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snopes
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Comment: I heard decades ago that the US military cut certain lines to the
White House during the Nixon impeachment - because they feared he was now
mentally unstable and would press the Button.

I *think* it was an old Newsweek article or something. Could this possibly
be true?

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brkid1
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by snopes:
Comment: I heard decades ago that the US military cut certain lines to the
White House during the Nixon impeachment - because they feared he was now
mentally unstable and would press the Button.

I *think* it was an old Newsweek article or something. Could this possibly
be true?

[Roll Eyes]

Uh, no. There is no magic "button" for the POTUS to use when authorizing use of America's nuclear arsenal. There is set standard of communication and authentication used in order to prevent launch accidentally or by someone who is mentally unstable. A two-person system is used on all launch platforms e.g. bomber, ICBM, submarine to prevent the "madman" scenario.

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Silas Sparkhammer
I Saw V-Chips Come Sailing In


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As I remember it, during the very last days of the Nixon administration, special orders were issued (but by whom?) ordering the military to double check any orders to action.

There was some serious concern that he might go nuts and order a launch or invasion or something.

Silas

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abbubmah
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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OH MY! I just watched "Dr. Strangelove" last night. Gen. Jack Ripper (!) was the nutzo. Interesting, although the movie was "comedy", it did address several points - one, that a ranking military officer had the authority to order a retaliatory strike if the normal command is disabled. Two, if you tighten your protocol too much, there is no going back.

I realize it is fiction, of course, but I suspect it raised conciousness in the '60s about how things could get out of hand. I'm sure if Nixon's mental state was in question that the themes in this movie were discussed in dark corners of the military and administration.

--------------------
Fundamentally Unfundie since 1975

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Methuselah
Happy Holly Days


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This thread immediately makes me think of the episode of "The Simpsons" where Homer runs for the office of Sanitation Commissioner.

"Do we really want old man Patterson with his finger on the button?"

--------------------
"The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him." - G.K. Chesterton

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