Skip to comments.Clinton & NASA's Fall: Is Bill Clinton responsible for the Columbia disaster?
Posted on 02/03/2003 6:04:09 AM PST by SJackson
AS WE WATCHED SPACE SHUTTLE COLUMBIAS FIREBALL falling earthward Saturday on Americas news channels, my wife Ellen said, "Well, at least we can assume that no more space shuttles will be given names that begin with the letter C. Seven astronauts died aboard the Challenger in 1986. And now seven more have died aboard the Columbia."
Scientists in their rational minds reject all such notions of jinxes, bad omens and superstition. But I remembered when, as Roving Editor for Readers Digest, I was among those who might have been selected "the first journalist in space." Scientists like other human beings have emotions, and I would today feel uneasy stepping on board a third shuttle with a name such as the U.S.S. Jimmy Carter.
"One good thing about this," I told her. "Well probably never have a shuttle or other American spaceship named after Bill or Hillary Clinton."
Nor should we. The Clinton Administration did more than gut Americas defense budgets and devastate our military as no foreign enemy has ever done, tempting terrorists to exploit our weakness.
Presidents Bill and Hillary did more than choke off Americas intelligence budget, greatly reducing our ability to detect what potential enemies were preparing to do to our World Trade Center and Pentagon. Bill and Hillary Clinton deserve a large share of responsibility for the destruction of the World Trade Center and the deaths of more than 3,000 Americans on September 11, 2001.
The Clintons also targeted NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, for massive budget cuts. They left our space program so damaged that American companies turned instead to Communist China to launch their satellites and in the process apparently transferred vast amounts of classified rocket technology know-how to Chinas ruling Red Army.
Communist China thereafter, of course, rewarded the Clintons by buying Americas Democratic Party with many brown paper bags filled with millions of dollars in cash. Today, as a result, we should regard the Democrats no longer as an "American" political party, but as the wholly-owned subsidiary of a foreign power.
But what share of blame should the Clintons bear for Saturdays tragic loss of space shuttle Columbia and its brave crew?
By 1995 the Federal Governments General Accounting Office (GAO) had begun what would be repeated warnings that Draconian Clinton cuts in NASAs shuttle workforce budget could pose risks by overworking those who maintain, repair and fly the shuttle fleet. GAO noted a serious lack of needed NASA shuttle professionals in avionics, mechanical engineering and computer systems.
"The shuttle requires an awful lot of nursing," warned Charles Vick, space analyst for the Federation of American Scientists, noting that the GAO "says the potential for failure is still staring us in the face."
In the Clintons and Vice President Al Gores eagerness to cut Americas muscle at NASA so that taxpayer money could be redistributed to buy Democratic votes, the shuttle program plummeted from 3,000 federal workers in 1995 to only 1,800 in early 2000, when NASAs hemorrhage was put on hold lest it become an election issue against Gore and the Democratic Party.
Under Clinton management, shuttle missions slowed to a trickle .except when one was needed to bribe Ohio Senator and former astronaut John Glenn with a free ride back into space as payment for Glenns obstruction of Senate investigation and impeachment proceedings against President Clinton. Defective missions to Mars and the Moon were evidence of the mess created at NASA by Clinton operatives and policies.
Since Clintons departure, the damage left in his wake is taking time to repair. NASAs accounting of taxpayer money was left in a "shambles," almost impossible to audit by either GAO or the private auditing firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers because NASA officials from the Clinton days have not provided auditors with needed documentation.
The International Space Station (ISS), where three space pioneers remain at risk as this is written, cost U.S. taxpayers at least $35 billion more than promised despite Clinton Administration reductions in its proposed size and capacity that make the current space station unable to house most of the tools to do what scientists wanted it for.
Under the Clinton Administration, the Space Station became a black hole for money, sucking it not only out of taxpayer pockets but also out of the budgets of many other NASA missions and, the GAO has continued to warn, out of the budget to keep the space shuttle operating safely. Clinton NASA budget numbers for the ISS proved to be "not credible."
Were the Clintons in significant measure responsible for the downfall of both Shuttle Columbia and, in a larger sense, NASA? Yes. The apparent Clinton agenda was to weaken all those things that made America strong.
Ironically, NASA should be downsized or, better, completely privatized. NASA, despite the dedication and heroic efforts of thousands of its workers and astronauts, is a socialist institution. The wonder is that the Clintons did not love it more.
By its very nature, NASA monopolization of space for government is a violation of the deepest pioneering, free enterprise values of America.
What sane person wants to see the Moon, Mars indeed the whole human future as we migrate into outer space undertaken on NASAs socialist model?
Russia, with its eagerness to sell private tourist tickets to the Space Station, has been more capitalistic than has America. NASA has tried to allocate space bureaucratically and politically, with precious shuttle seats given over the years to key lawmakers such as Senator Jake Garn (R.-Utah), now-Senator Bill Nelson (D.-Fla.) and Senator John Glenn (D.-Ohio). This column has discussed NASAs socialism regarding both the Space Station and the future of the Moon and Mars.
As to the courageous astronauts who lost their lives Saturday aboard Columbia could they have been victims of attack or terrorism? One of these heroes was the first Israeli in space, who saved us all by taking part in Israels preemption of the French Osirak nuclear reactor being built near Baghdad in 1981. This seems highly unlikely. In theory, however, heat-shield tiles on the underside of the Space Shuttle might have been tampered with.
And in theory, at least one foreign nation has weaponry that could have struck the Shuttle 200,000 feet above the Earth. This is Communist China, which has developed giant laser cannon designed to destroy or blind American military satellites, including the Global Positioning Satellites whose signals are now used to direct our cruise missiles to their targets. While a visible light beam from such cannon fired from, e.g., a Chinese Cosco cargo ship along the West Coast might be seen or photographed, the lasing technique can also be used to generate powerful beams of invisible energy such as microwaves. But the Peoples Republic of China has little or no motive and certainly no reason to risk being detected in this case.
The likely explanation is the one on which scientists are already focusing: that a corrupted left wing led to Columbias destruction. (Historians may someday find that the same thing destroyed Americas great, free eagle.)
As to these seven heroes, how best can we honor them? Such pioneers have always been the best among us. We should honor them by continuing and expanding space exploration, and by freeing it from government monopoly.
In the wake of Challengers explosion, we honored those seven astronauts by naming a "planet" for each of them a memorial that will last many thousands of years wherever humans retain the current global naming system. These "planets" were seven asteroids circling the sun in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. The seven heroes of Columbia deserve the same long-lasting memorial in global records and in our hearts.
President Bush seemed to say as much by quoting the Bibles Book of Isaiah: "Lift your eyes and look to the heavens. Who created all these? He who brings out the starry hosts one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of His great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing."
Mr. Ponte hosts national radio talk show Monday through Friday Noon-2 PM Eastern Time (9-11 AM Pacific Time) as well as on Saturdays 6-9 PM Eastern Time (3-6 PM Pacific Time) and on Sundays 9-11 PM Eastern Time (6-8 PM Pacific Time) on the Talk America network . Internet Audio worldwide is at TalkAmerica.com. The show's live call-in number is (888) 822-8255. A professional speaker, he is a former Roving Editor for Reader's Digest.
This is another reason why the left still gets away with their "ITS OLD NEWS" garbage.
Frankly it is not helping our cause at all IMHO!
capitalism is the only economic system on earth. the difference is in the various ways of dividing up the ownership/property.
Seriously, in the late 80's and early 90's, NASA needed something to justify its existence, and came up with the current ISS plan -- this also justified the Shuttle's existence. Both are married to each other....becuase the Shuttle is an outdated piece of machinery.
If the agency were forward thinking, it would be looking into getting to Mars or beyond, not blowing money on the ISS and the shuttle....
True true! Clinton may have done a number of things that were not right for the nation ...however blaming him for everything that goes wrong is a stretch.
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