On the first page of my US passport, for instance, it says:
"The Secretary of State of the United States of America hereby requests all whom it may concern to permit the citizen/national of the United States named herein to pass without delay or hindrance and in case of need to give all lawful aid and protection."
Sounds nice enough, right? It sure is great to know the government has our back to make sure we're safe and sound.
What a total farce. The passport isn't about the State Department 'protecting' us anymore than Homeland Security fondling 4-year old girls at the airport. It's about control.
Why else would they implant RFID chips inside passports, or require biometric data like fingerprints and iris scans? These are all things that have significant costs... but absolutely zero benefit to taxpayers.
What's more, these days you can't even leave most countries unless you have a passport... ergo you're forced to APPLY to the government and give them a host of personal and biometric data just to be able to leave the country when you want. Land of the free?
Oh, and speaking of free, it ain't. I've had fresh pages inserted into my passports so many times, I keep watchful eye on the ever-increasing cost of doing so. Just over 2-years ago, it cost me nothing at the consulate in Panama. Last year, around $40. Today in Cape Town? $82.
Needless to say, this is pretty significant price inflation from a government that pretends inflation doesn't exist. And I'm pretty sure everyone on the planet can think of better ways to spend three hours and 82 bucks than on furthering a pointless bureaucracy.