Libs In Space!

Space policy made a rare appearance in the news pages on Tuesday, and leave it to the Times to put an unnecessarily partisan anti-Bush spin on this relatively nonpartisan issue.

Reporters William Broad and Kenneth Chang made Bush's "unilateral" space policy sound like a parallel to the Times' criticism of Bush's "unilateral" rush to war in Iraq (a liberal myth) in "Obama Reverses Bush's Space Policy."

The Obama administration on Monday unveiled a space policy that renounces the unilateral stance of the Bush administration and instead emphasizes international cooperation, including the possibility of an arms control treaty that would limit the development of space weapons.

In recent years, both China and the United States have destroyed satellites in orbit, raising fears about the start of a costly arms race that might ultimately hurt the United States because it dominates the military use of space. China smashed a satellite in January 2007, and the United States did so in February 2008.

The new space policy explicitly says that Washington will "consider proposals and concepts for arms control measures if they are equitable, effectively verifiable and enhance the national security of the United States and its allies."

A brief review of coverage singles out the Times as the only news outlet with such a starkly partisan take on the changes.

In secret, the Bush administration engaged in research that critics said could produce a powerful ground-based laser, among other potential weapons meant to shatter enemy satellites in orbit.

By contrast, the Obama policy underlines the need for international cooperation. "It is the shared interest of all nations to act responsibly in space to help prevent mishaps, misperceptions and mistrust," the new policy says in its opening lines. "Space operations should be conducted in ways that emphasize openness and transparency."

Peter Marquez, director of space policy at the White House National Security Council, told reporters on Monday that the policy was reverting to a less confrontational approach that the United States had championed in the past.

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