The last week in SOFREP has been pretty interesting stuff. Our writers try to keep a finger on the pulse of defense and foreign policy, technology, and military culture. We try to create an editorial mix that is informative, entertaining, and relevant to current events. We hope that reading the pages of SOFREP leaves you feeling like you knew more than when you logged on.
Honorable Discharges For Service Members Declining Vaccination
Our story about Congress stepping to assure that service members declining to be vaccinated would receive Honorable discharges will continue to develop. We have been watching this story for months now, and we’re very concerned that the Pentagon was going to take very harsh punitive action against those who declined the vaccine for medical or religious reasons. Hearing from service members who did decline, it was obvious that they were not anti-science or embracing some fringe religious belief at all. Their objections were reasonable and fair-minded in our estimation. The actions of the Pentagon, in this case, were pretty deplorable. There is a process in place that allows service members to seek waivers for certain policies that could violate their religious beliefs that stem from laws passed by Congress. In this case, the military was subverting the law by allowing members to file for waivers while telling them that no waivers would be granted.
During WWI, our government imprisoned thousands of Americans who had sincere religious objections to doing violence against another human being. In many cases, these conscientious objectors were locked up for years and were convicted felons for refusing to submit to the draft. After the war, it was acknowledged that real harm had been done to the “free exercise” Clause of the First Amendment in throwing all these people in prison because they refused to be drafted. Some were inducted into the army against their will and then court-martialed and put in military prisons where they were subjected to treatment that would be criminal offenses today. The religious sects subjected to this were well-known for their pacifism, like the Quakers, Mennonites, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and African American Pentecostals.
Americans in the main are willing to fight to protect our way of life and our civil rights under the Constitution, but there is a line to be drawn on how far the government may go in curtailing our rights as we fight in defense of them.
At SOFREP, we are not against vaccines at all. We believe they can and do protect people from the potential harm that COVID can cause. We also understand that the government wants people to protect themselves from potential harm. In this case, though, you had the government(Pentagon) telling Americans in uniform that if they did not act to protect themselves from the potential harm of COVID by taking the vaccine, that the government would do the very real and serious harm of giving them a court-martial and branding them all for life as felons. In a very real sense, this meant that service members seeking redress before the government in the exercise of their civil rights would lose them instead. That is not how the Constitution or the Bill of Rights works.
We will continue to follow this story.
Russia-China Doomsday Hype
You hope you got a chance to read our analysis of the much-hyped “Russia-China Doomsday Scenario,” which imagines China invading Taiwan and Russia invading Ukraine at the same time. This would leave the U.S. in the position of having to fight a war on two fronts, a war the pundits predict we would lose. Let us forget for a moment that the United States is the only country in history to win warfighting on three fronts at the same time in WWII. We are including the campaign in the Mediterranean as the third front.
We looked at the scenario in terms of strategic military doctrine and found that neither Russia nor China are prepared to invade Taiwan or Ukraine with any hope of quick success. We also take exception to any notion that America losing a battle is enough to make us also lose a war. That is a serious miscalculation of who we are as a People. We hope Putin and the communists in Beijing are not as self-deluding as some of these TV pundits are.
French Forces Pulling Out of Mali should be no surprise
In this story, we give straight news reporting on France pulling its combat troops from Mali and going over to an advise and assist role in this country that Islamist terrorists are desperately trying to gain control of. This is entirely understandable and is a reaction to U.S. policy. In Iraq, where we are replacing our combat troops with advisors, and in Afghanistan, where we suffered a humiliating political defeat in the manner of our withdrawal. It would be perfectly reasonable for our partners in the Global War on Terrorism to say to themselves, “If the Americans are pulling stumps, why should we stick around?” It also gives a sense of how much the rest of the world looks to the U.S. for leadership in the face of this threat. We set the tone and posture for them as well. If we engage forcefully, they will too. If we shirk and pull back, so will they.
John David Mann On Character Creation In Fiction
This week we ran a seven-part series by John David Mann, who is the co-author of “Steel Fear” with our own Brandon Webb. If you ever wondered how fiction writers create compelling characters out of their imagination, this is a Master-Class by a very successful author on how it’s done.
Alwyn Cashe and the Medal Of Honor
We were happy to see the family of Alwyn Cashe finally receive his Medal of Honor along with two other awards of the medal to Special Forces soldiers Christopher Celiz and Earl Plumlee. These awards have been a long time coming, and SOFREP did its part in advocating for this award to Alwyn Cashe in particular who’s actions and sacrifice were certainly worthy.
SEAL Team Eight Loses Their CO
We also marked the passing of the commanding officer of SEAL Team 8, Commander Brian Bourgeois. We were particularly saddened to note that Commander Bourgeois had twenty years of service that saw him fighting for the entire war on terror since the September 11th attacks, with all the dangers that this entailed only to die in a fall from a helicopter during a routine training evolution.
In the Army/Navy game, the Annapolis boys wore SEAL Team Eight’s patch on their uniform and beat Army in an upset victory that no one predicted. Commander Bourgeois was in the Class of 2001, graduating just months before the 9/11 Attacks that propelled him to be a SEAL. We think Commander Bourgeois would have liked that very much.
Drones and AI
We’ve been writing more about Drones and AI(artificial intelligence) lately because it has been coming up more. As the War on Terrorism moves away from direct military action on the ground, we assess that it will now move into the shadows with drone strikes on persons and facilities all over the world where terrorists try to gain a foothold. We really didn’t have this capability when this conflict started, but we do now some twenty years later. We hope it is put to good use.
The Rise Of TARS
We decided to jump on the technology train and have added an audio feature to your content that allows you to listen to our stories. We hope that comes in handy during your commute or while you are at work. You can still look like you are doing your job while you listen to our stuff.
In keeping up with the technological times, we’ve also added TARS, our AI writer, to the mix. Let us know what you think of his/hers/its content. As far as we know, SOFREP is the first news outlet to offer an AI writer(fully disclosed as such anyway). We give TARS a subject and a series of queries to look into, and he takes it from there in producing a story. It then gets fact-checked and edited by a human being. This really isn’t any different than the process one of our human writers undergoes, so what’s the difference? TARS, in most ways, is like editing for any other human writer, except that they don’t argue with us over headlines and content edits.
Well, that’s the last week in review. We hope you got something useful out of all this and will be back this week for more.
From all of us here, thank you for your continuing trust and supporting veteran journalism.