I WAS HAPPY to see President Obama, in his Dec. 28 statement on the underpants bomber, take "terrorism" off the American Government Lexicon "no fly" list. He used the word several times.
Earlier in the year, the government replaced "global war on terror" with murky circumlocutions. "Overseas contingency operation" was one. "Man-caused disaster" was another. It's like we were worried a snake would be offended to be called a snake.
Then - surprise! - accepting the Nobel Peace Prize two weeks ago, Obama used the word "evil": "For make no mistake," he warned the audience, some of whom squirmed, "evil does exist in the world. . . . Negotiations cannot convince al Qaeda's leaders to lay down their arms."
"Evil" was a word many on the Left found quaint and hilarious when used by George W. Bush ("evil-doers") and Ronald Reagan ("evil empire").
Not so funny now that Obama is using it, which signals that he is growing out of his idealistic delusion that all our enemies are rational. The president's outstretched hand has been spit on by Venezuela's Chavez, Iran's Ahmadinejad and North Korea's Kim.
Obama is learning that while we can end the "global war on terror" with the stroke of a pen, that doesn't end terror's war on us. The jihadists promise unending war against us. We better believe them and act accordingly.
Our brave military is protecting us from afar. Homeland Security is supposed to protect us closer to home, in our skies, our airports and train stations.
The underpants bomber revealed huge holes in our security blanket. He was on a watch list, he paid cash, bought a one-way ticket, had no luggage, his own father had warned he was radicalized and still he wasn't stopped? He did everything but wear a name badge: "Hello. I'm Umar and I'm suicidal."
Technology might have detected the explosive that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab had sewn into the crotch of his underpants.
So-called "puffer" machines, which blow air at you to detect traces of explosives, might have worked. "Full-body imaging" might have failed because they blur out your privates, and that's exactly where the jihadist was instructed to carry the PETN.
As a result, you and I are told that if we fly internationally - not to Yemen, but to Jamaica, say - maybe we can't go to the bathroom for the last hour of the flight, we might not be allowed into the overhead bin, we can't have a pillow, blanket or book in our lap (depending on who's enforcing the rules). Do we have to sit with our hands folded in front of us like misbehaving parochial schoolers?
To really protect passengers from a terrorist carrying a bomb kit, he must be stopped before he gets on the plane.
I say "he" because it almost always is a man, between the ages of 18 and 28, and Muslim.
Those are facts.
We must profile, not solely by religion or nationality, but using each as a factor, along with gender, age and suspect countries recently visited. You and I have to submit to searches, but they can't be asked extra questions? Let's get real, people. Lives are at stake.
To prevent hard feelings, we won't call it profiling. Let's call it "enhanced courtesy." If some who fit the profile are offended because they are stopped, sor-ry.
In addition to "enhanced courtesy" and high-tech machines, we have the ultimate weapon for detecting explosives - and it's wagging its tail.
Sniffer machines cost $130,000, while it's less than $50,000 for a dog, according to the Transportation Security Administration. A dog's sense of smell is so incredibly acute that some have been trained to detect cancer cells in humans. Well-trained dog/handler teams have more than a 95-percent success rate, better than machines, according to studies cited by the New York Times.
Yes, some people are afraid of dogs. Understandably, others might not like a dog sniffing their private area. In their culture, Arabs consider dogs "unclean."
In my culture, being un-alive is even worse.
If you object to being sniffed by a dog, you are free to leave (after being searched, of course).
Well-trained dog/handlers provide better security. I'd rather risk offending someone than attend an innocent American's funeral.
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