Sunday, March 25, 2007

Get real on Maryland IDs

I am appalled reading that politicians in Annapolis oppose bringing Maryland into compliance with the federal Real ID Act (“Democrats hit for trying to kill alien license bill,” Metro, Thursday). That act was adopted in response to the events of September 11, 2001, and requires drivers to prove they legally live in the United States before being granted a license.

Opponents claim that the plan will cost Maryland too much, but others note that the state already owns much of the equipment needed to accommodate the change. Be realistic. In renewing my license, how much more could it possibly cost if I also have to produce a birth certificate? The fact is, this isn’t about the money.

As set forth in the article, “Advocates for illegal aliens said the state is facing too large a fiscal crisis to pass the proposal this year.” CASA of Maryland calls Real ID “too expensive, too onerous and too complicated.” This is about votes, not the cost to the rights of Americans.

If Maryland does not comply with the Real ID Act, it risks making our licenses unacceptable as identification to enter federal buildings or to travel on airplanes. Are we to be denied medical care for lack of access to the National Institutes of Health, too? Will we be denied our Social Security benefits by reason of not having access to that agency? Will we no longer be able to fly to visit family and friends in other parts of this country? Can I no longer take my grandchildren to the Smithsonian or the Washington Monument?

Answer me Annapolis, answer me.



Captain America soldiers on

Recently, Marvel Comics saw fit to kill a fictional American hero that meant a great deal to tens of millions of America’s sons and daughters since his creation during World War II in 1941(“Comic tragedy,” Culture et cetera, Tuesday). Captain America, also known as the “Sentinel of Freedom,” exuded strength and honor and stood for truth, justice and liberty. Who is Marvel to say that Captain America is now dead, having been killed by a sniper’s bullet?

In actuality, Captain America is alive and well and is continuing to serve our republic and what we stand for. He fights intolerance, prejudice and extremism at home and abroad. He protects America’s airports and economy and saves lives threatened by the fury of hurricanes and tsunamis. He fights corruption and protects civil liberties. He is alive in all of America’s warriors who have served the nation’s repeated call faithfully. He continues to believe in America’s interests and values regardless of partisan politics and hidden agendas. He will not hang up his shield and compromise his values and his integrity for purposes contrary to the interests of our nation.

Captain America is not dead, nor will he die so long as there are those who would stand up for America, protecting her and freedom across the world. Shame on those who think that he or what he stands for is dead. The ideals for which he was created and has lived and fought for transcend death. America’s captains are very much alive and will continue his fight. Captain America is a soldier and “Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.”


Captain, U.S. Army

Ft. Benning, Ga.


Bush out of step on Iraq

With the backing of distinguished war veterans like Democratic Reps. John P. Murtha and Patrick J. Murphy, Congress has balanced its responsibilities to our soldiers and the will of the American people in voting for continued funding of the Iraq war, but also to end our occupation of the country by September 2008 (“War-limiting bill passes in the House,” Page 1, Saturday). Predictably, the president and his minions are not satisfied, insisting on an open-ended conflict that will devour thousands more of our fine soldiers and hundreds of billions of dollars more in borrowed money.

The administration’s strategy is clear: to disparage opponents of the war as appeasers of terrorists and as being disingenuous. An outrageous and insulting accusation angrily made by the president in reaction to the vote is that the Democrats have an ulterior motive for wanting to end the war: to garner money for new spending.

It is regrettable that a deadline for withdrawal had to be set, but this occurred only after giving the president countless chances to develop an exit strategy and determining that he has no intention of departing from Iraq before the end of his term. It is instructive to note that we have now been in Iraq for a period of time longer than our involvement in World War II. Leaving in September 2008 would place our troops there for almost six years, hardly an involvement that may legitimately be tarred as a “cut and run” strategy.

Most Americans agree wholeheartedly with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in her characterization of the war as a “grotesque mistake” and with Mr. Murphy in his statement that it is not appropriate for us to indefinitely attempt to stand between opposing factions in a civil war in a nation whose government has consistently failed to take responsibility for its security.

Congress was extremely generous with the president, so generous that many anti-war Democrats did not vote for the bill, instead insisting that we begin to withdraw from Iraq without delay. It will now become even more clear to the American people that George W. Bush does not stand with us or the troops. He is completely out of step with the nation.


Upper Saint Clair, Pa.

A fix for D.C. voting

The solution to the District of Columbia’s voting-rights conundrum is staring everybody in the face (“D.C. voting rights bid stalls in House,” Friday, Page 1). District license plates boldly state, “Taxation Without Representation.” So, exempt the residents of the District from federal taxation. Just as Guam, American Samoa, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico are exempted.

With no taxation, there is no need for representation. Then change the slogan on the plates to something more appropriate like “Bureaucratic Hell.”



Flying imams: Sue ‘em

Rather than simply defending a lawsuit against passengers on the US Airways flight sued by six imams whose actions delayed the flight, the passengers should sue the imams for both malicious prosecution and false imprisonment — not only because such suits would be valid, but also because turnabout is fair play and a good offense is the best defense (“Hill bill protects flying public,” Saturday, Page 1).

Passengers who did nothing more than report what they regarded as suspicious behavior are not liable if the airline or others in control took actions against the imams based upon that information. So, any attempt to drag them into the lawsuit could make the imams themselves liable for malicious prosecution, and perhaps even abuse of process.

Also, if discovery shows that the imams deliberately engaged in actions — such as not taking assigned seats, asking for seat-belt extensions they didn’t need, loudly criticizing the war in Iraq and President Bush and shouting about al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden — designed to provoke a response from the airline, which they knew would significantly delay the departure and keep the passengers stuck on the ground for an extended period, they may also be sued in a class action for false imprisonment. Any plaintiffs?


Professor of Public Interest Law

George Washington University Law School


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