I have some thoughts on the NASA administrator’s recent comments over at PJM this morning.
[Update a while later]
I see that (as is usually the case) most of the commenters over there can’t be bothered to read or comprehend what I wrote, but instead just take it as an opportunity to vent on a public bulletin board.
[Update a while later]
More thoughts from Victor Davis Hanson. Bottom line:
We all know that Bolden means well and wishes to get his agency on board with President Obama’s larger plan to create a kinder and gentler image to the Muslim world in order to lessen world tension and reduce terrorist attacks against the U.S. Unfortunately, world tensions are rising, and 2009 saw the most foiled terrorist attempts against the U.S. mainland since 2001, so one can wonder about the efficacy of these approaches, or even worry that they are having the opposite effect of what they intend. But the real problem with using NASA as an arm of the State Department’s current politically correct agenda is that it is supposed to have other things to do.
What’s really stupid is that it is doing other things, and good ones, but idiocy like this wipes it off the media map.
[Update mid morning]
Mike Griffin weighs in:
“NASA was chartered by the 1958 Space Act to develop the arts and sciences of flight in the atmosphere and in space and to go where those technologies will allow us to go,” Griffin said in an interview Tuesday. “That’s what NASA does for the country. It is a perversion of NASA’s purpose to conduct activities in order to make the Muslim world feel good about its contributions to science and mathematics.”
Griffin calls NASA’s new mission, outlined by space agency administrator Charles Bolden in an interview with the al-Jazeera news agency, “very bad policy for NASA.” As for NASA’s core mission of space exploration, Griffin points out that it has been reaffirmed many times over the years, most recently in 2005, when a Republican Congress passed authorizing legislation, and in 2008, when a Democratic Congress did the same thing.
Too bad that you didn’t take NASA’s core mission seriously, Mike. Instead, you completely ignored the recommendations of the Aldridge Commission and the CE&I contractors, and decided to make NASA’s core mission on-the-job training for rocket designers at Marshall, and building an unnecessary new rocket that didn’t even get the crew all the way to earth orbit without help from the crew module.
“NASA has been for 50 years above politics, and for 50 years, NASA has been focused by one president or another on space exploration,” Griffin says. “Some presidents have championed it more strongly than others, and it is regrettable that none have championed it as strongly as President Kennedy.
Oh, please. NASA has been above politics for fifty years? NASA has been ninety percent politics since its inception. It’s a friggin’ government agency. And Kennedy didn’t champion space exploration — he championed beating the Soviets to the moon in a battle in the Cold War. He told his own administrator that he didn’t care about space.
For all his unhappiness with the new policy, Griffin says blame for the situation does not belong with NASA administrator Charles Bolden, whom Griffin calls “one of the best human beings you will find.” “When I see reports in the media excoriating Charlie for this position, that blame is misplaced,” Griffin says. “It belongs with the administration. That is where policy for NASA is set. The NASA administrator does not set policy for NASA, the administrator carries it out.”
Really? Well, gee, Mike, maybe if you’d carried out the Bush policy, instead of perverting it yourself, the agency wouldn’t be in such a mess now.