In July 2010, NASA chief Charles Bolden, an Obama appointee, told Al Jazeera that his boss had given him three priorities… none of them involving space exploration. The foremost priority for the agency once tasked with sending a man to the moon was “to reach out to the Muslim world… to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering.”
A small step for one man had become a great step for Muslimkind.
This week marked the 44th anniversary of the moon landing. Three months earlier, an irritated Bolden had responded to critics of a directionless NASA by saying, “NASA will not take the lead on a human lunar mission. NASA is not going to the Moon."
It was a neat reversal of Kennedy’s original speech in which he said, “We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”
In 2008, Obama's position paper said that he "endorses the goal of sending human missions to the Moon by 2020." He lied. In 2010, he announced that returning to the moon was not a worthwhile goal because it “lacked innovation”.
These days we choose harder tasks than going to the moon. It was neat seeing Neil Armstrong take a stroll in the Sea of Tranquility, but that’s child’s play compared to the truly difficult task of making Muslims feel good about their historic contribution of pilfering Algebra from the Hindus.
The Space Shuttle, that final relic of space exploration, was scrapped and the remaining shuttles were passed out as pork to politically connected museums. The replacement Constellation program was also scrapped.
As far back as 2007, Obama had called for delaying the Constellation program, which would have replaced the space shuttles, for five years in order to pay for his education program. He was the only major candidate to do so.
Once he got into office, the delay became a full-fledged cancellation.
In 2008, Obama hypocritically blasted the Bush Administration for allowing “a five-year gap after the retirement of the Space Shuttle” during which time “the United States will have to depend on foreign rockets and spacecraft to send Americans to orbit”.
Obama claimed that he wanted to retain a working space shuttle. In office however he scrapped the shuttles leaving the United States wholly dependent on Russian Soyuz rockets. Around the time that Bolden was telling America that we would not go to the moon, his skeleton of a space agency, now concerned with Muslim outreach and Global Warming, was paying the Russian space agency $424 million for six Soyuz seats.
“By buying the services of space transportation, rather than the vehicles themselves, we can continue to ensure rigorous safety standards are met,” Obama said at the John F. Kennedy Space Center.
Quoting him, Neil Armstrong wrote, “It was asserted that by buying taxi service to Low Earth Orbit rather than owning the taxis, “we can continue to ensure rigorous safety standards are met”. The logic of that statement is mystifying.”
It’s not that the money for the space program isn’t there. It’s just going to different places.
During Obama’s first year in office, economic aid to Pakistan nearly tripled to $1.3 billion. While Obama could find no room in his budget request for the Constellation space program, a year after the Bin Laden raid, which caught Pakistan harboring America’s greatest enemy, the 2012 budget requested $3 billion in aid for Pakistan.
Bush cut economic aid to Egypt. Obama increased it. Foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority shot up from $414 million to $980 million in 2009. Due to the various funding mechanisms, including through a dedicated UN agency, that amount is not even close to the full sum.
By 2011, total foreign aid spending had increased by 80% from $11.4 billion to $20 billion. In 2010, Neil Armstrong had sent in written testimony to a Congressional hearing stating that budget reductions for the Constellation program totaled $20 billion.
“With regard to President Obama's 2010 plan, I have yet to find a person in NASA, the Defense Department, the Air Force, the National Academies, industry, or academia that had any knowledge of the plan prior to its announcement,” Neil Armstrong wrote.
“How could such a chain of events happen?” the first man to walk on the moon asked. “A plan that was invisible to so many was likely contrived by a very small group in secret who persuaded the President that this was a unique opportunity to put his stamp on a new and innovative program. I believe the President was poorly advised.”
Armstrong was being kind in assuming that Obama did not know that he was trashing NASA. His 2007 Constellation proposal showed that this had been his plan all along.
A year after Constellation was finally cancelled, Obama, in partnership with two Muslim governments, proposed a $6 billion Comprehensive Partnership for a Sustainable Energy Future that would fund local Green Energy programs.
It would have cost $5 billion to keep the Space Shuttle flying. The money that Obama threw away on Green Energy for Muslim tyrannies would have covered the cost of keeping a manned space program.
It would have cost $11 billion to keep the Space Shuttle flying until 2015. And that extension would have kept the talent and resources of America’s space program together. Instead it went elsewhere, to Pakistan, to Egypt, to the United Nations and to green energy programs for the Sultan of Brunei.
“The U.S. for the first time since the beginning of the Space Age will have no way to launch anyone into space,” John Glenn wrote.
The space program is grounded, Muslim self-esteem is flying high and American self-esteem is low.
The Apollo 11 landing was a statement of confidence in ourselves. It enhanced American self-esteem. These days we wheedle and pander, we appease the self-esteem of our enemies in the vain hope that if we make them feel good about themselves, they will stop trying to kill us.
We have spent countless fortunes on police actions, peace efforts and outreach to the Muslim world. Our obsession with “fixing” the Muslim world has vastly increased our deficit and our helplessness. America has become a nation of social workers plugging more money into the bad neighborhoods of Islam and then tentatively standing back and hoping that the appeasement will pay off.
We can start believing in American greatness again or we can continue to build our foreign and domestic policy around winning the hearts and minds of the Muslim world.
We can have Muslim self-esteem or we can have the stars.
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