Thoughts On McChrystal And Petraeus

A link roundup.

My question is, when did he go from being General Betrayus to General Petraeus? When George Bush left office? I think people are going to have a lot of fun in the next couple days digging up derogatory quotes from the secretary of state, president and vice president from happier, anti-Petraeus days, when they were in the minority and had the luxury of being politically irresponsible.

[Update a few minutes later]

OK, some similar thoughts from VDH:

It is one of ironies of our present warped climate that Petraeus will face far less criticism from the media and politicians than during 2007–8 (there will be no more “General Betray Us” ads or “suspension of disbelief” ridicule), because his success this time will reflect well on Obama rather than George Bush. It is a further irony that Obama is surging with Petraeus despite not long ago declaring that such a strategy and such a commander were failures in Iraq. And it is an even further irony that he is now rightly calling for “common purpose” when — again not long ago, at a critical juncture in Iraq — Obama himself, for partisan purposes on the campaign trail, had no interest in the common purpose of military success in Iraq.

It’s a lot easier to campaign than to govern.

[Update mid afternoon]

And so it begins. Here’s an example of a little less than three years ago, from the senator who is now president:

“The best way to protect our security and to pressure Iraq’s leaders to resolve their civil war is to immediately begin to remove our combat troops,” Mr. Obama said. “Not in six months or one year — now.”

In his address, Mr. Obama proposed removing American combat troops at a pace of one or two brigades a month, which is about twice as fast as American commanders in Iraq have deemed prudent. There are currently about 20 combat brigades in Iraq, which General Petraeus has committed to reducing to 15 next summer.

As I said, it’s easier to campaign. Especially when you’re a Democrat, and the press never holds you accountable for your past words or actions.

To Whom It May Concern

Any use of the phrase “science project” or “toy rocket” or “hobbyist” with regard to ULA and SpaceX at this point will identify the user as either clueless or disingenuous. Certainly no one worth paying attention to, at least on the subject of space policy. Note, this is a comment spurred more by the commentary over at Space Politics than anything in particular here. It was just a perfect storm. 😉

Five Years

…since Kelo:

I’m glad to see all this local patchwork to fix it, but it seems like this might be ripe for a constitutional amendment, given how unpopular it was. Of course, as the video notes, it’s popular with politicians. On the other hand, if it was that popular, it would have been a lot harder to make all the local progress against it. If every state that has either changed state law or amended their constitutions to increase citizens’ rights against rapacious local governments would ratify a federal amendment, it would have a lot of margin for passage.

Stupidest Headline Of The Week

So far, anyway.

“‘Citizens’ Group Carries Obama’s Water in Space.”

First, note the scare quotes around the word “Citizens’.” Because, you know, we all know that it’s some Evil-Soros-Funded-Special-Interest-In-Thrall-To-The-One, not a real group of “citizens” actually concerned about government waste.

A taxpayer watchdog group with a history of opposing space projects blasted an Alabama senator for trying to keep the Constellation program alive.

Shocking, isn’t it? Imagine a group that claims to be against government waste opposing a space project. Because, as we all know, there’s never been a wasteful space project.

Just for grins, and in the interest of journalistic responsibility, let’s wander over to CAGW’s web site, shall we? Let us peruse a few of the other headlines there than Dick Shelby’s well-deserved award.

Here’s a good one: “CAGW Urges Obama to Waive Jones Act to Aid Spill Effort.”

Or this: “CAGW Slams Obama’s Plan for More Stimulus Spending.”

Hmmmm…did someone over there miss the Soros fax about the watercarrying?

Maybe they were just anomalies.

But then we find this: “CCAGW Urges “Yes” Vote on McCain Amendment to Rein In Fannie and Freddie.”

Now I’m really confused. So they’re hauling H2O for both Obama and his election opponent? Whatever will ACORN think, after they worked so hard, and drummed up all those Disney-character votes against him?

And perhaps, delirious from the stress of all the water carrying, they missed the memo that they were supposed to be supporting ObamaCare, not coming up with stories like “CCAGW to House: Vote “No” on The Healthcare Bill!” and “ObamaCare is Not an April Fool’s Joke.”

You know, if they’re carrying water for Obama, they seem to be doing it with a shotgunned sieve. I doubt if they could make it halfway across the room with it.

Actually, after looking at that web site, you know what I think that CAGW is “carrying water” for? Call me crazy, but I think that it’s carrying water for opposition to government waste.

And of course, our intrepid reporter lets this bit of ignorance (or stupidity, or…mendacity — take your pick, or choose them all!) from Bill Posey stand unchallenged:

Florida officials, led by U.S. Rep. Bill Posey, R-Rockledge, have lobbied for Constellation to continue while they cast doubt on the White House’s vision for future space exploration.

“The real waste is canceling a program that’s near completion after investing $9 billion into it,” Posey said.

“If Constellation is killed, the president plans to outsource American space jobs to Russia to the tune of more than a billion dollars – that’s taxpayer money spent there, in Russia, and not here,” the congressman said.

First of all, that program that is “near” completion is at least seven years and another thirty to fifty billion (depending on which estimate — NASA’s or GAO’s — you want to use) from “completion.” That is, it’s about sixty to one hundred SpaceXs away from completion, dollar wise. Second, the plan to “outsource American space jobs to Russia” was George Bush’s. You know, the president who shared a political party with Rep. Posey? This president’s plan is to “outsource” those space jobs to commercial launch providers, creating new industry with new jobs, and allowing NASA to finally focus its meager resources on the much more challenging task of getting beyond LEO, four decades late. A competent reporter would have pointed this out, instead of simply being a stenographer for another porkmeister.

All in all, a thoroughly useless bit of “journalism,” and one of the reasons that a lot of “journalists” are being laid off these days (including many who don’t deserve it). Why does this hack still have his job?

[Update a few minutes later]

I just realized that I might have been a little hard on the reporter. The story is bad, but the reporter doesn’t say anything about “carrying water for Obama.” That was presumably the copy editor, who normally comes up with heds. Of course, if it was the reporter’s suggestion, then shame on him, too.

T. Coddington Van Voorhees VII

…is back, and he’s starting to lose his faith in The One:

I had not seen Kloonkie this distraught since our days as chalet mates at a Swiss finishing school, when his mother, the late Countess Astrid Von Wallensheim-Ascencão, infamously renounced her peerage to remarry an itinerant Portuguese tennis professional.

“Coddsie, it’s not just the boat,” he sniffed. “It’s the whole damned world. Have you been to the continent lately? The economy is moribund, the Euro is falling apart, and the underclasses are too lazy to do anything but riot for longer holidays. I wrote half the EU regulations on immigration and pensions, and how do they thank me? If I moor at St. Tropez, my yacht will be confiscated by the French tax officials. If I stop at the old family island I’ll be attacked by rampaging Greek postal carriers. If stay out of harbor, I risk getting mistaken for an Israeli navy ship and blown up by some Palestinian peace flotilla. And this — this president of yours doesn’t seem to have a single idea what to do about it.”

I and my guests were momentarily stunned, this being the first time any of us had heard an ill word spoken about Mr. Obama by a European of impeccable intellect with the Hermes ascot to match. This was followed, understandably, by muffled sobs. It was left to me to gamely break the lachrymose silence. “Perhaps Kloonkie is right,” I said. “Perhaps the President has not quite turned out to be the Reagan reincarnation we all expected, and in some ways I am beginning to believe this Obama fellow is unequal to the task. As the intellectual conscience of the conservative movement, and whatever our previous enthusiasm for the chap, we ought have the courage to point out those rare instances where his performance has been found wanting. Such as foreign and domestic policy. The important thing is that we not end up implicated in his shortcomings.”

“Take the President’s economic program,” I added. “We could begin noting how little it has done to revive the fortunes of East Hampton’s polo outfitters. My own Argentine malletier Jorge, for exampIe, has returned to the pampas, leaving me to make do with last year’s model. And if the polo equipment sector is struggling I am forced to assume that other parts of the American economy may be as well. And, although we all voiced support for Mr. Obama’s plan, we should emphasize that support was merely based on what it was supposed to do. Not what it did.”

This explanation seemed to brighten the spirits of my fellow columnists, as it slowly dawned on them that they too could now venture the occasional measured criticism of the previously inviolate Mr. Obama without risk of losing their intellectual credentials or place in the social register. The effect was like the lifting of a great burden, and we began to discuss a nagging question — how exactly to account for the curious disconnect between Mr. Obama’s intentions and his results?

“Clearly, this isn’t the Barack Obama any of us swooned for during the election,” offered Peggy Noonan. “As a candidate he was fresh, intellectual, and serious. Instead, as president, he has proven to be naive, detached and aloof. Nostradamus himself could not have predicted such an astonishing 180 degree transformation.”

“Indeed, how could anyone?” added Brooks. “The fellow was a success at everything he had ever attempted — being ethnically interesting, going to Harvard, getting elected, or writing autobiographies about being ethnically interesting and going to Harvard. It was simply inconceivable that there was a task he could actually fail at. I am forced to conclude his Harvard credentials may be a sham.”

Who can blame them? No one who attended Harvard could have seen it coming.

SS2 Takes Wing

It looks like they dropped it today, or recently.

It’s been six months since the roll out. They’ve made a lot of progress. It’s a real rocketplane now. Or at least airplane — not sure about the status on the hybrid motor.

[Update late afternoon]

I am reliably informed that it was not the real thing, but a model that some of the Virgin guys were flying in the parking lot this morning. The day will come, though. They’ve been doing captive-carry flights. At some point, they’ll have to drop the bird.

Aurora

Nah, nobody would pay anything to see something like this.

[Update a few minutes later]

It occurs to me that the first suborbital vehicles will be capable of reaching the lower ionosphere. How much extra would people pay to fly from high latitudes and see that up close and personal? Of course, there is another issue of whether or not it would be hazardous. I doubt it, but there might be some test flights required first. Perhaps even unmanned, by Masten et al. That’s the reason that they call it the “ignorosphere.” We haven’t really had the opportunity to study it that much. The new vehicles will provide us with one, finally.

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