A Cogent Reaction to the New Space Policy

Belligerent Tone Mars U.S. Administration Space Policy, Lou Friedman, Planetary Society

"The policy is officially a revision of the policy issued ten years ago by the Clinton Administration and, in content, it makes relatively minor changes from previous U.S. policy. But is not the content that has attracted so much attentionit is the tone in which it is expressed. It is belligerent and bellicose, and reminiscent of a schoolyard bully."

Editor's note: Finally, someone has taken the time to craft a response to the new space policy that is well written and doesn't rely on inaccurate arm waving (Bill Nye) or misquotes (NY Times).

What continues to puzzle me is why the White House tossed this policy out the back door the day before a 3 day weekend, that it took NASA a week before it even posted a link to the text of the policy on its website, and how its Administrator has apparently been silent about the very existence of the new policy.

This is quite a contrast from what was done in January 2004 when the Vision for Space Exploration (VSE) was rolled out with grand pomp and flourish by the White House. Yet this new policy does not even reference the VSE ! It is almost, as as Friedman notes, "as if the White House was hoping no one would notice."

Given the political issues that will beset the Bush Adminstration in a few days, I doubt if any of the issues Friedman and others find troublesome (yes I also think that the policy engages in far too much chest thumping) will ever be implemented. And the point will be moot in January 2009 anyway. What does concern me more are the overt anti-science actions being taken right now by Mike Griffin - either at the direction of - or as a result of a lack of attention from - the White House.

As such, I am in full agreement with Friedman's last paragaraph:

"What I am saying is that the way you express yourself counts. One of the mysteries in our Save Our Science battle with NASA is why Administrator Griffin has been so hostile in his comments about scientists and the science program. He could have taken all the same actions with a simple (albeit gratuitous) statement to the effect, "I share your pain." Instead, he has virulently and defensively rejected the pro-science argument. Language counts and he too is sending a message."

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on October 23, 2006 8:02 PM.

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