On Saturday, the United States’ commander of U.S. Strategic Command said in an interview that he would refuse an order from President Donald Trump to fire a nuclear bomb if he thought the launch was “illegal.”
Air Force Gen. John Hyten said, “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?’”
Hyten continued, “And we’ll come [with] 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 that he has often thought of what he would say if ordered to carry out an unlawful strike, adding that if he followed an illegal order, “You could go to jail for the rest of your life.”
“I think some people think we’re stupid,” Hyten added, “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 made his comments after Trump has repeatedly attacked North Korea over the country’s nuclear threats.
Trump recently returned from a 12-day trip to Asia, during which he discussed North Korea with world leaders.
In August, the president promised to unleash “fire and fury” on North Korea if the country did not stop its threats against the U.S.
Hyten claims that our military is ready to respond to a threat from North Korea at anytime.
“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.”