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The Real Importance of REAL ID: A Strategy for Saving the Secure Driver's License Initiative
The Heritage Foundation ^ | May 4, 2007 | by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D.

Posted on 05/18/2009 3:29:41 PM PDT by Sarajevo

The 9/11 Commission made the case that state driver's licenses need to become a more secure cre­dential. Congress acted--twice, passing laws to establish national standards. Now this common-sense initiative is under attack and may never be implemented. Congress and the Administration must act decisively to make the REAL ID program a reality. They need a strategy that encourages states with the capac­ity to implement REAL ID to do so quickly, demonstrating its viabil­ity and value. Once REAL ID is underway, momentum will build for other states to join; their citi­zens will not want to be left out of a program that materially contributes to their safety, their prosperity, and the protection of individual freedoms.

Why REAL ID? Identity is one of the cornerstones of a free society. Many transactions, from cashing a check to boarding a plane, are predicated on an assumption that free citizens in a free society should be free to act as they choose under the rule of law.That is why criminals and terrorists work so assiduously to obtain identity instruments or the "breeder documents" (such as birth certificates) that are used to obtain identification cards. Billions of dol­lars is lost each year due to identity theft, the fraudu­lent obtaining of government benefits, and other criminal activities. In addition, the 9/11 hijackers obtained 17 driver's licenses and 13 state-issued identifications. Some had duplicate driver's licenses.

This is unacceptable. Any costs involved in implementing reasonably secure standard identifi­cation cards will be more than recouped by the contribution that secure IDs make to facilitating travel and com­merce while combating criminal exploitation of the freedoms of a free society.

What Is Required? The 9/11 Commission concluded that "the federal government should set standards for the issuance of birth certificates and sources of identifi­cation, such as driver's licenses." Congress acted. Both the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Preven­tion Act of 2004 and the REAL ID Act of 2005 required national standards including:

  • Requiring individuals obtaining driver's licenses or personal identification cards to present docu­mentation to establish identity, including U.S. nationality or lawful immigration status, and then verifying the validity of the documents.
  • Establishing physical security features for ID cards to prevent tampering, counterfeiting, or fraud.
  • Implementing security plans for state ID card issuance and computer systems, including employee background checks.
  • Ensuring that states share information to combat fraud and other criminal activity.

What Is the Problem? In the time since Con­gress acted, concerted efforts to undermine this pro­gram have included calling for further deferral of its implementation, demanding that the federal gov­ernment spend tens of billions of dollars to upgrade state issuance facilities, trying to eliminate the requirement that citizenship or legal immigration status be validated, or even killing the whole pro­gram because of privacy concerns. None of these criticisms is warranted.

  • Further postponing implementation will only encourage states to avoid making the invest­ments needed to implement the law. Implemen­tation has already been delayed until the end of 2009. This provides more than enough time to establish regulations to implement REAL ID and for states to undertake and fund the programs needed for them to do their part.
  • Expecting the federal government to foot the bill for states that continually fail to provide their cit­izens secure IDs is wrong.
  • Eliminating the requirement for states to certify citizenship or lawful residence status under­mines the purpose of REAL ID.
  • Raising the specter of privacy concerns is disin­genuous. The law does not give government more access to personal information, nor does it create a national data base. In fact, the law adds privacy protections by requiring more security and background checks for government employ­ees who handle personal data.

What Is the Answer? Congress and the Admin­istration need a strategy to jump-start REAL ID. Specifically, they should:

  • Not expect states to use funds from homeland security grants to implement REAL ID: That is just "robbing Peter to pay Paul." Homeland secu­rity grants are meant to help build a national pre­paredness and response system. Congress should therefore appropriate specific funds for REAL ID, with the federal government paying its fair share of the costs of implementation.
  • Focus federal dollars on the states closest to implementing REAL ID. This will show that the initiative can work and demonstrate the benefits of the program.
  • Work with states that want to ensure that their driver's licenses meet federal standards under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative so that they can be used instead of passports for travel between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. This will make REAL ID even more beneficial for states whose citizens frequently drive across the border.

What Is Right for America? REAL ID is the right answer at the right time. The alternatives are stark. One is to continue to live in the "wild West," where documents are counterfeited or exploited at will, costing the economy billions, disrupting the lives of millions, and putting all at greater risk. The other is a national identity card that will cost many times the expense of implementing REAL ID and that really will be an additional intrusion into the lives of all Americans. Compared to the options of doing noth­ing or putting "Big Brother" in charge, REAL ID offers a sensible and sound program for creating the secure identity documents that are needed to help keep American safe, free, and prosperous.

James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., is Assistant Director of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies and Senior Research Fellow for National Security and Homeland Security in the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation.



TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Government; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: driverslicense; realid; surveillance; tracking
What Garbage! I'll nuke my drivers license before submitting to tracking by government agencies.

The law does not give government more access to personal information, nor does it create a national data base. In fact, the law adds privacy protections by requiring more security and background checks for government employ­ees who handle personal data.

Would any government agency tell us why Joe Wurzelbacher's privacy was intruded upon?

1 posted on 05/18/2009 3:29:41 PM PDT by Sarajevo
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To: Sarajevo

So what is your solution to the problem?


2 posted on 05/18/2009 3:30:46 PM PDT by kabar
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To: Sarajevo

I’m no libertarian, but I thought the Heritage Foundation was up for supporting the Constitution. State Driver’s Licenses are not federal. I do not like the funding and defunding mechanisms used to force compliance.

Make the Passport secure. Use it when you leave the U.S. and when you come back in. The Driver’s License is for giving evidence that the state issuing the license has certified that you are qualified to drive a motor vehicle on public highways... THE END. “Your papers please” is NOT the corner stone of a free society.


3 posted on 05/18/2009 3:34:18 PM PDT by Dr. Sivana (There is no salvation in politics.)
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To: Sarajevo

I’d rather have the problem than the supposed solution. Fake IDs will be available as always, anyhow.

What are believers of crap like RealID doing on a consevative website in the first place?


4 posted on 05/18/2009 3:35:08 PM PDT by Seruzawa (Obamalama lied, the republic died.)
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To: kabar

What? Someone stands up and says “NO, more control over citizens, more intrusiveness, more Big Brother is not the answer, and all you have is “What is your solution to this problem”?

Why not, say, Enforce the laws we have regarding the ability of a person to be in this country legally or not? Gee, that might be a good start before we start surrendering ourselves to Big Brother.


5 posted on 05/18/2009 3:37:21 PM PDT by RoadGumby (Ask me about Ducky)
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To: Sarajevo
Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies and Senior Research Fellow for National Security and Homeland Security in the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies

With all due respect to the Heritage Foundation, I have learned not to trust anything that comes from a think-tank that is THIRTY WORDS LONG.

Dang, if they ever hit the big time, it will be ...

Edward Jones Investments presents the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies and Senior Research Fellow for National Security and Homeland Security in the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies at Camden Yards
6 posted on 05/18/2009 3:39:08 PM PDT by Dr. Sivana (There is no salvation in politics.)
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To: Sarajevo

The Heritage Foundation is the most prominent CINO (conservative in name only) think tank in America, based on the Orwellian rhetoric (regulation and registration protect rather than restrict freedom) and the cavalier disregard for the Constitution evidenced in this article.


7 posted on 05/18/2009 3:44:15 PM PDT by Wallace T.
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To: Sarajevo

I have to disagree with the Heritage Foundation on this one.

This becomes an internal passport. Eventually it will be a crime not to carry it on you and surrender it whenever asked by any government official. It will also easily be hacked.

ID does not exist to make government’s life any easier, it is for people to show who they are. The states are sovereign, the states via their people and their representatives ought to be able to determine what ID is required for their citizens. It’s a states rights issue. If the feds want to be in charge of creating a ‘federal ID’ so that citizens of the states will get one if they need to have one to go on planes, or into federal buildings, that’s a separate thing. Let the feds make their own cards and if people think they need one, let them get one. But the feds shouldn’t hijack state IDs for their own dirty ideas.


8 posted on 05/18/2009 3:44:44 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man (I'd like to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)
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To: Secret Agent Man

Agreed. REAL ID creates more problem than it solves.

Bruce Schneier has demonstrated the foolishness of relying on the “perfect” identification.

There is none and the marketplace has already moved miles ahead of government on the issue of identity theft. Per usual.


9 posted on 05/18/2009 3:48:16 PM PDT by 1010RD (First Do No Harm)
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To: kabar
Throw out the foreigners.

Except those few who work in embassies or are naturalized citizens.

Build the wall on the southern border.

Waterboard Ted Kennedy (in memory of Mary Jo) to find out how much the Kremlin paid him. (You know, how he contacted the Kremlin to see how he could defeat Ronald Reagan's missiles in Europe). Then raze the Kennedy compound and sow it with salt. And deport Schwarzenegger.

Next stop: Lindsay Grahamnesty, Juan McCain, and the other RINOs.

You act like this is difficult or something.

Cheers!

10 posted on 05/18/2009 3:49:24 PM PDT by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: RoadGumby
Why not, say, Enforce the laws we have regarding the ability of a person to be in this country legally or not? Gee, that might be a good start before we start surrendering ourselves to Big Brother.

That's the whole point of trying to have secure IDs so we can identify who is here illegally, including terrorists. When someone boards a plane or applies for a job, we need to verify who they are. If they are here illegally, then deport them.

I strongly favor an attrition thru enforcement approach to illegal aliens. But you do need to have some reliable form of ID before you separate the wheat from the chaff.

11 posted on 05/18/2009 3:49:40 PM PDT by kabar
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To: Secret Agent Man
Did you read the article? Do you understand what REAL ID is? Here is the last paragraph:

What Is Right for America? REAL ID is the right answer at the right time. The alternatives are stark. One is to continue to live in the "wild West," where documents are counterfeited or exploited at will, costing the economy billions, disrupting the lives of millions, and putting all at greater risk. The other is a national identity card that will cost many times the expense of implementing REAL ID and that really will be an additional intrusion into the lives of all Americans. Compared to the options of doing noth­ing or putting "Big Brother" in charge, REAL ID offers a sensible and sound program for creating the secure identity documents that are needed to help keep American safe, free, and prosperous.

The author is against a national ID.

12 posted on 05/18/2009 3:54:03 PM PDT by kabar
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To: Wallace T.

Thanx! I’ll need to remember that if I ever find myself drawn to the web page again.


13 posted on 05/18/2009 3:56:09 PM PDT by Sarajevo (You jealous because the voices only talk to me.)
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To: grey_whiskers
Throw out the foreigners.

The first thing you need to do is to identify who is the "foreigner." [read illegal alien] I assume you mean those living permanently here and not the 50.5 million foreign visitors who enter annually. How do you propose we identify them?

Build the wall on the southern border.

30% to 40% of the 12 to 30 million illegal aliens who are here came legally through tourist visas, student visas, and other non-immigrant work visas. The wall will help but we need to fully implement the US VISIT program that was passed in 1996 to track and deport visa overstays.

The devil is always in the details.

14 posted on 05/18/2009 4:01:14 PM PDT by kabar
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To: kabar

Some people around here read the word “ID” and then react with the emotions of a liberal.

Technology has made it easier to counterfeit money, so they changed the money to make it more difficult.

Technology has made it easier to counterfeit identifications, but nobody has done anything to make them more secure.

You cannot throw out the “foreigners” without a means of identifying them. The current means do not work.


15 posted on 05/18/2009 4:17:20 PM PDT by Erik Latranyi (Too many conservatives urge retreat when the war of politics doesn't go their way.)
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To: Secret Agent Man

“This becomes an internal passport. Eventually it will be a crime not to carry it on you and surrender it whenever asked by any government official.”

Not carrying ID has been treated as a crime for quite some time. I didn’t get a drivers license until my mid twenties. I just walked everyhere I wanted to go. I didn’t drink and had no use for an ID. In the few chance encounters I had with law enforcement types, I was definitely treated like a criminal. This was 30 years ago.

They all but said: “Where are your papers ?”


16 posted on 05/18/2009 4:19:48 PM PDT by UnChained
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To: Erik Latranyi
You get it. I am part of a grassroots immigration group that lobbies on the Hill and the state house. We have been trying to get the E-Verify program made permanent and mandatory to ensure that American jobs go to American workers. Real ID is another needed program so we can weed out the illegals and terrorists.

Unfortunately, much of the opposition to these programs come from the US Chamber of Commerce and misguided libertarians who don't even understand what is contained in the Real ID act. We have illegals voting and getting driver's licenses. Four states still issue illegals driver's licenses, which allows them to move freely around the country, open bank accounts, etc.

17 posted on 05/18/2009 4:47:18 PM PDT by kabar
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To: kabar

Buddy, Real ID is national ID. If you have not figured that out by what has been written about Real ID the last seven years, I don’t know what else to tell you.


18 posted on 05/18/2009 5:09:40 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man (I'd like to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)
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To: UnChained

The difference is it currently is NOT a crime. They could not turn you into a criminal for NOT having it.

That is an enormous difference. Because then you have a record as a criminal. And you can be held as such. People now have 24 hours to produce whatever their ID is.

Don’t get me wrong it is most often the smart thing to do, to carry your ID. But there are cases where people forget it, or don’t want to carry it and it is not a criminal offense.

This shifts the government from a ‘working for us’ to a ‘working against us’ mentality, that WE somehow cannot travel freely without having a government ID. It’s about control, and the control shifts the wrong way (to the government) and away from us.


19 posted on 05/18/2009 5:14:48 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man (I'd like to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)
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To: Sarajevo
The 9/11 Commission concluded that "the federal government should set standards for the issuance of birth certificates and sources of identifi­cation, such as driver's licenses."

Both of which are completely unconstitutional even considering the Commerce Clause. This one size fits all/lowest common denominator strategy really marks the end of this republic. Instead of having multiple systems, where some are better than others, we will forever have the worse possible system, which is always what we get from the most incompetent morons on the planet, the Federal Bureacracy. I am sure the terrorists are laughing their ass off about this new system.

Within twenty years the Feds are just going to seize the state governments at gun point and be done with it altogether and then we can just settle in for a thousand years of mediocrity and tyranny.
20 posted on 05/18/2009 6:19:16 PM PDT by microgood
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To: Secret Agent Man
Buddy, you don't know what you are talking about.

REAL ID: Myths & Facts

Buddy, Real ID is national ID.

Fact: REAL ID simply sets minimum standards so that the public can have confidence in the security and integrity of driver’s licenses and identification cards issued by all participating states and jurisdictions.

--States and jurisdictions will maintain their ability to design and issue their own unique driver’s licenses and identification cards. Each state and jurisdiction will continue to have flexibility with regard to the design and security features used on the card. Where REAL ID details the minimum data elements that must be included on the face of the card, most states and jurisdictions already include all or almost all of these data elements on their cards.

--REAL ID identification documents will not be the only form of documentation accepted by the federal government or any other entity. You can still present another form of acceptable identification such as a U.S. passport, military ID, or government identification badge. If you do not have another form of acceptable documentation, however, you may experience delays at the airport due to the requirement for additional security screening.

21 posted on 05/18/2009 7:59:09 PM PDT by kabar
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To: kabar

Friend,

it is de facto national ID. The Feds are forcing a standard on all states so that the FEDs have all the data they want on an ID. This is a states rights and individual rights issue. They will make life miserable for citizens (who are citizens of the sovereign states, we are not federal citizens) whose states don’t kowtow to the demands. It is none of the federal government’s business to compel states to issue IDs that contain what the federal govt wants. These are official state ids. It has already been proven people will be able to change data on a real ID card. They have already shown they cna do this with biometric US passports that the feds claimed were hacker-proof encrypted. These things will also be copied. It is a total joke. It is unbridled federalism.

I don’t have time to argue with you. I suggest you spend time reading things about Real ID other than this one recent article. You are late to the game, and the guy who wrote this, has it wrong.


22 posted on 05/18/2009 8:08:07 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man (I'd like to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)
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To: Secret Agent Man
I don’t have time to argue with you. I suggest you spend time reading things about Real ID other than this one recent article. You are late to the game, and the guy who wrote this, has it wrong.

I am very familiar with the Real ID act. The Reps in the House, namely Jim Sensenbrenner, fought a tough fight to get it passed. The Dems fought against it because they want their buddies in ACORN to continue with their voter fraud and they want to protect the "undocumented workers." And the terrorists are given free reign. The 20 9/11 hijackers had 65 state driver's licenses between them.

The link I provided was from DHS. Oh, by the way, your good pal, Janet Napolitano is trying to get it repealed. Homeland Security chief seeks to repeal Real ID Act

Obama and his toadies are dismanteling our security safeguards, including Real ID. For those of us who work on the immigration issue lobbying on the Hill, the real reason they want to kill Real ID is because Obama doesn't want to hassle the illegal aliens who are running around without driver's licenses or have used fraudulent documents to get them. And there are four states that issue drivers licenses to illegals.

I gather you are a Libertarian who can care less about our borders or voting fraud. I suggest you read the actual legislation. Also, what is your solution to sorting out the 12 to 30 million illegals living amongst us and the tens of thousands of potential terrorists who are entering our country. What documents do you propose that we use to demonstrate that someone is here legally? What ID document do you use to board an aircraft? Do you support E-Verify?

23 posted on 05/18/2009 8:27:19 PM PDT by kabar
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To: kabar
It's amazing that this country had prolonged conflicts with the Communist bloc for over 40 years, and a four year war with Germany and Japan for four years, yet we managed to triumph in these conflicts without the imposition of national IDs. These powers were all far more formidable than are the Muslim terrorists, and also had a considerable body of domestic sympathizers, such as German-American Bund and the Christian Front during World War II and the Communist Party and its fellow travelers during the Cold War. Yet, unless you were a young man of military age during World War II or a Communist or a sympathizer during the 1950s, your freedoms were not restricted. As for immigration, this country did an effective job in controlling that problem from 1920 to 1965, without resorting to mandatory identification. The Eisenhower administration did an effective job in rounding up and deporting illegals in the Southwest without imposing controls on the general population.

The idea of Federal involvement in these matters is also unsupported by the Constitution, unless you can find it in the penumbras and emanations of which liberals seem so fond.

24 posted on 05/19/2009 4:39:36 AM PDT by Wallace T.
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To: Wallace T.
It's amazing that this country had prolonged conflicts with the Communist bloc for over 40 years, and a four year war with Germany and Japan for four years, yet we managed to triumph in these conflicts without the imposition of national IDs.

The America of the 1940s is far different than the one we have now. The Immigration Act of 1965 changed it forever. There are now over 40 million foreign born residents of the US. The total population of the US in 1940 was 132 million.

The U.S. adds one international migrant (net) every 36 seconds. Immigrants account for one in 8 U.S. residents, the highest level in more than 80 years. In 1970 it was one in 21; in 1980 it was one in 16; and in 1990 it was one in 13. In a decade, it will be one in 7, the highest it has been in our history. And by 2050, one in 5 residents of the U.S. will be foreign-born. Currently, 1.6 million legal and illegal immigrants settle in the country each year; 350,000 immigrants leave each year, resulting in net immigration of 1.25 million. Since 1970, the U.S. population has increased from 203 million to 306 million, i.e., over 100 million. In the next 40 years, the population will increase by 135 million. Three-quarters of the increase in our population since 1970 and the projected increase will be the result of immigration. The U.S., the world’s third most populous nation, has the highest annual rate of population growth of any developed country in the world, i.e., 0.975% (2009 estimate), principally due to immigration.

No one is advocating an National ID. Certainly not the author of this piece from the Heritage Foundation. We do need ways to identify who is here legally and illegally. An estimated 500,000 illegals enter this country annually.

These powers were all far more formidable than are the Muslim terrorists, and also had a considerable body of domestic sympathizers, such as German-American Bund and the Christian Front during World War II and the Communist Party and its fellow travelers during the Cold War. Yet, unless you were a young man of military age during World War II or a Communist or a sympathizer during the 1950s, your freedoms were not restricted.

We did round up Japanese, Italians, and Germans and put them in camps during WWII. Today, we are fighting an enemy that is a non-state actor. They operate in countries throughout the world, including in the US. More people were killed on 9/11 than at Pearl Harbor. WMD is now more readily available to the terrorists, which makes them much more dangerous in terms of civilian casualties. You really can't compare the two. Different threats, different times.

The Eisenhower administration did an effective job in rounding up and deporting illegals in the Southwest without imposing controls on the general population.

We no longer have the political will to conduct an Operation Wetback and the numbers are much greater today. Obama and the last GOP Presidential candidate both wanted to legalize the status of those who entered illegally, i.e., amnesty. It remains to be seen if it happens, but if it does, this country is finished with the stroke of a pen. Moreover, even if amnesty doesn't happen, we are still being destroyed by the 1.2 million LEGAL immigrants who enter this country. We can't assimilate those numbers, especially since most of them are poor and uneducated. Milton Friedman said, “You cannot simultaneously have free immigration and a welfare state.” The idea of Federal involvement in these matters is also unsupported by the Constitution, unless you can find it in the penumbras and emanations of which liberals seem so fond.

The Federal Government is responsibile for our national security. We have 12 to perhaps 30 million illegal aliens running around this country, about 30% top 40% are visa overstays, i.e., they entered legally. How do you propose we deport them without the federal, state, and local governments cooperating with one another? Do you believe that states and cities should be allowed to establish sanctuaries for illegals? What is your opinion on 287 [g] authority and E-Verify?

There has been a lot of knee-jerk response to Real ID, which is not a national ID card and doesn't invade personal privacy. The federal government is dictating such things as airport security. Do you think that should be allowed up to the states?

Are you against metal detactors and x-ray machines prior to boarding an aircraft. We didn't have that in the 1940s or 1950s so why are they needed now?

25 posted on 05/19/2009 6:06:20 AM PDT by kabar
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To: Wallace T.
"It's amazing that this country...managed to triumph in these conflicts without the imposition of national IDs."

Very true and yet, just a symptom of the much greater problem of our society's abandonment of its moral underpinnings and cultural virtues.

I'm a lover of technology, but while it has increased our capabilities exponentially, it remains a strictly amoral proposition: it can be used for tremendous good or evil. The decline in personal, professional and public ethics will almost inevitably lead to its use for control of the masses rather than to expand individual liberty. A national ID is simply one of the first steps in this direction.

26 posted on 05/19/2009 6:17:30 AM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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