After the Republicans used the passage of defense legislation last month as a means to force Democrats to drop the mandatory Covid-19 vaccine for all military personnel, the Pentagon released a memo from Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin Tuesday evening that formally repealed the mandate.
Austin's memo rescinds the mandate for active duty, the National Guard, and the Reserves.
The repeal comes after an order from Austin on August 24, 2021, in which he mandated that all military personnel be full-vaccinated or be discharged from military duty.
Prior to the lifting of the mandate, some 8,400 troops were discharged, with tens of thousands applying for accommodation requests, including for medical, administrative, or religious reasons. Tens of thousands of reservists, allegedly up to 60,000, remained unvaccinated and were set to be discharged as well. The mass discharges came as the military has faced a serious recruiting crisis in recent years.
In an escalation of the battle between the military and leadership, forces successfully sued to temporarily enjoin the Navy, Air Force, and Marines from taking action against individuals who had applied for religious accommodations. The inspector general for the Pentagon also sent a memo to Austin indicating that blanket denials of religious accommodation requests flirted with breaking the law.
Some troops took a different tactic and fought the mandate on the basis that the DOD can only mandate FDA-approved vaccines, which some of the Covid vaccines at the time were not. The claim argued that the military was using a form of the vaccine that was under the Emergency Use Authorization provision and not FDA pre-approved. Then-DOD official, Terri Adirim, replied in another memo the two vaccines were interchangeable.
Despite the repeated challenges from troops and the massive loss of forces, the Biden administration refused to back down and reverse the mandate until House and Senate Republicans used the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which authorizes defense spending, to strong-arm the administration into repealing the mandate. In a statement released in conjunction with Austin's memo, the Pentagon said, "This recession requirement was established by the James M. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023."
The Pentagon's statement continued, "The health and readiness of the Force are crucial to the Department's ability to defend our nation. Secretary Austin continues to encourage all Service members, civilian employees, and contractor personnel to get vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19 to ensure Total Force readiness."
Austin's memo stated, "No individuals currently serving in the Armed Forces shall be separated solely on the basis of their refusal to receive the COVID-19 vaccination if they sought an accommodation on religious, administrative, or medical grounds."
The memo went on to clarify that the military would also remove adverse actions that were solely associated with denials of accommodation requests for troops, including any letters of reprimand, which could be career-ending.
The memo also noted that the military would stop any current reviews of accommodation requests for service members.
The correspondence did include a section indicating that the DOD would still take action against unvaccinated troops saying, "Other standing Departmental policies, procedures, and processes regarding immunization remain in effect. These include the ability of commanders to consider, as appropriate, the individual immunization status of personnel in making deployment, assignment, and other operational decisions, including when vaccination is required for travel to, or entry into, a foreign nation."
Austin concluded his memo by noting that the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness would be issuing additional guidance to "ensure uniform implementation" of the memo. Recently, the Coast Guard and Army have both issued guidance only to have it retracted hours later. It just goes to show that the military leadership has never considered any alternatives to the vaccine mandate.
Meanwhile, Republicans have vowed to fight for the reinstatement of discharged troops with backpay in 2023. The question remains though, how many discharged service members will return to a military that denied their civil liberties, attempted to silence their voices, and turned its back on them? Unfortunately, the answer is probably, too few. Austin's memo is like Biden's border visit - too little, too late.
In its new National Defense Strategy that was released Thursday, the Pentagon has dropped limits regarding the use of nuclear weapons that have long been supported by arms control advocates and previously by President Joe Biden.
According to the document, "by the 2030s the United States will, for the first time in its history face two major nuclear powers as strategic competitors and potential adversaries." In response to facing the nuclear powers of Russia and China, the U.S. will, "maintain a very high bar for nuclear employment" but the new strategy does not rule out using nuclear weapons to retaliate against non-nuclear strategic threats against the U.S. homeland, forces abroad, or U.S. allies.
While Biden promised in his 2020 presidential campaign to only use nuclear weapons to deter or respond to a nuclear threat, his views have clearly changed given the recent growing threat of nuclear war between Russia and Ukraine with China not far behind.
According to the report, the Biden administration said of the nuclear policy that "No First Use" or "Sole Purpose" policies "would result in an unacceptable level of risk in light of the range of non-nuclear capabilities being developed and fielded by competitors that could inflict strategic-level damage."
The revised strategy comes amid growing threats from Russia that it will use nuclear weapons in its illegal invasion and takeover of Ukraine, although on Thursday, Russian president, Vladimir Putin told foreign policy analysts, "We don't need a nuclear strike on Ukraine -- there is no point, either militarily or political."
Meanwhile, China is the U.S.'s "most consequential strategic competitor for coming decades," according to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin who wrote a letter introducing the new National Defense Strategy. The new strategy cites China as wanting to have at least 1,000 deliverable nuclear warheads by 2030 and could use them for "coercive purposes, including military provocations against US allies and partners in the region."
The u-turn on the National Defense Strategy is not the first time that Biden has flirted with changing long-standing US policies. In September the White House had to scramble to walk back comments Biden made in an interview on CBS "60 Minutes" regarding the U.S. defending Taiwan if China were to attack or invade the island. Biden's comments directly conflicted with Washington's long-time "One China" policy which does not directly support Taiwan's political independence from China.
Rank and race disappeared on September 11, 2001, at the Pentagon and at Ground Zero in New York in the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks.
The fire chief in charge of the recovery process at the Pentagon made an announcement around 4 o'clock p.m.
“'We need volunteers to put on masks and gloves and be willing to do a sweep through the Pentagon. Any volunteers?' People ran to get a place in line,” recalled Charlie Baldwin, Air Force deputy chief of chaplains at the time.
“So here we were in line. Next to me was a two-star general, and I was a one-star general. We’re standing in our blues. We stepped forward, put on gloves, put on the masks. They gave us the instructions to stay together in rows, and we were going to sweep through the building and walk through the clouds of fire, dust and all that. And just before he said, ‘OK, this line step forward,’ a brigade from Arlington Cemetery pulled up in buses.”
Because this brigade was trained and ready to do a sweep, the fire chief released the volunteers.
“I looked around and saw the field full of people who were willing to step into the fiery furnace to go and see if somebody else could be pulled out. So we stepped away and went back to the areas where we could be helpful, be the pastors present.”
Baldwin noticed that all hands were on deck, rank had disappeared.
“One second lieutenant, a young lady, came running over to me. She said ‘Chaplain, what can I do to help?’ I said, ‘Go to that tent and just wipe their brows and you will help.’”
She went to one of the collection tents where they were bringing victims, set up cots, and did whatever needed to be done.
“Right beside her was this two-star general, and he did the same thing. ‘I want to help what can I do?’ And I said, ‘Set up cots and help those medic people get ready so they could help people. Tell them not to be afraid. Tell them God is here. He will take care of them.”
Everyone, no matter their rank, became the same in that moment. They were instruments of peace aiding their fellow Americans in a time of great need and tragedy.
"Military chaplains have that type of experience that says, ‘God is present on the battlefield, not to help people kill people but to help them through the tragedies and consequences of sin. They don’t bless the bombs, they just pray that God would be present with those who are the instruments, even we would say the instruments of peace. It’s an amazing thing.”
Race also did not matter at the Pentagon or at Ground Zero at the World Trade Center in New York. All first responders pulled together and worked to help each other -- police, fire, EMTs, hospitals and the military. Regular citizens also joined the first responders to help. People dug through the rubble with their bare hands and moved chunks of concrete and metal to help anyway they could.
One New York police officer recently recalled that as they were working the rescue effort, everyone would go silent when a body, or in most cases, body pieces, were found.
He explained that a Chinese American woman started cooking for the first responders on day one and was there every day through the efforts. She would stop the first responders and say: "You have to eat. You need your strength." Soon acupuncturists, massage therapists and others became cooks and joined her in a line of people tending to the needs of the first responders.
The result of this unity and equality was a rebirth of patriotism. Pride in America soared for years after the terrorist attacks. Americans of all persuasions proudly waved American flags. No matter class, rank or skin color, patriotism was in the hearts and minds of families, workers, corporate leaders, military members, and those in the media.
Remembering the unity and patriotism that energized Americans after 9/11 is important on this 20th anniversary. Today's headlines are filled with critical race theory conflicts at school board meetings and churches, accusations of racism, Americans left behind in Afghanistan, political division, athletes who hate their country and kneel for the national anthem, differences of opinion about masks, vaccine status discrimination, moving medical goalposts, lies by Dr. Fauci and the medical bureaucracy, and unconstititional actions by President Biden.
Americans have forgotten what the terrorist attacks of 9/11 taught them: love of God, love of family, love of country, and love of each other. Rank, race and religion did not matter. An America first culture mattered. Americans need a Great Awakening, a rebirth to reclaim these lost values of patriotism.
Adapted in part from Stories of Faith and Courage from the War in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In early July, Ron Paul penned a column titled “It’s Saigon In Afghanistan,” invoking the imagery of the fall of Saigon in 1975, when US military helicopters scrambled to evacuate personnel from the roof of the US embassy. But Paul suggested that maybe the situation in Afghanistan was “perhaps not as dramatic” as the situation in Saigon forty-six years ago.
But that was six weeks ago.
Now, it looks like the end of the US’s war in Afghanistan may be in many ways every bit as chaotic as the US regime’s final defeat in Vietnam.
When Paul was writing his article in early July, we were already getting hints of the direction things were going. US forces abandoned Bagram Airfield in the middle of the night, and the US didn’t even tell its allies what was going on. Afghan officials discovered the US was gone hours later. Shortly thereafter, looters ransacked the base.
But that, it seems, was just the beginning. Over a period of a mere ten days, provincial capitals in Afghanistan have fallen one after the other. On Sunday, the Taliban entered the strategically key capital Kabul. The Taliban’s reconquest of the country was so fast that even the US regime’s spokesman admitted “the militants' progress came much more quickly than the U.S. had anticipated.”
Now, after spending twenty years implementing “regime change” in Afghanistan, and after spending more than $800 billion—an official figure that’s likely far smaller than the real monetary cost—the US’s strategy in Afghanistan has completely collapsed.
Indeed, for the US’s local allies, the situation is far worse now than what it was in 2001. Those who were unwise enough to ally themselves with the Americans over the past twenty years now face reprisals from the Taliban. Death will likely be the result for many.
Not surprisingly, then, Afghanis in recent days have flocked to Kabul International Airport, desperate to find some way out of the country as the Taliban closes in.
It's doesn’t take an immense amount of imagination to recall the images of those who were desperate to escape from the US embassy in Saigon.
So now we reach the stage of figuring out who is to blame for this total strategic failure in Afghanistan.
Some politicians will try and use the US regime’s failure in Afghanistan to score points against the Biden administration. We already see it with some Republicans who still haven't figured out that the American public long ago stopped caring about the war.
It’s easy to see the partisan reasons for this, but if we want to honestly focus on who’s to blame for the utter waste of time and resources that was the war in Afghanistan, we have to look far beyond just a handful of civilian politicians.
Yes, much of the blame should go to the civilian bureaucrats, because they share an immense amount of the blame in bringing about this strategic blunder. George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Paul Wolfowitz, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Madeleine Albright are just a few of the politicos who encouraged the continuation of this lost war.
But the fact is the civilian war architects were encouraged and enabled every step of the way by Pentagon bureaucrats (i.e., the generals), who were only more than happy to have an excuse to pad their budgets and increase their relevance on Capitol Hill. As Ron Paul put it this week:
The generals and other high-ranking military officers lied to their commander-in-chief and to the American people for years about progress in Afghanistan. The same is true for the US intelligence agencies. Unless there is a major purge of those who lied and misled, we can count on these disasters to continue until the last US dollar goes up in smoke.
And of course, the Pentagon allied itself with the “private” sector industries that suppled the materiel. Paul continues:
The military industrial complex spent 20 years on the gravy train with the Afghanistan war. They built missiles, they built tanks, they built aircraft and helicopters. They hired armies of lobbyists and think tank writers to continue the lie that was making them rich. They wrapped their graft up in the American flag, but they are the opposite of patriots.
Or, as Timothy Kudo describes it,
Across two decades, our military leaders presented rosy pictures of the Afghanistan War and its prospects to the president, Congress, and the American people, despite clear internal debate about the validity of those assessments and real-time contradictory information from those fighting and losing the daily battle against the Taliban. Or, to put it in the words of John Sopko, the inspector general who issued a series of reports known as the Afghanistan Papers: “The American people have constantly been lied to.”
Nor did the military officers council caution or peace. Douglas MacGregor at the American Conservative correctly recalls:
All that can be said with certainty is that between 2001 and 2021, none of the senior officers expressed opposition to the policies of intervention and occupation strongly enough to warrant their removal. None felt compelled to leave the service and take their opposing views to the public forum.
When it became clear that the collective strategies and tactics in Afghanistan and Iraq were failing, not only General David Petraeus, but most of America’s senior military leaders chose to prevaricate and distort facts in public to show progress when there was none. How many American lives might have been saved had someone only told the truth will never be known.
Many of those once responsible for U.S. forces in Afghanistan while in authority have taken the lead in trying to perpetuate the mission. For instance, David Petraeus is busy trying to shield his reputation and shift blame to Biden as the Afghan project collapses. Joseph Dunford, former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, recently co-chaired the congressionally mandated Afghanistan Study Group, which predictably insisted that the United States should stay in the country. What other conclusion was imaginable? As the entire geopolitical enterprise collapses, its promoters insist that American forces should stick around with no good purpose and no realistic plan of action.
Indeed, the incompetence of the US’s military leadership has been on clear display in recent weeks as the US-trained and US-armed military personnel have been impotent in the face of Taliban advances. The US’s military hierarchy was specifically tasked with training these Afghan forces, yet it’s now clear how well that directive was carried out.
The complicity of the military brass’s role has always been especially damaging, because the generals have long banked on the unwarranted amount of credibility they enjoy with the public. As Kudo notes:
The promise that victory was just around the corner proved intoxicating to presidents and politicians, not to mention everyday Americans, who blindly trusted anyone with four stars on his epaulettes. Despite the partisanship and institutional mistrust of the past two decades, the military consistently has been the most trusted institution in the country, rated highly by roughly 70 percent of Americans. Cloaked in near-universal trust, these officers repeatedly argued that an unwinnable war could be won.
Unfortunately, because of this, military personnel are likely to continue to be shielded from the criticism they deserve.
After all, there is a persistent habit among many Americans to repeat the narrative that all wars will be won if only the politicians listen to the generals, and “let the generals do their job.” One still hears this today from those who still engage in wishful thinking about the Vietnam War and who still cling to the idea that the war could have been won if only the military “experts” had been in charge. In actual experience, however, the lost war in Afghanistan is what we get when we listen to the generals.
But don't expect any meaningful reform. In the United States, when bureaucrats fail, they usually get rewarded with larger budgets, such as when the US's "intelligence community" allowed 9/11 to occur right under its collective nose. The same is likely—at least in the short term—for the Pentagon. The generals will simply "pivot" to argue for ever-larger military budgets in the name of fighting China, Iran, Russia, and other perceived enemies.
In other words, the generals and the civilian politicians are hard at work planning the next Afghanistan. Let's just hope the taxpayers who pay for it all may be a little less naïve next time.
Ryan McMaken is a senior editor at the Mises Institute. Send him your article submissions for the Mises Wire and Power&Market, but read article guidelines first.
On February 3, 2021, in the wake of the “deadly events” of 1/6, Biden’s new Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered a 60-day stand-down and total purge of the U.S. military’s rampant, undefined “extremism” problem. Though the details of this purge were always kept vague and framed in apolitical terms, it was immediately obvious the target would be MAGA — with the buzzword “extremism” tagged onto various proxies for Trump supporters, conservatives, and opponents of globalism of all stripes.
We now know the hatchet man the Pentagon has selected to carry out this MAGA purge of the American defense forces, and the entire operation is worse than you could have ever imagined.
The Biden administration has just put the equivalent of Ibram X. Kendi in charge of vetting the entire U.S. military...
To read more visit Revolver.
What is happening in the American armed forces has nothing to do with patriotism, love of country, or even White supremacism or domestic terror.
It has to do with power and control for the Chinese Communist Party over the U.S. national security apparatus, by the CCP's globalist enablers in the West.
What a prize - control of the greatest armed force in the world, ever known to man, comparable to the Roman legions of old, a dominant military force.
Now that dominant force is being turned to the service of evil.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has ordered a “stand down” of the entire US military over the next 60 days in order for commanders to address “extremism” in its ranks, reported the New York Post.
Austin issued the order following a meeting about the issue with Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley, as well as service civilian leaders and service chiefs.
“It’s got to be a leadership issue down to the lowest levels, small unit leadership all the way up to him. So if you consider it a leadership issue, then maybe there will be some potential solutions there to allow us greater visibility,” press secretary John Kirby said, referencing his boss’ comments during the meeting.
Here's a news flash for the illegitimate Secretary of Defense and his enabler General Milley -- white supremacy and 'right-wing' domestic terror is not a problem in the U.S. military.
The problem we have today is a Marxist infiltration that is attempting to takeover from within. This is what is pushing the 'critical race theory' against allleged racism that doesn't exist, except against white soldiers from military leadership.
If you want to focus on the threats we face during this stand-down, then focus on reality.
You can start by looking in the mirror.
This narrative you are spinning, that white soldiers, who love this country and have served her well, are a threat to the nation to which they swore a hallowed oath... to borrow a phrase your movement stole from Hitler...is a 'big lie'.
Patriotic American military personnel need to weather the current storm...you will be needed in the future to rebuild what Austin and Milley are destroying as they violate their oath to America.
Our Marxist friends have been hiding for years. You should do the same. Bide your time. Play the game. Until you can rebuild our national security from the ground up in the future.
UPDATE 1130 - Grenell denies; his point is correct about briefings, but what about going forward? CDMedia will report as we receive information
Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller ordered a Pentagon-wide halt to cooperation with the transition of President-elect Biden, shocking officials across the Defense Department, senior administration officials tell Axios.
Behind the scenes: A top Biden official was unaware of the directive. Administration officials left open the possibility cooperation would resume after a holiday pause. The officials were unsure what prompted Miller's action, or whether President Trump approved.
Why it matters: Miller's move, which stunned officials throughout the Pentagon, was the biggest eruption yet of animus and mistrust toward the Biden team from the top level of the Trump administration.
To read more visit Axios.
Judicial Watch announced today that it obtained 1,483 pages of teaching materials and 26 pages of budget records from the Department of Defense (DOD) produced by the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI) that are used by DOD’s “equal opportunity advisors” to train service members on diversity topics. The documents were obtained in response to a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
The teaching materials include “Student Study Guides” written for “Equal Opportunity Advisor Courses,” that are critical of persons who “believe that human similarities are more important than differences;” advise people to acknowledge their privilege when “it is pointed out to them;” claim that heterosexuals have “sexual orientation privilege;” and that “religious privilege” exists.
To read more visit Judicial Watch.
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