For 20 years now, NASA has gone through one iteration after another of supposed "dramatic" self-reevaluations, and always come to the same conclusion: All existing spending programs having to do with the astronaut corps are sacrosanct, regardless of whether they serve any purpose. With public-good space needs unmet and the enunciation of a moon-base plan that will waste colossal sums of public money, agency director Michael Griffin has simply raised NASA's middle finger to the taxpayer.
Substitute President Bush and the political establishment's position on the war in Iraq for NASA. Bad ideas and endevours often take on an enormous inertia that makes them as immovable as a mountain. It's the syndrome of the gambler who keeps losing but keeps squandering his dwindling resources, hoping for one lucky strike. Think of WWI.