Heavy-Lift Follies

Keith Cowing, Marcia Smith and Jeff Foust all have reports on General Bolden’s comments yesterday, some of which were in response to questions from Keith. I would note (as Jeff does) that Congress doesn’t want a vehicle sized in metric tons — it asked for one in tons. NASA seems to have confused this issue by sizing in MT, and now Keith and Marcia are stating that as though it’s the requirement. But that oversizes the system considerably, as I noted in my satirical but sadly accurate robot theater a few weeks ago.

Getting The Incentives Right

Enlightened women honoring gentlemen.

For quite a while, I’ve been thinking that we’ve lost the concept of a gentleman, to the point that the word has lost its meaning. It makes me crazy when I hear a newscaster say something absurd and with no apparent irony, like “…the gentleman who raped the young woman is still being sought by police.” Folks, it’s not just a synonym for “man.”

The Professor’s War

Dr. K isn’t impressed with the president’s foreign policy:

Well, let’s see how that paper multilateralism is doing. The Arab League is already reversing itself, criticizing the use of force it had just authorized. Amr Moussa, secretary-general of the Arab League, is shocked — shocked! — to find that people are being killed by allied airstrikes. This reaction was dubbed mystifying by one commentator, apparently born yesterday and thus unaware that the Arab League has forever been a collection of cynical, warring, unreliable dictatorships of ever-shifting loyalties. A British soccer mob has more unity and moral purpose. Yet Obama deemed it a great diplomatic success that the League deigned to permit others to fight and die to save fellow Arabs for whom 19 of 21 Arab states have yet to lift a finger. And what about that brilliant U.N. resolution?


[Afternoon update]

The Libya farce gets turned up all the way to eleven:

Even though an American sits at the apex of NATO, it appears as though the command decisions involving American military forces will be coming from a NATO committee rather than from the commander-in-chief. This is almost certainly an unconstitutional delegation of the President’s command responsibilities; it is incompatible with the “commander-in-chief” clause of Article II of the Constitution. Among other things, it dilutes Obama’s accountability for the results. This may well be Obama’s strongest innermost desire, of course. He clearly has no stomach for his duties as commander-in-chief, and in handing over to NATO is voting “present” once again.

As I wrote, pathetic.

[Update a few minutes later]

Hard thoughts on Libya:

Fairly or not, Obama almost single-handedly is rewriting the history of dissent between 2003 and 2008 — from Guantanamo, renditions, tribunals, Predators, Iraq, and preventative detention to now-optional war-making in the Middle East — and proving that prior loud protests were more partisan attacks than matters of principle. More than any other individual in recent history, the career of Obama (2002–2011) will be a historical touchstone for understanding the nature of protest in the war-on-terror years.

Second, much of this mess hinges on a number of puerile assumptions: that a bunch of televised rebels swarming a Libyan city equals the birth of democracy, as if an unknown group of dissidents could be assumed to be competent and well-intentioned; and that a monster like Qaddafi — with a four-decade pedigree of near-constant violence — could be expected to simply step down. Apparently, we were to believe that he would follow the example of Mubarak’s tail-between-the-legs flight; or that he would depart because Barack Hussein Obama ordered him to, or because there was some chance of serious violence if he did not; or that he would find exile a preferable alternative to a stormy continuance of his rule. I think most adolescents in the real world would know that the above assumptions were all fantasies.

A ruler like Qaddafi is part Milosevic, part Saddam, part Noriega, and part Kim Jong Il. They stay in power for years through killing and more killing (to paraphrase Dirty Harry, “They like it”), and they do not leave, ever, unless the U.S. military either bombs them to smithereens or physically goes into their countries and yanks them out of their palaces. Period. They most certainly do not care much for the concern of the Arab League, the U.N., or a contingent from Europe, or a grand verbal televised threat from a U.S. president — again, even if his name is Barack Hussein Obama and he is not George Bush.

I hope the country can survive another couple years of this.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!