Fletcher in the News

Soldier Who Supports War Against Islamic State Files Lawsuit Calling it Illegal: Prof. Glennon Comments in The Washington Times

Army Capt. Nathan Michael Smith believes the U.S. fight against the Islamic State is a “good war” against “an army of butchers” — which makes it all the more surprising that he has filed a lawsuit that, if successful, could end up scuttling the war.

The intelligence officer says that while the fight is just, it’s also illegal because President Obama launched it without the explicit approval of Congress.

He has asked the federal courts to step in and halt the fight, saying that until Congress gives an official OK, he and his troops are in the impossible situation of taking up arms for an illegal war, violating the oaths they took when they joined up...

...Capt. Smith, though, has filed briefs by a group of Islamic scholars who say the connection is tenuous at best.

Michael Glennon, a law professor at Tufts University who signed onto legal briefs backing Capt. Smith, said it was unusual for a plaintiff like Mr. Smith to challenge war powers despite supporting the war.

“Most war powers challenges in the past have been raised by draft resisters or servicemen who otherwise disagreed with the underlying policy, so it’s in fact somewhat unusual that the individual in question is supportive of the policy,” said Mr. Glennon. “However, it’s easy to understand the dilemma that he’s in because he’s been given conflicting orders and he faces potential punishment either way.”

Mr. Glennon also said public polling indicates that Americans think the president shouldn’t wage war without approval from Congress.

“If the press reports it more fully, I think the public would be quite outraged,” he said.

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