“Under the 1973 War Powers Resolution, when the President introduces United States armed forces into hostilities… he must either get approval from Congress within sixty day to continue the operation, in the form of a declaration of war… [the] President did not get Congress’s approval for his war against ISIS in Iraq or Syria… the war is therefore illegal,” said Captain Nathan Michael Smith, a military intelligence officer, in court documents filed in the US District Court for the District of Columbia on Tuesday.
The court documents say that the 1973 War Powers Resolution was enacted by Congress to prevent presidential overreach and protect Congress’ right to vote on whether and when to go to war. The resolution was created after Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon escalated the war in Vietnam and extended it into Laos and Thailand as a general “war against communism.”
Captain Smith, 28, was commissioned in 2010 and deployed to Afghanistan for eight months in 2012. He is from a three-generation family of military officers and has been deployed in Kuwait with the Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, which is the campaign against the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), since last fall.
“I joined the military in 2010 because I believe the US military is a force for good in the world… [like] everyone, I was taken aback when I saw ISIS sweep through Syria and Iraq, seizing city after city, town after town, with their beheadings and crucifixions, laying to waste all in their way. They are an army of butchers. Their savagery is sickening,” wrote Captain Smith in the court papers.