Today on Jihad Watch Hugh Fitzgerald posted the first half of a long diatribe about the Obama administrations distortions of the NASA mission. In general Hugh is on target, but he sometimes allows his partisan feelings to take him far over the line of honor, honesty and certainly that of anything we could call journalistic credibility; doing so he dilutes the influence of this writings when he is NOT off on a personal grudge-fest.
Here is my response to this little piece of attempted character assassination:
Sometimes an issue is so nuanced that it is possible to violently agree and disagree at the same time.
Hugh, much of what you say I agree with completely, but on one or two points I have to speak up.
I spend much of my time and energy focusing on the partisanship that taints and spoils so much of our political discourse. I dislike it when those I am against use it; I like it even less when putative "allies" stoop to mudslinging and tarnishing the innocent to win a point.
In your piece you say the following…
"The first remark in question was made by Charles Bolden, a former general who for reasons that are still unclear was appointed by the Obama Administration to be the head of NASA, though his knowledge of or interest in space exploration and the relevant science is unclear."
Sir, do you have any respect at all for the notion of not bearing false witness whatsoever? I find none in this blatantly slanderous "hyperbole" you present as an argument from authority against Gen. Bolden.
Let us shine a little reality on the subject Sir:
Bolden is a 1968 graduate of the United States Naval Academy (you know the school that is so easy to get into and graduate from, a real smooth sail), he was a Marine attack pilot. Those are the guys who get down low and try to hit things with bombs and guns while every mother’s son is trying to shoot them down with everything from handguns to high-tech anti-air emplacements; this takes more balls than dog fighting some poorly trained Viet Cong in a Mig. (Just a thought Hugh, what is your technical or military background, hmm?)
Bolden is 1968 graduate of the United States Naval Academy (you know that school that is so easy to get into, and graduate from; a real slackers dream), he was a Marine attack pilot: those are the guys who get down low and try to hit things with bombs and guns while every mother’s son on the ground (and some in the air) are trying to shoot them down with everything from handguns to high-tech anti-air emplacements and missiles; this takes more balls than dog fighting some poorly trained Viet Cong in a Mig. He flew more than 100 sorties (planning, prep, flight, attack, survive, return, do it again) and has a total of over 6,000 hours flying time logged. Now I understand that poly-sci and English majors don’t always take the time to do the math but, that is the equivalent of over 3 YEARS of 8 hours a day five day fulltime work – more than a month total time. Three years of full time work, all in the cockpit, off the ground added to all the training, prep and debriefing a pilot, especially a test pilot, endures to be able to fly!
He then became a test pilot which takes a cool head and good nerves combined with intelligence and lots of common sense. Oh, and it has a lot to do with understanding ALL the factors in creating, deploying and using ultra-high tech aviation and astronautical stuff; it also include having the sense to survive other idiots brilliant ideas. This is not relevant to the job of head of NASA?
Next Bolden becomes an astronaut, (No relevance to NASA there):
“Selected by NASA in May 1980, Bolden became an astronaut in August 1981. His technical assignments included: Astronaut Office Safety Officer; Technical Assistant to the Director of Flight Crew Operations; Special Assistant to the Director of the Johnson Space Center; Astronaut Office Liaison to the Safety, Reliability and Quality Assurance Directorates of the Marshall Space Flight Center and the Kennedy Space Center; Chief of the Safety Division at JSC; Lead Astronaut for Vehicle Test and Checkout at the Kennedy Space Center; and Assistant Deputy Administrator, NASA Headquarters.”
“Bolden was the first person to ride the Launch Complex 39 slidewire baskets which enable rapid escape from a space shuttle on the launch pad. The need for a human test was determined following a launch abort on STS-41-D where controllers were afraid to order the crew to use the untested escape system.”
If he is not qualified to have an opinion on how NASA could be improved and run better, WHO THE HELL DOES; someone with similar experience not appointed by a president you hate? The ghost of Tomas Jefferson today peers over your shoulder squinting at your words in disappointment.
I do not know about you, but with his background and after watching that WHOLE interview Bolden sounds to me like an absolutely head administrator for NASA. Can you explain (in real, non-emotional) terms why you do not agree?
Or, did you just figure your loyal followers would take your word for Bolden’s background, watch a minute of the video, and then play ”she tells two friends” spreading your dislike for an Obama appointee all over the net; needless to say jeopardizing the career of someone that you have no real reason to attack and harm?
Now, go and watch the entire interview and tell me, using actual full quotes taken in context, just what he said that was so bad, other than the one sop to Obama’s perception of Muslims needing help to be seen as a source of Western enlightenment?