Can the USA president use military force against his/her own citizens without approval?

  • 2
    Where? Approval form who? Commented Nov 12, 2016 at 8:50
  • @DrunkCynic I guess from God who just blessed.
    – Sejanus
    Commented Nov 12, 2016 at 11:15
  • 1
    can, or may?
    – user4012
    Commented Nov 12, 2016 at 14:16
  • 3
    Domestically? Or on foreign soil? This question could use more fleshing out.
    – Brythan
    Commented Nov 12, 2016 at 17:40

1 Answer 1


Depends what is mean by 'approval', but there is precedent here of Obama ordering extra judicial execution of US citizens - e.g.


In any case, regardless of whether a given course of action is legal or not, there are no mechanisms other than perhaps the conscience of individual members of the armed forces for the military to disregard any order given by the President, who is Commander-in-chief.

  • 1
    In theory, if it is illegal, Obama could have been impeached and then prosecuted. Of course, that has never happened in the history of the United States, but the constitution supports it as a mechanism or option.
    – Brythan
    Commented Nov 12, 2016 at 17:04
  • 1
    An impeachment couldn't stop an unapproved use of force from occurring, it can only retrospectively result in a president being dismissed. Note that a successful impeachment requires a 2/3rds majority vote in the senate, which would mean 67 senators.
    – Jonno
    Commented Nov 13, 2016 at 5:45

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