At the same time IraqiNews.com reported on a local source in Nineveh province who said that “the ‘Wild Boar’ aircraft which belongs to the U.S. Air Force has carried out four air strikes that killed and wounded dozens of ISIS elements, adding that the aircraft sparked panic in the ranks of ISIS, USAF officers were being told by Post, “if anyone accuses me of saying this, I will deny it . . . anyone who is passing information to Congress about A-10 capabilities is committing treason.”
Latest news…. Post’s Comments Generate Calls for Congressional Hearing
According to multiple sources, Post claimed that the Air Force doesn’t want to scrap the A-10, but has little choice in the matter. According to popular Air Force blog, John Q. Public, Post attempted to marginalize A-10 supporters by accusing them of “reacting emotionally” and “undercutting the CSAF’s message” of committing treason.
Post’s reference to “passing information to Congress” appears to be in violation of 10 U.S. Code § 1034 – Protected communications; prohibition of retaliatory personnel. The Code provides that “No person may restrict a member of the armed forces in communicating with a Member of Congress or an Inspector General.”
In response to questions about the General’s statement, an Air Combat Command spokesperson told the ADI today:
“The general’s use of hyperbole in his comments during a recent discussion with attendees at a Tactics Review Board at Nellis were intended to communicate a serious point: the Air Force decision on recommended actions/strategic choices for the constrained fiscal environment has been made and the service’s position communicated.”
While subsequent government debate will continue at the highest levels as those recommendations and other options are evaluated, our job as Airmen is to continue to execute our mission and duties–certainly our role as individual military members is not to engage in public debate or advocacy for policy.”
At their core, the general’s comments recognize Air Combat Command’s responsibility to organize, train, and equip the best Combat Air Force in the world while preparing for tomorrow’s challenges. He called on Airmen to support decisions made to that end–first by the Air Force and ultimately, if approved, by our civilian government leadership.”
Sources say that Post’s statements did not appear to be hyperbolic at all. The general stated clearly, and the spokesperson’s statement confirms the conference attendees’ impression; if they speak to members of Congress they are viewed and will be treated as traitors in contravention to 10 U.S. Code § 1034.
As the Air Force continues to maneuvers to scrap the A-10 while its pilots continue to maneuver over ISIS, the effects of Post’s comments are particularly disturbing to many involved in both the fight oversees and the fight here at home.
“This is a continuation of the party line that anyone who disagrees with CSAF’s choices is reacting emotionally. It’s a tactic to trivialize opponents, now complete with a traitor label heaped on top,” notes the John Q. Public report. “This is a big deal if it’s true. Generals hold the power to destroy lives and ruin careers. If speaking against your chain of command is considered treasonous by senior leadership, we should be concerned about the abuse of power to hound the perceived traitors.”
Airmen and other A-10 supporters have been reaching out the Congress and their efforts have paid off through the actions of former Congressman Ron Barber of Arizona, and senators Kelly Ayotte (New Hampshire) and John McCain (Arizona). The three fought for and won funding for the low and slow flying plane that is currently terrorizing the ISIS terrorists.
That fight continues though, and Post’s comments appear to be the desperate act of leadership that has used every under handed trick in the book and must resort to tactics prohibited by federal law.
According to Defense News, at the semi-annual “State of the Air Force” event, “Secretary Deborah Lee James and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh confirmed they will move forward with plans to retire fleets despite strong pushback from Congress over the A-10 Warthog and, to a lesser extent, the U-2 spy plane and KC-10 tanker.
Defense News reports, “When the budget was first being developed, the threat from the Islamic State had not emerged. Since then, the Air Force has been locked into a long, constant air campaign, one in which James said the service has flown 60 percent of the 16,000-plus sorties over Iraq and Syria.” Yet, James said the development has not changed leadership’s mind about the need to retire the older system as a cost-saving measure, according to Defense News.
According to the Defense News article, when asked if she had any regrets about trying to retire the plane, James was direct: “No, I do not.” The article notes that the “fight over the A-10 has been particularly brutal for the service, opening up a trust gap between the Hill and the Air Force.”
The trust gap now exists between the troops and leadership as well.
The author of the John Q. Public article wrote, “I don’t expect a straight answer from ACC/PA on this.” However, the spokesperson did provide a clear answer; “our role as individual military members is not to engage in public debate or advocacy for policy.” The message was clear: step out of line – speak to your elected representatives and you are a traitor.
Many supporters of the A-10 hope that John Q. Public’s message that to lawmakers is heard one way or another: “I do encourage members of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees to take an interest in this reported comment, and encourage them to investigate,” he wrote.
What the A-10 supporters want the members of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees to hear is what they are seeing firsthand overseas. They mean no disrespect, but they know that the USAF generals are wrong. The people on the ground see and feel the difference the Wild Boar makes on foreign ground. They do not want to contradict the generals – they want nothing more than to support the generals – they simply want the generals to fight the right fight – the one for the lives of our men and women on the ground, who are taking on the most horrific evil we could ever imagine.
Here is what they want Congress to know: