Air Force Gen. John Hyten, commander of the US Strategic Command (STRATCOM) said on Saturday he was ready to disobey a possible presidential unlawful order to use nuclear weapons.
Air Force Gen. John Hyten said at the Halifax International Security Forum in Canada that the law of armed conflict set a number of criteria to determine legality of a military action such as necessity, distinction, proportionality, unnecessary suffering and others.
“I provide advice to the president, he will tell me what to do… 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?’ And we’ll come up [with] 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, as quoted by the CBS News broadcaster.
“If you execute an unlawful order, you will go to jail. You could go to jail for the rest of your life,” he added.
Earlier this week, the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee raised the issue of whether incumbent President Donald Trump should retain an authority to order a nuclear strike. The Senate focused on the problem after Trump’s harsh remarks about North Korea, which included the promise to to unleash “fire and fury” and to “totally destroy” the country if necessary.