Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Gen. Don Bacon's biggest campaign lie: his TV claim that the USAF's honor code means it doesn't lie. His Air Force has been telling whoppers for 68 years

Related: read about USAF Gen. Don Bacon's very conspicuous silence regarding Sen. Deb Fischer's sleazy vote to hide Air Force B-21 development costs from the public.

Retired Air Force General Don Bacon's new TV campaign ad to unseat Rep. Brad Ashford says: "The Air Force has an honor code. We will not lie, cheat or steal or tolerate anyone who does."
     Brave words from a man steeped in the culture of the U.S. Air Force, for years a poster child of budget-busting waste in government (example: the B-22 program) and disingenuous, untruthful excuses about such wretched excess. Bacon's preposterous claim that the Air Force doesn't lie is itself a huge lie.
     The Air Force has been lying to the public since it was one year old, in 1948. Its first whopper was to the wives of airmen killed in a B-29 crash, which resulted in the evidentiary rule precedent of the so-called "state secrets privilege," which has been used ever since by the U.S. government to stonewall citizen inquiries and to hide misconduct by playing the "threat to national security" card to dismiss lawsuits:
     In United States v. Reynolds (1953), the widows of three crew members of a B-29 Superfortress bomber that had crashed in 1948 sought accident reports on the crash, but were told the release of such details would threaten national security by revealing the nature of the bomber's top-secret mission. The Supreme Court ruled that the executive branch could bar evidence from the court if it deemed that its release would impair national security. In 1996, the accident reports in question were declassified and released, and when discovered in 2000 were found to contain no secret information. They did, however, contain information about the poor condition of the aircraft itself, which would have been very compromising to the Air Force's case.
Bacon TV ad about Air Force "honor" and truthfulness
     Recently, when the press began to get wind of the fact that the hugely expensive and horribly broken F-35, designed to replace the F-15, was actually quite a dog in dogfights, General Don Bacon's Air Force pulled out all the stops to fool the public by coaching airmen on how to deceptively answer skeptical inquiries about the colossal cost ($400,000 per helmet!) and poor performance of the plane. From Popular Mechanics:
     In response to the potential question "I heard this aircraft can't dogfight, and it's not maneuverable. Is that true?" the document blasts reports about the F-16 versus F-35 dogfights.
     "The F-35 is designed to be comparable to current tactical fighters in terms of maneuverability, but the design is optimized for stealth and sensor superiority. News reports on the F-35's performance against an F-16 was an early look at the F-35's flight control authority software logic, and not an assessment of its ability in a dogfight situation [...] There have been numerous occasions where a four-ship of F-35s has engaged a four-ship of F-16s in simulated combat scenarios and the F-35s won each of those 4 v 4 encounters because of its sensors, weapons, and stealth technology."
     To be fair, these "guidance documents" are not uncommon in the military, and mainly meant for PR flacks. Still, the document states that "wings will also identify pilots and maintainers who are proficient at telling the F-35 story and are willing to lend their name and image to the effort."
     What makes this surprising is that it contradicts some of the Air Force's own internal documents found in July, which blasted the F-35 for multiple failures. For instance, the F-35's poor maneuverability in a dogfight was because, according to the test pilot, "the F-35 was at a distinct energy disadvantage." That's not something you can fix with better "flight control authority software logic."
Some "honor code," Don.


  1. Very interesting rant about the expense of creating the technology that has eliminated the threat of an Air War against the United States since before the Gulf War. Had we not invested in these generation skipping air capabilities, we would likely still be challenged in the skies by our adversaries. And now, as the Chinese and Russians close the gap on air capabilities and technologies, we have an opportunity to leap ahead again with these new capabilities and dominate the skies, unchallenged, for the next generation. That is a security I want to ensure my children enjoy and prefer not to whine about expenses when it is directly linked to American military superiority and dominance that has held our next closest state rivals at bay. Very weak point to attack someone's personal honor code with a worthless point on finances of highly sensitive and classified technologies that are going to be very expensive to develop. Have some past leaders made judgement errors, yes. That does not negate the integrity of all others associated with the military. This General seems to have the character I want to see leading our nation in Congress, not that of someone who has been a Republican, Independent, and now Democrat, just to find a way to get elected, vice sticking with any sort of honor code that would make other proud to follow. Sad article!

  2. F-22s were first used in combat in mid-September, 2015 (against Syria), nine years after the Air Force claimed they were "combat ready."
    From Bloomberg:
    "Through Feb. 2, 2016, F-22s flew 112 sorties dropping 132 munitions. But U.S. aircraft conducted 1,919 airstrikes dropping 8,194 munitions through Jan. 30, according to the latest summary by U.S. Central Command."
    F-35As were declared ready for combat only last month.
    Obviously neither of the hugely expensive planes were used in either Gulf war, as you strongly and falsely imply.
    Again, Bloomberg:
    “From Air Force data in 2013, we know the cost to operate an F-22 per hour in the U.S. is $68,262,” said Winslow Wheeler, a former Government Accountability Office analyst who assessed weapons programs and recently retired from the Project on Government Oversight, a Washington-based watchdog group. “Foreign deployments will be more.”
    F-15 and F-16 aircraft flying missions in Iraq and Syria are “certainly doing it at an operating cost that is a fraction of the F-22’s according to official Air Force data,” Wheeler said.
    He said the Air Force has a track record of releasing data on its favored weapons programs that are “usually incomplete, often to the point of being misleading.”