Retired Coast Guard Vice Admiral William "Dean" Lee chastised the Biden administration and the Department of Defense for their continued discharging of service members refusing the COVID-19 vaccine.
In a letter obtained by the Washington Examiner on Monday, Lee writes that he isn't against the vaccines and is vaccinated himself. But he argues that discharging every single service member who refuses it violates their First Amendment rights while at the same time hindering military preparedness, which is already experiencing a recruiting shortage. Lee says that continuing this policy will exacerbate the problem further.
"Reports of recruiting struggles across the services indicate that the vaccine mandates are an impediment to recruiting, exacerbating the current recruiting and retention problems that are already impacting force strength in some DoD components," the three-star vice admiral writes. "Enforcement of the blanket mandate is also resulting in separations of thousands of personnel and therefore is exacerbating force strength issues, and thus readiness concerns."
Lee later told the Examiner that while military preparedness falters, Washington is patting itself on the back.
"My service is running around like crazy, patting themselves on the back and giving high fives to each other over their emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Well, this is neither diverse — it's neither equitable or inclusive — because up to seven people that they're discharging, five of them are members of minority status. I mean, so that's not inclusive. So what they're doing is they're excluding men and women of faith."
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