>We saw a highly trained team with a few helicopters and a box of bullets do what the world's most powerful military couldn't manage in a decade...But we know now, with plenty of evidence, that high technology and specialists are better for much of what our military is built to do.
If it was the sole objective of our military in the region was to kill or capture Bin Laden you point would be embarrassingly clear to everyone, but isn't it maybe a bit disingenuous considering that their have been countless other missions and objectives in the region as well?
Regarding NASA vs the military, yes, the military has a massive budget. But no, that doesn't mean we should then turn a blind eye to every other agency's pork barrel spending.
Not sure if you've looked into it, but it's not a pretty picture:http://www.spaceprojects.com/pork2000/
The Shuttle and especially the International Space Station are little more than white collar welfare with a little geopolitics thrown in to spread the pork around world-wide. Cleverly, all 50 states
supply something to those programs, so no one in Congress (Dems and Repubs equally) will kill a fat program like this by starting over with a much better solution.
NASA's tiny, tiny
FY 2008 budget of $17.318 billion represents about 0.6% of the $2.9 trillion United States federal budget, 35% of total spending on academic scientific research in the United States. The NASA budget is larger than the National Science Foundation budget. So it really funnels a disproportionate share of basic research funding away from other areas.
some additional points a found on a recent news blog:
1. The Space Shuttle cost us way more money than had we stayed with the Atlas and Titan rockets.
2. The shuttle had very limited payload capability and couldn’t lift heavy payloads into orbit. This forced the design of the space station to be smaller, cost more, and require more flights and assembly time in space.
3. Two space shuttles exploded due to design flaws. As a result of the first explosion, NASA spent more money on them. They didn’t predict the other flaw which was debris cracking the heat shield. A bad and dangerous design that cost lives, time, and money.
4. Because the shuttle was designed in the 1970s its technology was obsolete before the first one took off. This forced NASA to essentially to upgrade every shuttle, trying to retrofit the parts. Bad design. Because we were stuck with the shuttle fleet NASA had no other choice but to stay with it.
5. The shuttle’s main reason for being, i.e. reusable, was a lie. Getting the shuttle ready for re-use proved expensive and the side rocket boosters, which were originally designed to be re-used, weren’t.
6. The plane design had no advantages. Splash down in the ocean would have been more cost effective. When the shuttle landed in California it was expensive and dangerous to piggy back it on a jet and fly it back East.