Friday, January 11, 2008

The Real ID Card

Have you heard of the Real ID card proposed in the Real ID Act? The act was actually passed in 2005 and is now receiving lots of attention. What I don't understand is why anyone would oppose a law that would require all Americans to have a national ID card. As the Secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff put it, the only people that will be disappointed by this new ID card will be terrorists, illegal immigrants, and con-men.

There are a few people not in agreement with this plan that I would like to point out. First is Barry Steinhardt, an ACLU attorney who said,

What the Department of Homeland Security has done is to kick the can down the road to the next administration, and probably not just to the next administration, but conceivably two to three administrations from now.

In my opinion it is Mr. Steinhardt that should be kicked - right out of the country, which he obviously hates. Why is it so difficult to understand that after 9/11 we live in a different world and it will never - never the the way it was before. Maybe we were living in a fantasy of false security before 9/11, but now we have been awakened and we may never sleep soundly again. Is the requirement of a national ID card such a burden to pay to be a little bit more secure? Who exactly is it that Mr. Steinhardt is fighting for in his opposition to the Real ID Act?

Next is Senator Patrick Leahy, an elected public servant. He believes the Real ID Act should be repealed in favor of a more flexible and mutually beneficial approach. Mutually beneficial to who? Illegal aliens? How can a US Senator not be in favor of a law that requires all US citizens to be able to identify themselves? Could it be because he wants illegal aliens to be able to vote and keep the social program and income redistribution masters (the Democrats) in power?

Another attorney for the ACLU, Tim Sparapani, said that since the states would be required to set up their own security policies, that everyone would be at risk. He says that one weak State would put everyone's private information in jeapordy of being stolen. Hey Timmy, the increased security of the Real ID would far out weigh your weak data privacy argument.

On the topic of cost, the estimates range from a high of $23 billion to a low of $3.9 billion. Really, $3.9 billion? Okay, there are roughly 300 million Americans, so a database that would create and maintain say double that number, 600 million, is just not that hard of a nut to crack. I realize that there would be several thousand users of this system and that each state would need access in all of the drivers license offices. Also, there would be several government agencies that would need access for analysis and spying. I think that I could ask the government for half of the $3.9 billion, start a company, supply the Real ID solution, and that a tinnie-weenie profit for myself.

The bottom line is that we keep finding all these lame reasons for not protecting our country. If we don't secure our nation, there will soon be nothing left to secure.

##That's my opinion##


Beth said...

Truly, why are basic ideas that make a whole lot of sense dismissed? Do people think doing nothing is the answer?

Anonymous said...

And, as we all know, there is no such thing as counterfeit money. So this ID will never be faked either. Money WELL spent :)

Beth said...

So you want to prove my point Anonymous and just do nothing? Could you explain the value in doing nothing?

Using your argument then should we not use money anymore since it can be counterfeited?

Anonymous said...

Beth - good job of missing the point. Are we insisting on improving money security by forcing everyone to carry and use a national ID card every time we use money? That would be a good analogy. Remember that study done on one airport security measure that showed it was totally worthless, and a Homeland Security spokesperson said security was too important to worry about whether the measure works or not.
How about starting with some measures that Israel uses. Proven to work, don't require new bureaucracies and more taxes.

Beth said...

Anon- I am open to new ideas, I was just getting the impression that you felt we shouldn't consider doing anything that could help with making our country more secure.

Anonymous said...

Until the government gets serious about national security anything they offer is either a placebo, or a way for bureaucracies to get things on their "wish list". Before 9/11 the hijackers were reported to the feds - and nothing was done. Currently, no more than 2 or 3 people of any ethnic/national group can be checked at airports - to do otherwise is not politically correct and may offend. So, after 3 young men from the Middle East go through, the officials will now concentrate on Lutheran grandmothers of Scandinavian background:)

First, do no harm. Time, money, and effort spent chasing useless solutions will increase our exposure to threats by delaying effective programs. That's the category this national id fits into. The 9/11 hijackers already had multiple ids provided to them. Adding another one won't stop them.

Second, avoid the "we've got to do something/anything NOW" mentality. That's what motivates lynch mobs.

Look to countries that have been combating terrorists for longer than we've been aware of them. That's why I mention Israel. There are other countries, but those governments are such that they can use measures we won't use.

If you grow up in snake country, you are taught what to look for, how to avoid them, and what to do if you get bit because you weren't paying attention. I think something similar would work - as long as we don't worry too much about hurting the feelings of terrorists.

Beth said...

Amen to your last statement!

Makes sense, not to recreate the wheel so to speak in dealing with security. But we do have entities such as the ACLU that will fight the sort of stuff that can help.