A decorated Iraq war veteran has labeled the Pentagon’s newly announced vaccine mandate “tyrannical” and “deeply wrong.”
Rob Smith, 37, told DailyMail.com: “As someone who raised my right hand, wore the uniform and served five years, including combat duty in Iraq, I think a soldier vaccine mandate is deeply wrong and an invasion of Americans’ civil liberties.” .’
He added: “But once people raise their hands and take that oath, they are, in fact, as much property of the US military as any weapon, tank or ship.
So they don’t really have a choice. I wish our leaders valued freedom rather than tyranny.”
Smith served in the United States Army for five years and completed two tours of the Middle East. He was awarded the Army Commendation Medal and Combat Infantry Badge, and now works as a commentator and podcaster. He has previously said that he found it more difficult to come out as a conservative than to tell people he was gay.
Smith spoke because all U.S. service workers should get their Covid-19 vaccine as soon as possible now that the Pfizer-BioNTech shot has been fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
According to Pentagon data, more than 800,000 military personnel out of approximately 1.4 million are still required to take their photos.
Decorated war veteran Rob Smith (pictured), 37, told DailyMail.com he thinks “a vaccine mandate for soldiers is deeply wrong and a violation of Americans’ civil liberties”
Those who don’t get a shot face a wide range of penalties if they don’t, from talking to a doctor to explain the “risks” of refusing to court-martial.
Military law experts say it’s possible that a service member who refuses will be dishonorably discharged, but most will likely receive a much less severe sentence.
Service workers are already required to receive up to 17 different vaccines, depending on where in the world they are based, including shots against measles, mumps, diphtheria, hepatitis, smallpox and flu.
Of the armed forces on active duty, 68 percent are fully vaccinated and 76 percent are on at least one dose, according to Pentagon press secretary John Kirby. Data is less clear for members of the Reserve and National Guard.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin instructed commanders to impose “ambitious timelines for implementation” and provide regular updates on vaccination.
The military has the lowest vaccination coverage, 40 percent are fully vaccinated and 57 percent have one dose. The Navy has the highest, where 73 percent are fully vaxxed and 79 percent have at least one dose.
Kirby said the goal was to get the force vaccinated “as soon as possible,” but did not set a timeline.
The numbers come as the Indian Delta variant is on the rise in the United States, with more than 150,000 new infections and 1,408 new deaths across the country on Aug. 24. Other employers have ordered that staff be vaccinated before returning to office, with investment bank Goldman Sachs the latest to issue such a policy on Tuesday.
When asked what would happen to military personnel who refused a vaccination, Kirby noted that they could apply for a religious or medical exemption, and if refused, they would have the opportunity to sit down with a doctor with the doctor. chain of command so that they could communicate the “risks” faced by service workers by refusing to vaccinate.
Ultimately, Kirby said, the mandate is a “lawful order” and said commanders have a “wide range of tools” [to encourage forces to get vaccinated] short of UCMJ,” the military court insinuates.
“I can’t give you an exact answer to every hypothesis,” Kirby said, refusing to say what the immediate consequences would be.
The Pentagon has been saying for weeks that such a mandate is in the works.
“To defend this nation, we need a healthy and ready state,” Austin said in the memo. “After careful consultation with medical experts and military leadership, and with the support of the President, I have determined that mandatory vaccination against coronavirus disease … is necessary to protect the armed forces and defend the American people.”
A total of 34 soldiers died of Covd-19 and 1998 were hospitalized.
“Mandatory vaccinations are known to all our service members and mission-critical inoculation is almost as old as the US military itself,” Austin wrote in the memo.
Austin noted in the memo that there will be waivers for medical reasons and a limited religious waiver.
Military Attorney Mike Hanzel said there are vaccine requirements for operational readiness so that troops can be deployed in the blink of an eye.
‘Historically, soldiers don’t work if people are not operationally ready and cannot be deployed’, explains Hanzel. “When Pearl Harbor happens, or 9/11 happens, people need to be ready to unfold as soon as possible. And when they’re sick, they’re not ready.’
David P. Sheldon, another military law attorney, said of those not taking the vaccine, “Essentially, the charge would be that you violate Section 92 by refusing a direct warrant,” Sheldon said. ‘And the direct order, in this case, would be to get the vaccine’
Of those 12 and older who qualify, 71.2 percent of the U.S. population has received both jabs and 60.4 percent.
The Pfizer vaccine was finally approved by the FDA on Monday after receiving its Emergency Use Authorization in December. Moderna has also filed for full approval of its vaccine, and Johnson & Johnson has said it hopes to do so later this year.
dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, said on Tuesday that Americans can expect many more vaccine mandates now that an injection is fully authorized.
‘You’re going to see a lot more’ [vaccine] mandates because there will be institutions and organizations that were previously reluctant to demand vaccinations that will now feel much more empowered to do so,” Fauci said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
‘That can be organisations, companies, colleges, universities. We even see it in the military.’
President Biden in a speech on Monday urged companies to demand vaccines now.
“As I said before, I have imposed vaccination requirements that will reach millions of Americans,” he said.
Biden signed an executive order requiring federal employees and contractors to be vaccinated or adhere to a regular Covid testing schedule.
Today I am calling on more companies… in the private sector to step up vaccine requirements that will reach millions more people.
“If you’re a corporate executive, a nonprofit leader, a state or local leader, who’s been waiting for FDA approval to demand vaccinations, I’m calling you now to do that, demand it.”