Poll Results: Should it Be Legal to Join Foreign Fights?

A Peshmerga (Kurdish) fighter in Sinjar, Iraq. The Kurdish force recently liberated the Sinjar region of Iraq from ISIS.
A Peshmerga (Kurdish) fighter in Sinjar, Iraq. The Kurdish force liberated the Sinjar region of Iraq from ISIS. (Photo: John Moore/Getty Images)

A Rhode Island father was recently sentenced to three years in prison for violating his probation and leaving the country to fight against ISIS. Barring these unusual circumstances, we asked you, our readers: Should it be illegal for U.S. citizens to go overseas to fight against terror. Here are the results of our poll (comments follow):

  • 31.1 percent said yes
  • 68.8 percent said no


Here are some of your comments:

Before the USA entered WWI and WWII, Americans joined French and UK forces to fight the Germans. What is the difference between fighting Germany in WWII and ISIS now?

Not when they are not on parole.

Are we free to make our own choices or not? If not, then we are not a free country.

How do you know what side they are fighting for could be ISIS for all you know.

As long as the cause doesn’t contradict the values of this country (terror is defined differently by us and, say, Islamists…)

As long as it is not an enemy of the U.S.

I would rather we fight terror overseas than having it to do in the U.S.A.

Absolutely illegal. If an American citizen joins a foreign military they should be banned from re-entry into the U.S.

It should be judged individually, based on the conflict.

It is something we have done in WWI and WWII and many other times. Usually for a good reason.

If freedom of conscience means actively following your right to self-determination there is no argument legal or otherwise which makes that a crime. In the UK we have seen brave people prosecuted for their convictions and ignoring political correctness to put their lives on the line and fighting against the most virulent, evil cult this world has ever seen. The UK government made a very serious mistake by taking the actions they did and so is the US government. Politicians will never find a solution by substituting bravery with rank cowardice!

Yes, unless it’s a country or organization that is hostile to the U.S.

Fighting in foreign armies can be a bit slippery. What if a Muslim felt that he needs to fight with ISIS to stop what he thinks of as US terrorism?

If they are going to fight for one of our allies, there should be no problem. If going to fight for our enemies, they are traitors and should be treated as such.

Neutralizing terror from where it originates will prevent it from spreading!

Being able to join the fight against terror has been a principle of long standing in the US. Hearken back to the early days before the US entry into WWII when Americans flew for the RAF.

The U.S. military allows foreigners to join its ranks so why should a U.S. citizen be denied to join a foreign military?

It’s not illegal now (DelGatto was sentenced for breaking probation, not fighting ISIS), and it should remain so.

Since it is a global war on terrorism it is every citizens responsibility to fight til these terrorist are eradicated from the earth.

No, especially in this case. There was a time in this country when you could be “sentenced” to join the military instead of jail. And if a person wishes to fight on the side of justice and freedom, why not? Going to fight with the Kurds is Noble and honorable as they are the ones doing a lot of the dirty work and getting nothing for their sacrifice.

It should not be a crime to fight against the enemy of humanity. it should be a crime to join terror groups.



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