Via Gateway Pundit, Charles Krauthammer has some choice words for the president's policy of using NASA to boost Muslim self-esteem:
Byron York reports that Bush's NASA chief thinks the new policy is a "perversion" of NASA's mission:
Michael Griffin, who headed NASA during the last four years of the Bush administration, says the space agency’s new goal to improve relations with the Islamic world and boost Muslim self-esteem is a “perversion” of NASA’s original mission to explore space. “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.
Now, Fox News reports that NASA is trying to walk back Bolden's statement:
A NASA official on Tuesday stood by Administrator Charles Bolden's statement that part of his mission is to improve relations with Muslim countries, but backed off the claim that such international diplomacy is his "foremost" responsibility.
Bolden made the remarks last month in an interview with Al Jazeera. He said President Obama told him before he took the job that he wanted him to do three things: inspire children to learn math and science, expand international relationships and "perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science ... and math and engineering."
Bob Jacobs, NASA's assistant administrator for public affairs, told Fox News on Tuesday that Bolden was speaking of priorities when it came to "outreach" and not about NASA's primary missions of "science, aeronautics and space exploration."
Still, he said, "international cooperation and collaboration is important to the future of space exploration." Jacobs said he will let the administrator's comments "speak for themselves," but said it was unfortunate those comments are now being viewed through a "partisan prism."
Then again, maybe Muslim outreach isn't such a bad idea after all. As a friend notes, "Since we gutted their budget and cancelled most of their projects, what else do they have to do?"