The Florida Mises Caucus holds a firm position on all medical mandates. Simply put, we say no. There is no “one size fits all” solution when it comes to medical decisions, they should always be discussed with a doctor and made voluntarily once patients are fully briefed on the cause and effect of what they are being given.
Following the Pfizer vaccine receiving FDA approval, the Pentagon announced that all active duty service members would now be required to be vaccinated against COVID 19. While many of them have lined up willingly to take the shot prior to the approval, a reasonable percentage had their own personal reasons for being hesitant to do so. As of FDA approval 800,000 of 1.4 million had declined to get vaccinated, after one month 600,000 are still choosing to decline inoculation. The Biden Administration has decided to consider the option of dishonorable discharge for 46% of those left still unvaccinated.
The men and women who sign up to fight for this country get a series of evaluations to prove that they are in good health and are physically fit, due to this it is unlikely that many members of our troops in active duty fall into high risk categories.
When we think of our military there are many quick to dismiss their autonomy stating things like “they signed up for this”, “they knew what they were getting into”, “it’s insane to think the military could just say no to their superiors when given an order”. But why are we so quick to think that in modern society they should be denied the right to say what goes into their bodies?
Our Military are not weak people. The things some have had to witness and participate in would bring the average American to tears. People lose limbs for this country, suffer permanent hearing damage from faulty ear plugs, crippling PTSD that often ends up in suicide, and potentially get stuck in some of the poorest quality conditions. There has to be a line between bodily autonomy and what is best for my country that cannot be crossed.
Many veterans agree with the LPF MC stance on such mandates. Veteran Celicia Slafter had this to say, “It is unconscionable that healthy service-members who are under the age of the highest risk category and are already screened against the most dangerous comorbidities should be mandated to get an experimental vaccination against COVID when they have at least the same chance of experiencing troubling side effects from the vaccine as they would the disease.”
Another anonymous Veteran with experience working in a NATO hospital in Afghanistan agrees. His statement when asked how he felt about the mrna technology was; “I gladly took every vaccine they gave me. This new one should be refused until honest data is gathered and analyzed.”
The contrary argument in favor of these mandates is that our military needs to be prepared for anything. They may be sent to a place in the world that is overrun with infections, a country with a low vaccination rate and a high case rate, and often live in close quarters with each other where a virus can spread among ranks quickly and render entire units unable to serve in a time of need. To counter this we must refer back to the numbers. Of the 1.4 million military personnel the United States has, approximately 800,000 members had not opted into getting vaccinated prior to the FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine and the Pentagon issuing the mandate. Only 200,000 were swayed by the blessing of the FDA. These proudly serving patriots could be left subject to being court martialed for refusing a direct order. The Biden Administration has announced that they are strongly opposed to granting honorable discharges, and is taking the authoritarian position of dishonorable discharge for 46% of the men and women who have dedicated their youth to maintaining freedom in America at all costs. The House Armed Services Committee had a rare bipartisan support for section 716 in favor of honorable discharges. What is to become of those that the Biden Administration wishes to label military dissidents? A dishonorable discharge will follow someone for the rest of their lives and have a massive impact on their futures, all for the crime of choosing bodily autonomy. At a time we also have tensions in the Middle East and in Asia, is it safe for the Pentagon to allow this many service members to be imprisoned or discharged and leave America vulnerable? Another aspect is it is quite possible that many of our military have already had the virus even asymptomatically and have some type of immunity. Instead of mandates on unwilling but proudly serving troops the Pentagon should be looking into other viable solutions. Use this opportunity and test every soldier for antibodies or T cell immunity. Considering vaccinated individuals can still carry, spread and catch COVID a vaccine mandate is not necessary for a group made entirely of healthy and fit individuals and other test and trace methods can just as easily be implemented and are quite possibly more effective. Short of locking down entire cities, barracks are the number one place for the research to be done on how the virus spreads in isolated communities, only to be seconded by the Amish.
LPF MC stands behind any service member who has any hesitancy taking any medication they are not 100% comfortable with and their choice to either refuse vaccination or request a discharge. We are agreeable to the legislation offered by the House Armed Services Committee favoring honorable discharge, however any willing and able volunteer for our military should be permitted to finish out their contract regardless of their vaccination status.