Proposal: keep the nuclear launch codes in an innocent volunteer's chest-cavity

The Harkonnen Administration approves


it’s even worse than that.

This procedure would start an arms race for weapons that could disable the president before s/he should hack the launch codes out of the person.

Also, that doctor who follows the president and the ever present secret service detail?

They’d just get additional assignment. No way we’d enntrust national security to the assassination and surgical skills of the president.

As a way to pose this moral question, this is a great scenario.

in practice, like most philosophical questions, it’s rather limited.


I’d say it works either way. It makes the Americans far less likely to be the aggressor in using nuclear weapons (there were periods when the president was being advised that pre-emptively nuking Russia was the thing to do). Outside of that, the biggest threat during the Cold War was due to false alarms, with both sides believing, at various times, that the other side had launched a nuclear attack, or with someone mistakenly being given orders to launch (which they thankfully did not do). If the Russians know the Americans have this set-up, they’re more likely to see false alarms for what they are. The Americans are less likely to respond to a false alarm without getting some verification of what’s happening, and, worst-case scenario, if the Russians have launched a strike, it’s slightly less likely the Americans will retaliate by further murdering hundreds of millions of innocent people.


I propose a less violent deterrent.

The volunteer keeps the launch codes up his ass. Nobody needs to get killed to retrieve the codes, but the President needs to get them himself. That way neoconservative warhawks are dissuaded from taking the job because “starting a nuclear war would be so gay.”

Edit: ah, I see @MrHarley proposed that idea already.


Uh, y’all know that for decades the launch code was actually just 00000000, right?


Now they make the President choose at least one capital letter and one number (no spaces or punctuation marks), minimum 7 characters.

My guess is that he just uses the same password he used to set up his email,


the question came up one time, “Why do UN peacekeepers carry weapons?” And it seems the answer has to do with communicating with people who lack imagination. A weapon is a communication device, carrying the signal of threat. If your audience can’t read what you’ve written with a pen, then you bring a sword. If that doesnt work, blood will spill.

The whole point of making sure a military commander has a well rounded educatiom, is to trust that he knows what he’s taking away when he orders meyhem. If you dont trust the imagination of your general to fully value the lives he’ll be taking, then adding another layer of theater isnt gping to help.

I mean, the USA has murdered many thousands of innocent brown people without nukes in the last 70 years, if we’d stuck an innocent white life in the way before each new atrocity, you think it might have made a difference?

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Given the state of the VA health system, I suspect that it would have to be better than merely innocent and white. You can get more political support for fetuses than for providing medical care to the people who fought at your order. Maybe a really cute kid, or an attractive and upper middle class woman?


Putting the ‘permissive’ in ‘permissive action link’!

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I thought it was correcthorsebatterystaple now.


human hearts are weak. That’s why Cheney ripped his own out and replaced it with an efficient machine.

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Just don’t entrust them to a purpose built supercomputer to ensure that human irrationality will never lead to disaster.


This idea is why we’ll always need Jack Bauer in 'merica. Jack Bauer would off that toady so quickly you wouldn’t have a chance to say “wait, I was still just considering things!”

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On the plus side, he might accidentally consume the capsule while cramming the still beating heart into his mouth.

But I want to know, what happens if an out-of-control trolley car is racing towards the volunteer with the launch codes in his chest, and the only thing that can stop it is a self-driving car with a family of Quakers inside?


For the president, correcthorsebayonetstaple.
That’s a topical enough reference, right? I mean, the xkcd comic was from 2011.

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The Three Laws of Robotics XKCD

That will just make him completely used to pulling it out all the time. No deterrent there.

Donald Trump is not going to walk away from Omelas, lemme tell you people.


Just make sure the volunteer with the codes next to their heart isn’t brown. Data show that U.S. officials are much more willing to kill brown people.

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ummm… last time we used one (two, actually), we won.
The real question is whether one believes that using nukes against a country that cannot retaliate nukularily would trigger reprisals from nuke-capable countries.