An odd story out of the Air Force: Maj. Gen. James Post III has been disciplined for suggesting that airmen who provided Congress with dissenting viewpoints on the phaseout of the A-10 Thunderbird “Warthog” were committing treason. From Stars and Stripes:
Post was issued a letter of reprimand and is moving from his position following the statements Jan. 10 to about 300 airmen at a Weapons and Tactics Review Board meeting at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada. The board was discussing the controversial retirement of the A-10, which has sparked a pushback from Congress and infantry troops and pilots who believe it has unique capabilities on the battlefield.
The Arizona Daily Independent originally reported Post’s comments. “If anyone accuses me of saying this, I will deny it,” he was quoted as saying at the Jan. 10 meeting, “anyone who is passing information to Congress about A-10 capabilities is committing treason.” (For the record, Post is incorrect: All servicemembers have the legal right to communicate freely with congressional representatives through both official and private channels.) The Air Force has said Post’s comment was made in a spirit of hyperbole, but that characterization is reportedly disputed by others who heard him speak.
Though supported by both the Bush and Obama administrations, the phaseout of the A-10 is a controversial move; analysts such as the Atlantic’s James Fallows and politicians such as New Hampshire senator Kelly Ayotte and Arizona senator John McCain have criticized the elimination of the aircraft as the wasteful abandonment of a useful weapon.