[pjw] NEWS/ACTION: Soldier May Sue to End ISIS War (AP 10/6)

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Thu Oct 15 17:13:46 EDT 2015

At last night's Iraq Affinity Group meeting, I mentioned this article from 
the Associated Press documenting Yale Law Profressor Bruce Ackerman's 
efforts to challenge the war(s) in Iraq and Syria. It's very exciting 
because we had been toying with the idea of finding active duty service 
people and lawyers to work on this concept locally, but it seems we're 
better off supporting Prof. Ackerman's efforts. If you can share this with 
folks you know, let them know what he's doing and that any military 
personnel who feel that being deployed to Iraq/Syria without Congressional 
authorization is unconstitutional should contact the Professor at Yale, 
please do so!

Prof. Ackerman wrote several of his own articles which he shared back with 
PJW. (My only question is why he challenged the use of "associated forces" 
to expand the 2001 Authorization but didn't mention that the term 
"associated forces" isn't in that document.)

The Atlantic August 2015

New York Times Feb 2015

Washington Post Nov 2014

NY Times Sept 2014


--dan handelman
peace and justice works iraq affinity group

Soldier May Sue to End ISIS War
A scholar who calls the war illegal says he's getting 'confidential
expressions of interest' for a potentially groundbreaking lawsuit.
    The Associated Press
    By [29]Steven Nelson Oct. 6, 2015 | 3:12 p.m. EDT + More

    Last October, the Obama administration blew past the 60-day deadline
    for an armed conflict to be authorized by Congress or ended and
    continued bombing the Islamic State group. Many scholars say the air
    war has since then been illegal.

    Now, a lawsuit seeking to prove the war is unlawful may be on its way.

    The lawsuit, still a hypothetical, would be brought by an active-duty
    member of the U.S. military challenging an order related to the
    campaign against the jihadi group in Iraq and Syria.

    Such a lawsuit could conceivably break new legal ground and result in
    either an end to the U.S. military campaign or, perhaps more likely,
    prompt Congress to authorize it.

    Yale University law professor Bruce Ackerman [31]floated the idea in
    July and received a warm response from the group Iraq Veterans Against
    the War, whose co-director, Matt Howard, said they would be happy to
    help interested troops.

    So did anyone bite? Yes, Ackerman says.

    ÒIÕve received some confidential expressions of interest, but I canÕt
    go public on anything at this time,Ó he tells U.S. News.

    The potential lawsuit, he says, remains Òa big if, at present.Ó

    But if it happens, the challenge may put to the test President Barack
    Obama's controversial claim that dated war authorizations allow for the

    Obama announced airstrikes against the Islamic State group in Iraq on
    Aug. 7, 2014, as the jihadis approached Irbil, the capital of Iraqi
    Kurdistan, and besieged members of the Yazidi religious minority on a
    mountaintop. The airstrikes expanded to Syria in September, after the
    group beheaded two U.S. journalists.

    The Obama administration claims it has legal authority to conduct the
    strikes through a 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF)
    issued against the perpetrators of 9/11 and a 2002 AUMF passed to
    topple Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

    The White House supports repeal of the 2002 AUMF and primarily leans on
    the anti-al-Qaida authorization, citing historical post-9/11
    associations between the extremist groups. Al-Qaida and its Syrian
    affiliate, however, are involved in a bitter rivalry and on-the-ground
    fighting against the Islamic State group.

    Administration officials say they would welcome a new authorization
    from Congress specifically for the current war, but that itÕs legally
    unnecessary. Many scholars [33]strongly disagree, particularly
    regarding strikes inside Syria.

Scholars Doubt Obama's Authority to Wage War on the Islamic State

    But AckermanÕs idea isnÕt necessarily a sure bet. ÒI wouldnÕt take that
    case on a contingency basis!Ó Eugene Fidell, co-founder of the National
    Institute of Military Justice, said when the idea was offered. Although
    he agrees the war is unauthorized, Fidell said a judge would likely
    find the soldierÕs lawsuit deals with a political matter and dismiss
    it, though Ackerman doubts it.

    The case, in theory, would have a better likelihood of success than
    other recent lawsuits alleging violations of the War Powers Resolution
    of 1973, which allows for the 60 days of unauthorized conflict, plus a
    30-day withdrawal period. Most cases fail on standing, such as a
    lawsuit filed by 10 members of Congress against ObamaÕs bombing
    campaign to help drive Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi from power,
    which Congress did not authorize.

    The soldier, Ackerman believes, could easily clear the standing burden
    by showing a Òconcrete and particularizedÓ injury fairly traceable to
    the challenged action and redressable by a favorable ruling. Then, he
    believes, they would prevail on the merits of their claim.

    Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., one of the most vigorous critics of the
    current war lacking congressional authorization, [35]told U.S. News in
    July heÕs uncertain how such a lawsuit would fare, but Òif someone
    [sues] it clearly raises awareness and pressure on Congress" to act.

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