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Officer Who Thinks ISIS War Is Illegal Heads Back To Court To Plead His Case
Army Capt. Nathan Smith is trying to sue the United States over the war with ISIS because he believes it’s illegal. Except, he thinks it’s a just war that we need to be fighting. So why is he pursuing legal action? He wants Congress to officially declare war.
"My conscience bothered me,” Smith said in his lawsuit complaint. “When I was commissioned by the president in May 2010, I took an oath to 'preserve, protect and defend' the Constitution of the United States.”
The troops, he says, have been forced to violate their oaths in an illegal war, reported the Washington Times.
In November 2016, Smith brought his case to the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia, arguing that “he supported fighting the Islamic State as a matter of policy, he believed that the current effort violated the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution, which limits combat operations to 60 days if Congress has not authorized the deployment,” according to The New York Times.
In her ruling, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly wrote, “The court is not well equipped to resolve these questions, and the political branches who are so equipped do not appear to be in dispute as to their answers.”
This month, Smith will go in front of an appeals court to argue his case.
What makes Smith unique is that he is not a conscientious objector. He entirely supports the war against ISIS. He simply believes it needs to be made legitimate by the backing of Congress.
Currently, military operations against the Islamic States are authorized by Congress’ 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force, which permitted the use of military force against al Qaeda and those responsible for the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
In December 2016, President Barack Obama released an interpretation of the AUMF, which he said was wide enough to encompass all terrorist groups in the region. Smith, however, believes that considering ISIS an offshoot of al Qaeda is too thin to sustain a war with ISIS, and that a new declaration is needed.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has also recently demonstrated his support for a new AUMF.
“I would take no issue with the Congress stepping forward with an AUMF,” Mattis told the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee on March 22. “I think it’d be a statement of the American people’s resolve.”
And there are some in the legal community that believe Smith presents a strong case.
“I think there’s a lot of merit to Capt. Smith’s claim — and a very difficult question of statutory interpretation concerning whether the 2001 use of force authorization can fairly be read to encompass the Islamic State,” Stephen Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas, told the Washington Times.
However, he added, “Courts have historically been quite reluctant to resolve such fraught questions about the separation of war powers — and have looked for any plausible way to rule in the case without reaching the merits.”
Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.
And no one knows that better than military service members and we have the pictures to prove it.
The Pentagon has identified a Green Beret who was killed on Tuesday by enemy small arms fire in southern Afghanistan as Staff Sgt. Joshua Z. Beale.
Beale was assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, according to U.S. Army Special Operations Command. He was killed during combat operations in Tarin Kowt, Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan.
Coast Guard Commandant Blasts Government Shutdown That's Forced Service Members 'To Rely On Food Pantries And Donations'
The commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard called the ongoing partial government shutdown "unacceptable" following reports that some Coast Guardsmen are relying on donations from food pantries while their regular paychecks remain on hold.
"We're five-plus weeks into the anxiety and stress of this government lapse and your non-pay," Adm. Karl Schultz said in a video message to service members. "You, as members of the armed forces, should not be expected to shoulder this burden."
The battlefield of the future could feature robot medics delivering life-saving care to casualties in the line of fire. At least, that's what the Army is aiming for — and it's willing to pay millions for help doing it.
by Martin Slagter, The Ann Arbor News, Mich.
YPSILANTI, MI - When a brigade of U.S. troops was ambushed by the North Vietnamese Army in the Song Tra Cau riverbed on the morning of May 15, 1967, Lt. Charles Kettles volunteered to lead the rescue, and he refused, again and again, to back down when faced with a barrage of gunfire.
His aircraft badly damaged, left spilling fuel, and his gunner was severely injured during the treacherous operation.
But he helicoptered in and out of the battlefield four times, saving the lives of 44 soldiers in a death-defying emergency operation that would become a legendary tale of bravery in the Vietnam War.
Nearly 50 years later, Kettles received the Medal of Honor on July 18, 2016.