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Thomas Gallatin / June 23, 2022

Time to Reinstate Unvaxxed Military Members

Congressional Republicans are making an effort to reinstate service personnel discharged over vaccines.

“Our military is not stronger today as a consequence of these vaccine mandate separations,” contended Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL). “It’s weaker.” Gaetz represents a district with a high concentration of active duty military personnel. His plan is to introduce an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act to reinstate military members who were dismissed for refusing the COVID vaccine. There are other Republicans, including distinguished veteran Mark Green (R-TN), who have bills on the table, and Green notes that if Republicans retake the House this Fall, that reinstatement will be a high priority.

Gaetz is not the most effective lawmaker to raise the issue, but his concern is nonetheless warranted and a welcome and needed challenge to Joe Biden’s unconstitutional vaccine mandate. Furthermore, Gaetz is indeed correct that the mandate has negatively impacted military readiness. Military.com reports that “at least 742 active-duty soldiers” have been discharged, with an additional 3,416 having received general officer reprimands, which “are largely seen as career killers in the military.”

Military brass has also been very unrelenting toward its members seeking to avoid the COVID vaccine via religious exemption, as just “nine out of 4,428 religious exemption applications have been approved by the Army.” Biden’s one-size-fits-all mandate is itself dubious due to the fact that the COVID vaccines are novel and medical experts are still learning about them. Furthermore, the pandemic has significantly waned in terms of both deaths and hospitalizations.

Noting the vaccine mandate’s impact on military readiness, Gaetz said, “We are hundreds of pilots short in the Air Force and we’ve lost a number of pilots as a consequence of these mandates.”

Underscoring the issue, nine airmen who were punished for failing to get the jab have raised a federal lawsuit against Biden’s Department of Defense, specifically naming Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall, on the grounds that their First Amendment religious liberty rights have been violated. The suit states that “plaintiffs have lost promotions that had already been announced, received official discipline, been barred from training opportunities and placed in a no-pay status.”

While the vast majority of current military personnel have complied with the vaccine mandate, the exact number who have left the service over the mandate is unclear. As Air Force spokesperson Rose Riley explained, “The Department of the Air Force does not have a consistent official mechanism for tracking this data set, although commanders are monitoring and assessing local requests to minimize disruption of mission accomplishment, which thus far has not presented a concern to any particular Air Force specialty.”

But it’s not just the military that has taken a needless hit from Biden’s vaccine mandate. The airline industry has been affected as well. U.S. airlines are in the midst of a pilot shortage, and while much of it is thanks to pandemic-related shutdowns, that shortage was further exacerbated by Biden’s ill-conceived vaccine mandate. The situation has gotten so bad that some airlines have begun canceling services to some cities.

In any case, whether it’s private airlines or the U.S. military, mandating that otherwise healthy adults submit to a novel vaccine without regard for natural immunity has no bearing in science, and it certainly has no justification under the Constitution.

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