"We're Not Stupid" - Top US Nuclear Commander Would Disobey "Illegal" Trump Orders

Tyler Durden's picture

A few short months after Admiral Scott Swift, Commander of the US Navy’s Pacific Fleet, said he would obey a hypothetical order to launch a nuclear strike against China if the president chose to give it, Air Force Gen. John Hyten - America's top nuclear commander - said Saturday he would push back against President Trump if the president ordered a nuclear launch the general believed to be "illegal."

When an audience member asked Hyten, who was speaking at a national security conference in Halifax Canada, about the hypothetical scenario, he responded by assuring his interlocutor that military commanders “aren’t stupid.”

Here's CBS:

Air Force Gen. John Hyten, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM), told an audience at the Halifax International Security Forum in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Saturday that he has given a lot of thought to what he would say if Mr. Trump ordered a strike he considered unlawful.


"I think some people think we're stupid," Hyten said in response to a question about such a scenario. "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 explained the process that would follow such a command. As head of STRATCOM, Hyten is responsible for overseeing the U.S. nuclear arsenal.


"I provide advice to the president, he will tell me what to do," Hyten added. "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 he has been trained every year for decades in the law of armed conflict, which takes into account specific factors to determine legality - necessity, distinction, proportionality, unnecessary suffering and more. Running through scenarios of how to react in the event of an illegal order is standard practice, he said.

And Hyten is not the only one who’s been thinking about how they might react to a hypothetical order to launch a nuclear strike. A few months ago, Vanity Fair reported that Defense Secretary Mattis, Chief of Staff John Kelly and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had discussed the issue, though it’s unclear, exactly, how they would respond.

Hyten apparently believes that an order from the president could be illegal, under certain unspecified circumstances. And if you execute an illegal order, he said, you could be prosecuted.

John Hyten

"If you execute an unlawful order, you will go to jail. You could go to jail for the rest of your life," Hyten said.

As CBS pointed out, Hyten’s comments come at a time when Congress is reexamining the authorization of the use of military force and power to launch a nuclear strike.

In a hearing earlier this week, Sen. Ed Markey, D-Massachusetts, said Mr. Trump "can launch nuclear codes just as easily as he can use his Twitter account."

Hyten said the military is always ready to respond to the threat of North Korea, even at that very moment. Trump has been embroiled in a war of words with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un since shortly after taking office, and has repeatedly threatened to respond with overwhelming force if he the North continues to threaten the US.

"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."

However, Admiral Swift, who has led the Pacific Fleet since 2015, has a very different view of the obligations that come with being a military commander in charge of the US’s nuclear arsenal.

“Every member of the US military has sworn an oath to defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic and to obey the officers and the president of the United States as commander and chief appointed over us.”

When it comes to nuclear war, North Korea, for many, is the first adversary that comes to mind. But in the long run, China, which is reportedly developing hypersonic fighter jets that would be able to reach the Continental US within 14 minutes and has been slowly expanding its military footprint in the Pacific, may pose the bigger threat.

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07564111's picture

Maybe not ;) - He knows that those bunkers won't save him or his family.

Occident Mortal's picture

If there is any doubt he might follow orders then his entire program is obsolete.

So yeah, he’s pretty stupid.

07564111's picture

Nope, he understands MAD.

And.. His program has already failed along with his oath... “Every member of the US military has sworn an oath to defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic and to obey the officers and the president of the United States as commander and chief appointed over us.”

LoL, THe swamp in charge is both a foreign and domestic enemy but the swamp still rules. :D :D :D

wee-weed up's picture



This opinion is not a criticism - just a reflection on reality.

Air Force Gen. John Hyten - America's top nuclear commander


Air Force Gen. John Hyten - America's FORMER top nuclear commander

Lurk Skywatcher's picture

pfft.. where were all the "legal eagle" generals this past decade and a half!?

Every move by the US military in the world over that time has been illegal under international law, so the question needs to be asked - under which set of laws would this tool assess the legality of Trumps order? Murphy's law? The laws of thermodynamics? the law as interpreted by an Obama appointed Hawaiian judge?


IH8OBAMA's picture

So, If President Trump gave the order, during the House and Senate break, to nuke Maxine Water's house, would that be considered an illegal order?  Or would that be OK?


macholatte's picture


Let me get this straight.....
NORAD detects a launch of hostile ICBMs coming at the USA. The President has 15 minutes to react...

Air Force Gen. John Hyten wants to get into a debate with the President, his boss, and have a chat about the right words to use and the right tone of voice and weather or not someone might be offended by the USA retaliating against an enemy.

Fuck That!

Air Force Gen. John Hyten should be fired in 3, 2, 1.

French Bloke's picture

"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."

Well actually it's not that straight forward, otherwise the invasion of Iraq would never have happened. Legality hardly comes into it when you have minutes or seconds to decide when nukes (a defensive measure?) come into it. Utter bollocks!

MANvsMACHINE's picture

I bet if Trump ordered him to grab Melania by the pussy, he would obey that order.

French Bloke's picture

I could be corrupted to that degree...

Eyes Opened's picture

That would be illegal... & enjoyable... I'm conflicted ..   :-(

French Bloke's picture

edit - watch out for the false flag

bobcatz's picture

When the FALSE FLAG comes, round up the Israelis and keep them in jail this time. Then BOMB Israhell. http://wp.me/p4OZ4v-F4

Gaius Frakkin' Baltar's picture

A general or admiral who said something like this would have been shitcanned under niggerboy for being rayciss (in fact there was a purge).

Of course it would have been sexist under Hillary. Can you even imagine any male military commander questioning a female president? The feminists, jews, and cuckbois would have ate him alive.

DownWithYogaPants's picture

Is Shepherd Smith a false fag operation?

OverTheHedge's picture

The inference for all of this is that Trump is completely mad, and will insanely launch nukes at random non-enemies in a fit of pique, and therefore is not to be trusted, and actually should probably be impeached, for his safety, and the safety of those around him. (Nothing like a run-on sentence, AND a split infinitive to annoy the grammar-Nazis.)

All fairly transparent propaganda, I would say.

Kayman's picture

Speaking anything in public about what he would do when directed by the President, is giving comfort to the enemy. I hope Hyte has already signed his resignation and cashed his Russian check.

As if Trump is going to wake up at 3:30 and say fuck it, let's bomb Norway. Hyte tells me the Washington Mob has a large family in the U.S. Military.

shovelhead's picture

The discussion revolves, obviously, about a First Strike scenario.

A defensive response would require no discussion of legality, rather it would take on a measured response aspect to contain escalation.

You've seen the movies.

Kayman's picture

"Excuse me, Mr. President, could you hold the line a minute while I check with my lawyers...."

east of eden's picture

First of all, NATO is not even capable of detecting a Russian Sarmat launch, and second of all, if the Russians did launch, in numbers, you would not have 25 minutes to make a decision. You would in truth have no time at all because the Sarmat's travel in space, then re-renter the atmosphere at Mach 26. Which means that by the time the Sarmat's are re-entering the atmosphere, you wouldn't even have time to take a shit.

So why don't you fucking smarten up? ANd stop trying to provoke everyone.

SilverRhino's picture

Make no mistake.  He is about to be.   


There is ZERO tolerance for a Four Star General to make those comments and retain command.

Boris Alatovkrap's picture

This is such bold declaration! General is not proceed on "illegal order"! Wow! Boris is not drive on wrong side of road, no matter how much wife is complain about pot hole on right side of road. Big deal. This is no big deal, just fodder for news story by distracted and dysregulated leftist hack.

Conscious Reviver's picture

True Boris. When I was a soldier, we were told not to follow illegal orders. The general is just stating long accepted policy, at least since Nuremberg.

The other thing we were supposed to do was defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic, but that seems to have gone by the wayside.

shovelhead's picture

In that case a first strike on Washington by NORAD is perfectly justified.

Kayman's picture

Naturally, when the heat is on, every soldier had his lawyer by his side to check the "legalness" of his orders.  

Hyte is just plain fucking stupid.  Most of the outrageous military killings in the past 100 years were "legal".

agNau's picture

More NON evidence against Trump that supports the "unfit" narrative.
Repeat a lie often enough, it becomes truth.
Trump colluded with the Russians.
Where's the proof after a year of research?

kochevnik's picture

Where's the proof after a year of research?

Next to Penis Christ and Santa Claws


Kayman's picture

"Repeat a lie often enough, it becomes truth."

Washington is the Mob, existing solely to divide the spoils amongst competing Families.  Pass it on.  Oh, and Russian cash is ok, but don't be caught smiling with open suitcases of it.

SoDamnMad's picture

Zdrasvoitia Boris. Where have you been hiding?

Lumberjack's picture

Israel’s Ploy Selling a Syrian Nuke Strike


Exclusive: The Iraq WMD fiasco wasn’t the only time political pressure twisted U.S. intelligence judgments. In 2007, Israel sold the CIA on a dubious claim about a North Korean nuclear reactor in the Syrian desert, reports Gareth Porter.

steelhead23's picture

Quick Boris, check your compass.  Those fomenting to give the U.S. President the unencumbered power to anhilate the globe, are not 'dysregulated leftist hacks.'  Those DLH's I know are very anti-authoritarian, hate war, listen to Raggae music, read obscure books. and would never suggest giving the U.S. President more power.  

caconhma's picture

The US military top brass are NOT combat generals. They are bureaucrats thinking about themselves and their families first.

Kayman's picture

 "They are bureaucrats thinking about themselves and their families first."

They are cocktail party sycophants, not wanting to be shunned by the Washington left wing crowd.

Gardentoolnumber5's picture

Right? And obeying illegal 'conventional' war orders is A-OK which could lead to a nuclear winter. A 2000lb bomb, okay but no nukes. They're freaking insane.

Offthebeach's picture

Buck Turgidson was the best General

Lumberjack's picture

Yup. Now lets flip the coin over. Would he (they) launch when the President says not to?

Kayman's picture

Hyte is just confirming, inadvertently, that the Washington Mob runs the government.

Presidents make orders that the Military "advise" him to.  Not the other way around.

Trump ain't no follower of the Piper - like former Presidents.

libertyanyday's picture

Hyte is just confirming, inadvertently,  


bullshit, you dont make 0-9 by speaking ' inadvertantly'. revoke his commision

ReZn8r's picture

Fire this former general by twitter today. Trump should also ask if there are any other Generals who want to be fired, if so step forward.

This democrat/traitor shit has infiltrated every facet of every government level there is. CLEAN THE FUCKING HOUSE and the Swamp will start draining.

max2205's picture

Orders are orders....How did this fuck get where he is?   You don't discuss why when enemy's missile are in the air....kick him out....

07564111's picture

If an enemy missile is in the air there's not much left to discuss, you party is already over. :D :D

El Oregonian's picture

Stupidity comes in all forms... Even when they have several stars on their shoulders.

These progressives need to be purged from the Armed Forces, they endanger all who serve under them.

Nekoti's picture

These progressives need to purged from the Earth.

Winston Churchill's picture

The last thought going thru' the condemmeds head as he reached the bottom of the drop

in Spandau ?

Befhel ist befhel.

No , orders are not always orders.

FoggyWorld's picture

And it's grossly unfair to label Trump as someone who would have landed in Spandau or have been executed.

This is paranoia living in the heads of those who voted for HRC who seems by the way to be losing her mind.

07564111's picture

I can't vote in your elections ;)

Dotard Trump is not alone when it comes to those Americunts who should dance in Spandau.