Suppose you believe the right-wing media and the Republicans in Congress. In that case, the military will have much to celebrate on the COVID vaccine mandate front. The president signed the bill, and the Pentagon rescinded a subsequent order requiring all military members to receive a COVID vaccine to remain in uniform.
But what about the arbitrary discharge of thousands of veterans because the Department of Defense rubber-stamped their religious exemption requests? As it is today, they are in the creek without a paddle.
Although it wasn’t for lack of trying, four Republican senators voted against an amendment to the signed bill that would have given him his service back.
So let’s see what happened and how the spineless group of four MLAs factored into their decision not to support these veterans.
If the military covid vaccine mandate has officially ended, everyone discharged for not taking it should be reinstated with a refund and apology.
— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMuth) January 11, 2023
Correcting a mistake
The amendment I am referring to was proposed by Republican Senator Ron Johnson. The amendment would have not only reinstated military members discharged for refusing vaccination, but would have:
- Refunds are provided
- The isolation status is set to respect
In addition to the significant valid portions of the above amendment, Senator Johnson’s amendment would prohibit the Department of Defense from issuing future vaccine orders without Congressional authorization.
I think this is all great, especially if you’re a Republican politician who claims to care about America’s best and bravest.
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Senator Johnson explained how many are affected by the end of the Covid vaccine:
“More than 8,000 people were terminated because they refused to receive the experimental vaccine.”
But that wasn’t enough for the four Republican senators who put the nail in the coffin with the amendment, which failed 56 to 40. To pass, it needs 60 votes.
I’ll let that math settle.
Big win: @SecDef Forced to Cancel COVID Military Vaccination Order!
This fight is far from over. We begin to seek justice for the victims in our military targeted by Biden’s policies.
We must restore these patriots with their rank and full restitution. pic.twitter.com/jNkJXR5xS7
– Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) January 12, 2023
The four Republicans who voted against reinstating vaccine-exempt veterans were:
- Senator Mitt Romney of Utah
- Senator Mike Rounds of South Dakota
- Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana
- Senator Susan Collins of Maine
Senator Cassidy explained his vote as follows:
“I voted to end the COVID vaccine mandate in the military but it is not Congress’s place to intervene in the chain of command and set a precedent for military personnel to ignore direct orders.”
Mr Cassidy said thousands of military veterans told their commanding officers where to flip the bird and push it when told to get vaccinated. As if they didn’t go through some process to request an exemption, but I get that in a bit.
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Senator Jack Reid, a Democrat from Rhode Island, doubled down on the ridiculous oversimplification of what happened to these veterans:
“What we’re telling soldiers is: If you don’t agree, don’t follow the order and lobby Congress. … They restore everything, so the orders are just a kind of suggestion. Not them.”
Oh, jackass, there are so many mistakes in your statement. Allow me to explain.
Elections have consequences: Republicans took the House and forced the Biden administration to end the Covid shot mandate for the military. The next step is to rehire all those laid off with back pay. And withdraw all taxpayer benefits from Moderna and Pfizer for covid shots because they don’t work.
— Clay Travis (@claytravis) January 11, 2023
A process is in place and has been since before COVID for military members to apply for various vaccine exemptions. When I was in the military and a senior leader, most of the exemptions I saw related to religious exemptions and COVID was no different.
These religious exemptions are part of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA. RFRA protects individuals’ religious freedoms against government laws that conflict with their beliefs.
There is now a process to review and approve these requests; Just because you say you have certain religious exemptions to the vaccine doesn’t mean your request will automatically be approved. There should usually be some justification from the statements of military chaplains and members.
Strangely, most of the religious exemptions related to the COVID vaccine have been denied with little-to-no real criticism. The Pentagon inspector general also reported high “potential non-compliance” within the Department of Defense with many of these denials.
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So the majority of these denials are inappropriate, but once your request is denied, you have to make a decision Mike Berry, director of military affairs at the First Liberty Institute, explains:
“… military leaders are forcing tens of thousands of our brave men out of service because they chose to live by their faith.”
It’s certainly far from clear how four Republicans and all Democrats portray these men and women as mere children who refuse to follow orders.
Under the COVID national emergency declaration, 123 emergency powers could be invoked by Biden, including the power to draft Americans without consent and put health services under military control.
The Biden administration should not have that power.
Biden’s infectious powers must end.
– Rep. Paul Gosar, DDS (@RepGosar) January 12, 2023
If not you, who?
For those of you who want to argue that we should win where we can, allow me to open your eyes to the back door that the Pentagon has put in place at the directive to allow them to continue to persecute troops that won’t surrender. Order the COVID vaccine.
In the new directive, it says:
“All commanders have the responsibility and authority to maintain the department’s strong interest in mission accomplishment. This responsibility and authority includes the ability to maintain military readiness, unit cohesion, good order and discipline, and the health and safety of resilient joint forces.
Now, let’s assume you’re not adept at reading DOD jargon or reading between the propaganda lines of bureaucratic bloated military leadership. In that case, you may not see the back door.
The directive still leaves commanders who choose not to get the Covid vaccine the option to discharge them if it can be proven that it would harm readiness, cohesion, good order and discipline, and health and safety.
It is very difficult to define unit cohesion and good order and discipline, especially if your commanding officer is competing for the next rank. But, more often than not, interpretation bends the knee to the ideology of those in power.
Eliminating the military’s COVID vaccine mandate is a good start, but it’s not enough.
Every soldier fired on this provision must be re-enlisted.
— Mike Pompeo (@mikepompeo) December 27, 2022
So, Senator Cassidy, it’s your place to intervene up the chain of command when that chain of command abuses its power and violates the religious freedoms that our veterans are sworn to protect and defend.
So, Senator Romney, you should be restoring the good order and discipline that should exist in the military religious exemption process after these veterans lobby you to do the right thing.
But you all need to give a damn about your experience. And since they don’t have as much money or political capital as Big Education, Big Tech, the Military Industrial Complex, Big Pharma and all the other lobbyists, I think these veterans are what we should do. Always said to do:
Close and color.
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