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Get Trump's finger off the nuclear button

The nuclear "football" -- always close to the PresidentWriting in The Nation this week, investigative journalist, Mark Hertsgaard, draws chilling attention to a frightening reality. "We need to get Donald Trump's finger off the nuclear button," he writes in the lead to an article entitled: Donald Trump Has His Finger on the Nuclear Button. Maybe We Should Do Something About That.

He points out that current U.S. policy has few safeguards against a madman in the White House.

"At present, US law and long-standing policy give president Trump unilateral, unstoppable authority to launch a nuclear attack. He need not present a compelling reason for such an attack; perhaps he simply decides that it’s time to teach North Korea a lesson. He need not notify, much less obtain agreement from, leaders in Congress or the secretary of defense or other military officials. Trump’s status as commander in chief empowers him and him alone to unleash nuclear weapons at a moment’s notice."

While the news media laps up every Trump distraction -- Sessions, obsessive tweets about Hilary Clinton -- one of the two most critical issues of our time (along with climate change) is largely ignored. There are things we can do. Hertsgaard makes the following suggestions:

"For the sake of the nation and indeed humanity, it is imperative to reform US nuclear-weapons policy. Start with three concrete, common-sense measures: The United States should take its nuclear weapons off of “hair-trigger” status; it should declare a policy of “no first use” of nuclear weapons; and it should prohibit this or any president from unilaterally launching a nuclear attack. Instead, it should require the president to act in concert with military and congressional leaders—except under exceptional circumstances, such as an adversary’s imminent nuclear attack."

Read the full article