Chuck Spinney: USAF General James Post Says Telling the Truth to Congress About the A-10 is “Treason” — Really…

07 Other Atrocities, Corruption, Idiocy, Military, Officers Call
Chuck Spinney
Chuck Spinney

USAF General James Post’s Mexican Hot Platter

There are indications and warnings (I&W) that the U.S. Air Force is headed for the rubber room, at least if the attitude of Major General James Post, the Vice Commander of Air Combat Command is an I&W of the Air Force’s corporate attitude.  As I said in an earlier blaster, the AF hates the A-10 for deep-seated cultural reasons and has been trying to trash it since it was the paper A-X in the 1960s.  But its recent efforts to kill the A-10 to save the troubled F-35 have degenerated into the bizarro world of cognitive dissonance.  For reasons explained below, this development raises medical questions that may open up a new lucrative area for psycho-pathological research. General Post recently told Air Force officers that any A-10 pilot communicating the virtues of the A-10 to a member of Congress is committing “treason,”

[also included as Attachment 2 below].

Marine Corps infantrymen, who are not subject to Post’s definition of treason, have told me time and again that the A-10 is by far the most effective air support they can get in Afghanistan; bear in mind, this is coming from people who do not think much of the Air Force.  At the same time, sources with connections in the Air Force tell me that the pressure on A-10 pilots to shut up about the A-10’s virtues has been increasing since Post enunciated the new legal doctrine.  Moreover, I have been told by one reliable source that this pressure is especially intense on those A-10 pilots who are now flying missions against ISIS.  So pilots bragging about the airplane they are flying in combat are committing treason if that airplane is the A-10, but not if that airplane is an F-15, F-22, F-16, or (hypothetically) an F-35.

More generally, to be effective, General Post’s legal prohibition must also apply to newly retired officers who flew the A-10 in Afghanistan as well.  That is because recent retirees are subject to recall in a state of emergency and are therefore still technically part of the Air Force (and the U.S. has been in a state of emergency since the Korean War).  That being the case, Post’s prohibition places the recently elected Congresswoman Martha McSally on the horns of a dilemma: According to the Air Force Times [Attachment 1 below], McSally is a recently retired Air Force colonel and a former A-10 pilot and squadron commander with 325 combat hours in Iraq and Afghanistan; and she has been openly bragging about the A-10. Being recently retired, she is technically still subject to recall, so she is still bound by legal restrictions of the UCMJ.  Therefore, according to Post’s legal doctrine, McSally will be committing treason if she talks to herself or other fellow legislators about the virtues of the A-10.  Senator Ayotte from New Hampshire also must be careful.  She is married to a former A-10 pilot, so it would be wise not to talk to her husband about the virtues of the A-10, unless she is trying to establish legal grounds for a divorce.

There may be one silver lining in this weird episode, however: In WW I soldiers suffering from battlefield fatigue were shot for cowardice in the British Army.  Since then, people have come to recognize correctly that combat fatigue, or PTSD in modern parlance, is a psychological wound that should be treated with the same empathy as any other combat wound.

General Post’s outburst suggests that PTSD may be too narrowly defined.  His behaviour suggests a form of PTSD could also result from the stress one is subjected to in the Pentagon’s budget battles.  This possibility would open a vast new field of mental research. If true, perhaps Post would be able to increase his retirement pay by retiring on a disability, and not have to go thru the revolving door to the makers of the F-35 in the defense industry to augment his retirement.

For traditionalists, there is, however, a competing old-school diagnosis:  General Post is just another bureaucratic asshole who autoenchiladed.  This is the time-honored Pentagon term-of-art that hardened veterans of budget combat use to describe a self-inflicted wound that is caused by the psychological equivalent of taking in a Mexican hot platter thru the wrong orifice; i.e., where the enchilada, smothered in hot sauce, wrapped in barbed wire, is self-inserted into a very painful place.

 ———— Attachment 1 —————— 

Lawmaker, an A-10 vet, aims to protect Warthog

By Brian Everstine, Staff writer 8:30 a.m. EST January 30, 2015

One of the newest lawmakers on Capitol Hill is a former A-10 driver, and she is wasting no time protecting her former aircraft.

Rep. Martha McSally, a freshman Republican from Arizona, on Jan. 29 sent a letter to President Obama and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel urging them not to seek to retire the A-10 in their fiscal 2016 budget request, expected to be unveiled Feb. 2.

The Air Force attempted to retire the jet last year, but Congress blocked the move. Officials have said they will try again this year.

McSally is a retired Air Force colonel and has 325 combat hours in the A-10 in Iraq and Afghanistan. She also commanded an A-10 squadron.

“From my experience as an A-10 pilot and squadron commander, I know first hand the unique capabilities of the A-10 in close air support, forward air control-airborne, and combat search and rescue missions,” McSally wrote. “The Warthog is anything but a ‘single mission aircraft’ and there is simply no other asset that can match its lethality, loiter time, and survivability. The decision to retire it is reckless and will put American lives at risk.”

The Air Force has said it would save $3.5 billion over five years by phasing out the A-10. The move would free up money and personnel to help bed down the F-35 over that time span. The jet was originally expected to stay in the Air Force until at least 2028 following new wings and other lifespan-extension projects.

The A-10 has recently been deployed to the Middle East to fight the Islamic State terrorist group. The Air Force has said the A-10 has flown 11 percent of total Air Force sorties.

“This statistic contains an important caveat,” McSally wrote. “Other Air Force assets have been engaged in operations against ISIS since August, but the Air Force did not start deploying the A-10 until November. That the A-10 was used in 11 percent of all operations in just three months signals the Air Force is frequently using the aircraft against the group.

“In fact, recent reports stated that an A-10 mission carried out airstrikes that killed and wounded dozens of ISIS components near Mosul. Iraqi News went so far as to note that ‘the aircraft sparked panic in the ranks of ISIS.’ ”

———— Attachment 2 —————— 

By Maggie Ybarra – The Washington Times – Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Air Force has launched an investigation into allegations that a prominent military leader threatened to ostracize service members who dared to discuss with lawmakers the service’s plan to retire combat aircraft.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain called for the investigation after rumors surfaced that Maj. Gen. James Post, the vice commander of Air Combat Command, told his officers that anyone “passing information to Congress about A-10 capabilities is committing treason.”

John Q. Public” Blogger Tony Carr was the first to report on Maj. Gen. Post’s threat and quoted the career airman as saying, “If anyone accuses me of saying this, I will deny it,” the Washington Free Beacon said.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh told the Arizona Republican and other committee members during a Jan. 28 congressional hearing on the impact of sequestration on national security that the Air Force Inspector General’s Office had undertaken the task of finding out if the allegations are unfounded.

During the hearing, Sen. Kelly Ayotte askedGen. Welsh to ensure that airmen and airwomen would be free to speak to their congressional representatives about their concerns without worrying about whether they would be subject to retribution.

The New Hampshire Republican said she was worried about the climate and tone that the Air Force may be setting for its service members in the wake of additional fiscal constraints and budget woes.