwell, who wrote:

As I write, highly civilized human beings are flying overhead, trying to kill me. They do not feel any enmity against me as an individual, nor I against them. They are only "doing their duty," as the saying goes. Most of them, I have no doubt, are kind-hearted law abiding men who would never dream of committing murder in private life. On the other hand, if one of them succeeds in blowing me to pieces with a well-placed bomb, he will never sleep any the worse for it.

Trump, as a leader of several organizations, has experience with giving directions and expecting the bureacracy under him to accomplish them. The end result hasn't been homicide. However, Milgram's work shows that almost everyone can be an intermediate link the chain of evil action. One could say that Trump has the potential to lead institutional killing.

What of Hillary Clinton? This will be considered in the next comments.

Publius said...

Hillary Clinton's Soul Mate, Part 1

Hillary Clinton certainly has experience in being and intermediate link in the chain of evil action. As detailed in "Hillary the Hawk," Hillary has a long record of supporting, voting for, and instigating military action resulting in death. She has no guilt or remorse over this and even joked about it.

Yet there is even more damning evidence against her. This involves the record of her husband, Bill Clinton.

Background
In November 1995, President Bill Clinton began genital contact with a 21 year-old White House intern. This would erupt as a scandal on January 19, 1998.

On August 7, 1998, al-Qaeda teams attack U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania with truck bombs. Hundreds were killed and thousands wounded.

On August 17, 1998 he testifies before a grand jury regarding an investigation into charges against the President for perjury and obstruction of justice. That night, he goes on national TV to admit to the affair.

Al-Sifa Pharmaceutical Plant Attack

On August 20, 1998, President Bill Clinton ordered the U.S. military to execute Operation Infinite Reach, which struck al-Qaeda bases in Afghanistan and a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan.

The initial attack on the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical plant killed one and wounded ten. However, the Al-Shifa provided all of Sudan's veterinary medicines and 50% of its anti-malaria and TB drugs. The attack also had the effect of stopping relief efforts supplying food to south Sudan (famine), as all the Americans evacuated the country out of fear of retaliation. The collateral death toll from the attack is not known, but is speculated to be in the tens of thousands.

Did Bill Clinton order the killing of thousands of people to distract American voters from his perjury and extra-marital affair? Or a response to the terrorist attacks of August 7?

Subsequent events would answer this question. On December 16, 1998, President Bill Clinton ordered Operation Desert Fox, a four day attack with cruise missiles and bombs. This delayed the House of Representatives voting on H. Res. 611, the articles of impeachment against him.

Bill Clinton ordered the killing of more people due to his political and legal problems.

Publius said...

Hillary Clinton's Soul Mate, Part 2

As we've seen, Bill Clinton is good at ordering the killing of thousands of people. How about when it's one-on-one with Bill?

The 1992 New Hampshire Primary
On January 19, 1992, the Boston Globe published a poll showing Governor Bill Clinton ahead of the democratic field of presidential candidates. Clinton was in first place with 29%, followed by Paul Tsongas at 17%.

Then the news broke of Bill Clinton's extra-marital affair with Gennifer Flowers. Subsequent polls showed Clinton falling far behind Tsongas.

To distract voters from the Gennifer Flowers scandal, and to appear tough on crime, Bill Clinton returned to Arkansas to oversee the execution of a mentally disabled black man, Rick Ray Rector. Mr. Rector was so brain-damaged that he no longer knew his own name, and, as he left his cell for the last time, saved the dessert from his last meal "for later." Mr. Rector was executed by lethal injection on Janary 24, 1998. Governor Clinton refused to issue an order of executive clemancy that week to halt his execution.

The New Hampshire Primary was held February 18, 1992. Paul Tsongas finished first (33%), and Bill Clinton finished second (25%). That night, Clinton labeled himself the "Comeback Kid". You know how the story ends.

His strategy had worked.

Hillary Clinton Life Partner

As Bill Clinton's wife, Hillary freely chooses to associate with him, and participate in all of the activities of a married couple (maintaining a residence, traveling together, eating together, having sexual intercourse, raising a child).

Hillary Clinton chooses to be married to a man who kills people to advance his own political ambitions.

How do you think she's going to consider you?