U.S. Army Capt. Nathan Michael Smith filed a suit against President Obama in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., over the ongoing war against ISIS, alleging the commander in chief can’t unilaterally deploy more special operations forces to overseas’ spots to fight the terrorists, but rather must seek and receive congressional permission.
Smith, who supports a U.S. war against ISIS, a group he references as an “army of butchers,” filed the suit a day after a Navy SEAL was killed in combat. His basic demand: Obama can’t keep using the same old Authorization for the Use of Military Force document that was used by President George W. Bush to fight off al-Qaida, but must receive new congressional OK.
Smith wants the court to rule Obama’s deployment of U.S. troops under the old authorization is a violation of the War Powers Resolution because Congress has not declared war or extended the authorization members issued under Bush. In the Constitution, only Congress has the authority to declare and wage war.
And Smith’s quandary is that he’s not sure if following Obama’s deployment order is lawful or not.
“This lawlessness,” the suit read, in reference to Obama’s actions, NBC News reported, “has made it impossible for Capt. Smith to determine whether his present mission is inconsistent with his oath to ‘preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,’ thus requiring him to seek an independent determination of this matter from the court.”
The Uniform Code of Military Justice allows service members to break from following orders that are illegal, else face punishment.