Should NASA Send a Man to Mecca?

Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sat down -- again -- with President Obama to discuss U.S./Israel relations. Obama told the Israeli leader that the bond between the two countries is “unbreakable.”

Nice words from Obama, but the historic bond between the U.S. and the state of Israel has been shaken to it core by the Obama administration’s new “even-handed” policy toward events in the Middle East.

The most recent insight into the mindset of the Obama presidency is comments made by NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.  Bolden was in the Middle East recently, one year after President Obama traveled to Cairo to address Muslim nations' concerns about America’s policies toward Islamic interests.

But take a look at what Bolden revealed about what Obama told Bolden about his mission as the head of America’s space exploration agency:

When I became the NASA administrator, well before I became the NASA administrator, he charged me with three things. One was he wanted me to help re-inspire children to want to get into science and math; he wanted me to expand our international relationships; and third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contributions to science and engineering.

Okay, it’s a good thing to encourage kids to seriously engage with the hard sciences, and there’s not much to quibble with regarding Obama’s charge to expand international relations with foreign space travel agencies.

But hold on. Obama now wants to make America’s space program a tool of his foreign policy aims?

Anyone who’s seen my Hicks File commentaries dealing with Obama’s presidency knows that I’ve been tough on him -- but fairly so. I’ve not bashed him without due cause, and have occasionally complimented him when he’s done something I believe was the right thing to do -- like assigning more troops to the Afghanistan war, something Stanley McChrystal, then the war’s commander, had made a case for.

But why is it NASA’s job or, by extension, America’s job to make Muslims feel good about themselves?