09 February 2015

Killing the Hog (IV)

In addition to being an outrage in itself, the A-10 scandal is becoming a poster child for what ails the Pentagon in general -- i.e., a domestic political economy that puts hardware before people and ideas (see Killing the Hog III).  The attached report in the Arizona Daily Independent adds more ammunition to both conclusions.  
Chuck Spinney

USAF desperation behind A-10 friendly fire death message
ADI News Services, February 9, 2015
“They follow the principle that when one lies, it should be a big lie, and one should stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous.” ~ Joseph Goebbels, Third Reich Minister of Propaganda
An article in USA Today regarding the United States Air Force’s A-10 and friendly fire incidents has caused a fire storm across the military community. The article, A-10 warplane tops list for friendly fire deaths, by Tom Vanden Brook, appears to many to be a desperate attempt by the USAF to discredit the craft just as it is being hailed by enemies of ISIL.
Tony Carr, who won the Distinguished Flying Cross and writes in the popular, military blog, John Q. Public, describes the article as a “lamentable piece of journalism, with Vanden Brook perhaps unwittingly advancing a despicable bundle of lies on behalf of the unnamed officials who made him their message mule.” [CS note: See Killing the Hog (III)]
Senator Kelly Ayotte, a staunch advocate for the A-10, issued a statement in response to the piece: “Every death of an American or allied service member or an innocent civilian is a heart-breaking tragedy. No aircraft that conducts close air support missions — which by definition involve the close proximity of friendly and enemy forces — is immune from fratricide. But as our ground troops and Joint Terminal Attack Controllers will tell you, the unique CAS capabilities of the A-10 have saved hundreds of American lives.”
“Unfortunately, the Air Force is again making selective use of data to support its misguided, dangerous, and premature divestment of the A-10—a divestment that ignores the advice of the overwhelming majority of Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTACs) who know close air support best,” concluded Ayotte. … [continued]