WASHINGTON (AP) — An Army captain sued President Barack Obama on Wednesday, alleging that he doesn’t have the proper congressional authority to wage war against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.
Capt. Nathan Michael Smith filed the suit in U.S. District Court in Washington as the president is deploying more special operations forces to the region — and a day after a Navy SEAL was killed in combat in Iraq, the third since a U.S.-led coalition launched its campaign against the Islamic State in the summer of 2014.
Smith supports the war on military and moral grounds and considers the Islamic State an “army of butchers.” But he wants the court to tell Obama that he needs to ask Congress for a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force.
The White House did not comment on the lawsuit.
To fight IS, Obama has been relying on congressional authorizations given to President George W. Bush for the war on al-Qaida and the invasion of Iraq. Critics say the White House’s use of post-9/11 congressional authorizations is a legal stretch at best.
I suspect that the courts will be very reluctant to intervene in this separation of powers issue.