I apologize to any veterans in advance and affirm: “Resolved: Public health concerns justify compulsory immunization.”
Since public health concerns represent systematic threats to the welfare of society, the psychological reproduction of militarism can be categorized as a health concern for the following reasons:
Military training and service expands an ethos of violence into the public sphere, entrenching militarism and threatening the lives of our citizens.
Boggs, Carl (Professor of Social Sciences at National University, Adjunct Professor at Antioch University); Imperial Delusions: American Militarism and Endless War; Rowman & Littlefield: 131-2; 2005
At the turn of the new century [T]he United States was clearly the most violent of nations, even as its political leaders customarily stressed high-sounding themes: peace, human rights, [and] civic culture, law and order. This shameful condition grew out of a strong convergence of trends - global and domestic, military and civilian, national and local. And a culture nurtured on violence, on the resort to weapons and guns in solving conflicts, seems to require increasingly heavier doses of the medicine, [A]s the 2003 war on Iraq once again confirmed, it could be that this culture has in some fashion become addicted to war, as the title of one book on U.S. militarism suggests. As Richard Rhodes argues, civic violence is typically rooted in human experiences that desensitize people to suffering, pain, and death - harsh economic realities, media images, personal encounters, and prolonged exposure to war and/or civil insurrection. Foremost among personal encounters is military training and service, designed to induce transformative individual changes that make killing more psychologically and ethically permissible, while even romanticizing and glorifying it. Combat experience in particular tends to strip away social and moral constraints historically related to violence and killing. Acts producing death and destruction need not always be a function of direct combat, of course, especially in the age of techno-war, when the military is more likely to produce its deadly effects from a safe distance, its process more detached, impersonal, clinical. The point is that military training instills in recruits a preparedness to kill with few questions asked. This logic of psychological conversion, according to Rhodes, [which] has shaped the lives of tens of millions of Americans whose return to the civilian world carries with it the fruits of that conversion.
Militarism erodes ethical constraints – this justifies massacres and other war crimes in the name of violence itself.
Within the culture of militarism, large-scale massacres, authorized and legitimated by political and military commands, take on the character of the ordinary, where guilt and culpability are routinely evaded. Actions viewed from outside this culture as heinous and criminal appear rather normal, acceptable, even praiseworthy within it, part of a taken-for-granted world. Ethical discourses are roundly silenced, jettisoned. Surveying U.S. war crimes, one can see that taken—for-granted barbarism takes many forms: the saturation bombing of civilian populations, free-fire zones, chemical warfare, relocations, search-and-destroy massacres, the torture and killing of prisoners - [are] all sanctioned through an unwritten code of regular military rations. In techno-war especially all human conduct becomes managerial, clinical, distant, impersonal rendering the carnage technologically rational; individual emotional responses, including the pain and suffering of victims, disappear from view. Even the most ruthless, bloody actions have no villains, insofar as all initiative vanishes within the organizational apparatus and the culture supporting it. [Thus], War managers’ ideology contains specialized military/technical discourses with their own epistemology, basically devoid of moral criteria.
Militarism creates an ethos that propagates violence in the civilian population.
If, as Rhodes argues, violence directed against human beings is in great measure rooted in people’s exposure to certain brutalizing experiences and images, then we should hardly be surprised to find the United States with the world’s largest military machine and prison system, the most violence-saturated media, a fanatical gun cult, and a civil society permeated with criminal activity to be the global leader in mass murders and serial killings, among other violent crimes. The episodes seem endless, many perpetrated by individuals who have military training and/or combat experience, or have done extensive jail time. Clearly, war and preparation for war thrives on an ethos that extends to the civilian population [as]; the quick readiness of elites to use military action, or threaten such action, inevitably leaves its psychological imprint on the general population.
The quest for militarism leads to blowback that inevitably reproduces terrorism.
The new terrorist challenge can be seen as an expression of blowback, which, as Chalmers Johnson argues, can take on the character of a virulent reaction against U.S. imperial domination, fueled by a sense of powerlessness (both elite and mass) where alternatives to the status quo are blocked. Johns on writes that the attacks “are all portents of a twenty-first century crisis in Americas informal empire, an empire based on the projection of military power to every Corner of the world and on the use of American capital and markets to force global economic integration on [U.S.] terms, at whatever costs to others.” He adds: “There is a logic to empire that differs from the logic of a nation, arid acts committed in service to an empire but never acknowledged as such have a tendency to haunt the future.” In the case of Al- Qaeda, it would be impossible to view its actions as anything but payback for stepped-up U.S. military operations in the Middle East: U.S. support for the Israeli occupation of Palestine, bombings and sanctions against Iraq, military bases spread across the Eurasian region, massive weapons sales to repressive regimes, covert actions going back many decades, and the general machinations of oil politics. It is hardly a coincidence that Middle East-inspired terrorist attacks including the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the 1996 assaults on U.S. military bases in Saudi Arabia, the 1998 destruction of U.S. embassies in East Africa, and the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole at anchor in Aden harbor were launched in the aftermath of the first Gulf War. Such blowback was in fact widely predicted at the time of Desert Storm, even if the massive scale of 9/11 was never anticipated by even the most astute observers. After 9/11 it had become abundantly clear that blowback was a predictable outgrowth of U.S. interventions in the Middle East and elsewhere. Whereas terrorism was previously isolated or localized, on the whole limited, today it has become more organized, dispersed across dozens of countries, and far more adequately funded. Although terrorism spreads as a reaction against imperial power, in the U.S. references to al Qaeda and kindred groups as anything but demonic monsters who hate America, ostensibly because of its prosperity and wonderful ideals, remain quite rare. Osama bin Laden, like Saddam Hussein, has emerged in the public discourse as another incarnation of Hitler, a diabolical enemy, easy to hate, in whom the menace of rogue states and global terrorism is easily personified. Moral outrage is an emotion that tends to obliterate any rational search for explanations that might help us understand motives. Terrorism is defined as an evil act, pure and simple, while any U.S. military operation is unquestionably accepted as vital, necessary, defensive.
Thus, as long as the Affirmative meets the criterion of reducing militarism, you affirm the resolution because all ethical systems seek to reduce harm.
My thesis and sole contention is that the compulsory anthrax vaccination program implemented by the Department of Defense is currently reducing military retention rates and negatively influencing military readiness, which reduces militarism.
Fear and mistrust of the anthrax vaccination program has forced military personnel to leave the armed forces at a significant rate. Moreover, service members who refuse to be vaccinated can be dishonorably discharged as well.
Katz, Randall D (US attorney); Friendly Fire: The Mandatory Military Anthrax Vaccination Program; Duke Law Journal; 2001
The consequences are severe if a service member who is ordered to take the vaccine loses trust in medicine, the vaccine, or government decisions. A breakdown in military order can, and perhaps will, occur. The issue - after all, the legal, medical, and political analysis - ultimately is one of trust. In its report on the anthrax vaccine, Congress noted that AVIP “lacks an essential element in a medical program: trust. However well-intentioned, the anthrax vaccine effort is viewed by many with suspicion. [And] it is seen as another chapter in a long, unhappy history of military medical malfeasance in which the healing arts are corrupted to serve a lethal purpose. GAO (Government Accountability Office) studies have shown that fear of the anthrax vaccine is causing service members to leave the armed forces at a significant rate. Those who do not leave face a difficult choice between submitting to vaccination and possibly risking their health, or facing disciplinary action. Major Sonnie Bates and hundreds of [soldiers] have decided the stakes were much too high for them to risk their health - they did not trust the government [because their] fears about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine are underscored by the DOD’s past failures to release information harmful to the Department.
The vaccination program has embedded a cycle of mistrust in the military, which has decreased its efficacy.
Similarly, the adverse safety and efficacy information on the anthrax vaccine may be the latest example of the Pentagon’s deny-and-then-begrudgingly-admit policy. Service members have a right to be concerned. A recent editorial in the Air Force Times called for an end to mandatory anthrax vaccinations: “The anthrax vaccine inoculation program has sewn [sic] dissent in the ranks and added to the mistrust some troops harbor for their commanders … [Q]uestions persist about the quality, efficacy, safety, and legality of the shots.”
Anthrax vaccinations have caused hundreds of National Guard and Air Force Reserve members to leave their positions.
Ricks, Thomas E (military correspondent & a member of Harvard University's Senior Advisory Council on the Project on US Civil-Military Relations); Anthrax Shots Cause Military Exodus; Washington Post: p. A29; October 11, 2000
The Pentagon's policy of requiring service members to be immunized against anthrax is causing many more pilots to leave the National Guard and Air Force Reserve than the military has acknowledged, according to a report by the General Accounting Office. The GAO report, which is scheduled to be released today at a hearing of the House Government Reform Committee, says that unhappiness with the mandatory anthrax program is the top reason cited by pilots and other air crew members who have left the Guard and Reserve over the last two years. The GAO said that in the last five months [the GAO] surveyed 829 current and former members of the Air Guard and Air Force Reserve. Since September 1998, the GAO said, about 25 percent of pilots and other air crew members, such as navigators and crew chiefs, in the Guard and Reserve have left the military, transferred to other units, usually to non-flying positions, or moved to inactive status. One in four who left said the anthrax program was the most important factor in their decision to leave, the GAO said. On top of those who already have left, an additional 18 percent who are still in the Guard or Reserve said they plan to leave within the next six months, the GAO said. In that group, 61 percent said the biggest reason for deciding to leave was the anthrax program, the study said. Overall there are about 176,000 people in the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve, of which about 13,000 are pilots or other air crew members. The Pentagon view of the anthrax controversy has been that while there have been many complaints, few service members actually have left because of it. "I'm sure you can find some individuals who have left the Guard and Reserve rather than proceed with their anthrax vaccination, but I don't think we've considered [it to have] a significant impact," Rear Adm. Craig Quigley, a Pentagon spokesman, said yesterday. The GAO survey tends to confirm anecdotal evidence that the anthrax [vaccination] controversy is having a greater impact than the Pentagon contends. Retired Lt. Col. Tom Heemstra, a former squadron commander in the Indiana Air National Guard who has become an anti-anthrax activist, said that unhappiness with the anthrax program "devastated our unit." The GAO findings also could have an impact in the current debate over military readiness. The report noted that in recent years the Pentagon has relied heavily on the Guard and Reserve to provide personnel for overseas operations. Twenty percent to 40 percent of pilots patrolling Iraq's no-fly zone are from the Guard or Reserve. The Pentagon announced the mandatory inoculation policy in December 1997 and began immunizations in August 1998. It aimed to inoculate all 2.4 million people on active duty and in the Guard and Reserve. But several hundred service members have refused to be injected, citing concerns about possible side effects. Several dozen have been court-martialed, and others have been allowed to leave the military.
The vaccination program is destroying the readiness of our military by forcing essential members to leave.
Burton, Dan (Chairman of the House Committee on Government Reform & R-Indiana); Congressional report says anthrax vaccine large part of Air Force exodus; October 11, 2000
"Because of Secretary Cohen's decision to mandate the anthrax vaccine we have lost a substantial number of pilots and air crew members," Burton said at the hearing. "These pilots and air crew members are essential to our military readiness. They are the backbone of every military operation. Without our Air National Guard and Reserve, the United States military would be unable to respond to any national security threat or emergency," Burton said … “Whether the Defense Department wants to admit it or not, with a potential loss of 43 percent of our Guard and Reserve pilots and aircrew members, we have a serious problem,” Burton said. Committee member Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Connecticut, made his point more bluntly. "I sincerely believe the military is being blatantly untruthful to us. And I believe this program is destroying our readiness.