Rick Wilson is one of the principal midgets at the Lincoln Project. A little man with a fat belly, which is presently full of war bluster when it's not full of beer. Throw in his Confederate cooler, and you've concocted a neo-con chickenhawk. He, along with too many other chickenhawks with no skin in the game, are flooding social media with idiotic takes on what America could do about Ukraine.
My favorite Lincoln Project gnome topped himself on Thursday. The Thursday tweet linked his February 28th tweet, in which he had suggested that America could transfer A10s to Ukraine, and [pilot] contractors could fly them in combat.
I'm not sure which tweet is more idiotic: The first suggestion, or the latter, in which he pats himself on the back for making a moronic suggestion.
On Thursday, he (apparently) read an article in Defense News, after seeing it in a tweet. Notice that the article was published on Thursday, while Russians were surrounding major cities and bombing a nuclear power plant. Defense News asserts that America should “transfer” three squadrons of A-10s to Ukraine's Air Force. Each squadron has up to 24 aircraft. Seventy-two A-10 is about a third of American flyable inventory.
Rick Wilson saw that tweet (I am generously assuming Wilson read it) and tweeted in response:
“Way ahead of ya.” He linked a prior tweet where the lawn gnome suggested that mercenaries could pilot 70+ A-10s. Okay, Rick.
As unbelievably stupid as that seems, even for a human carrot like Wilson, I was assuming it was just bad satire. It isn't. The Gnome apparently really thinks America could gift a third of America's inventory of irreplaceable A-10s Warthogs to Ukraine. And those A-10s could and would be flown by “contractors.”
I cannot express how idiotic Wilson's take is and how incredibly absurd Defense News suggestion is. The proposal makes it seem like A-10s are moveable pawns, like pieces on a chessboard. But, what's more stunning than a political hack like Wilson making stupid, war-fighting suggestions is that the Defense News article was written by Everett Pyatt, a former assistant secretary of the U.S. Navy. That's not how it works, Mr. Pyatt — that's not how any of this works.
A-10s are complex weapons platforms and each one requires experienced ground crews, air support, spare parts, aviation fuel, weapons, and most importantly, experienced pilots, just to get off the ground.
Assuming one has the very minimum above, to make each Warthog combat ready and combat operational, they will need ground datum — and at least one AWAC at the ready and one in the air, to direct air traffic to the target.
All of the above assumes that there is little to no SAM (Surface to Air Missiles) coverage, and no bad guys in the air. That is not the case in Ukraine. The Russians have hundreds of mobile SAMs batteries and hundreds, if not thousands, of hand-held SAMs. Russia has hundreds of aircraft in the air, with the capacity to shoot down any opposition well before it reaches a convoy of tanks.
Assuming the impossible, that America would, today, gift 70 A-10s to Ukraine, they wouldn't be usable as offensive weapons. No service crew in uniform would be tasked; thus, there would be no one to maintain the planes. Imagine a race car that needs specialists just to get onto the track.
“But the Ukrainians could do it! We stand with Ukrainians!” No, they couldn't. And no, we don't, in a combat sense.
“Well they could find retired A-10 crews and pilots on LinkedIn”. Yeah. Okay, Rick. You're high. Only in silly movies and video games does that kind of thing happen.
There is no magical, combat fairy dust that puts warplanes in the air. Only in the fever dreams of chickenhawks like Rick Wilson would anyone suggest that a major, American air asset be transferred to Ukraine for a suicide mission.
Assuming that the impossible happened – that 70+ A-10s were delivered, that crews were assembled, that weapon stocks provided, and each A-10 manned with an experienced pilot, none of the A-10s would survive – and not because A-10 pilots aren't best (they are) or that the A-10 isn't awesome (it is).
But without the support they need, they would fly blindly to unknown targets and straight into a beehive of SAMs and fighters. It would be a suicide mission, and no “contractor” would sign up to die for money they will never spend.
Only an idiot would propose such a silly, neocon nonsense. I give you the Lincoln Project's best and brightest — Rick Wilson.