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|
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.Some "honor code," Don.
"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."