Former US Secretary of Defense William Perry called on President-elect Joe Biden to revoke the full powers of controlling nuclear weapons launch codes, considering that the current system in force is “against democracy, outdated, unnecessary and extremely dangerous.”
In an article published in the daily Politico, Perry, who held the defense portfolio under Bill Clinton from 1994 to 1997, warned that the symbols of nuclear missile launches are still in the hands of outgoing President Donald Trump, who is accused of instigating the violence witnessed in Congress on Wednesday.
Perry said in the article that “the time has come to withdraw the portfolio of nuclear symbols from the hands of this president and all the presidents who will succeed him” in the post.
He stressed that confining the nuclear symbols in the hands of the president “is no longer necessary” and that “the existence of the nuclear bag in itself poses a threat to our national security.”
The president is accompanied in all circumstances by a military team that handles the transfer of the nuclear symbol bag called “football” (soccer), which contains all necessary to launch a nuclear strike.
The former defense minister recalled that the president is granted, from the moment he takes office, the “absolute right to wage nuclear war”, and that “he does not need anyone’s opinion on this. The defense minister has no opinion on this matter. There is no role for Congress.”
“Why this risk? Do we really think that the president should have the ultimate authority to destroy our planet in a moment?” Perry asked. Perry reminded that it was former President Harry Truman who decided after the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 75 years ago by the atomic bomb not to use this weapon again.
Perry recounted that Truman “was convinced that nuclear weapons should be withdrawn from the hands of the military. So Truman declared that no atomic bomb would be dropped unless he personally gave a permit to do so.”
And he considered that “Truman set a dangerous precedent by restricting the ability to control the hand of one person.”
Perry called on the president-elect to declare from the moment he took office that he would “share the right to use nuclear weapons with a restricted group of members of Congress.”
“On January 20, if all goes well, the country and the world will breathe a sigh of relief,” the article said.
“Once Joe Biden swears an oath, the portfolio of nuclear symbols will be in his hands. It will be up to Biden to get rid of them and to ensure that the most powerful death machine ever created is not confined to an impeccable human being,” Perry said.