The Obama administration has announced that citizens of 14 selected countries—as well as travelers whose itineraries have taken them through any of these countries—will be subjected to enhanced scrutiny before they board planes to the United States, including full-body pat-downs. The countries comprise four “state sponsors of terrorism” (Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and Syria) and 10 “countries of interest,” a euphemism for terrorist breeding grounds. These last are Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, and Yemen.
If this new security policy is an indication—however embryonic—that the president is beginning to get serious about tackling Islamist terrorism, then millions of Americans will permit themselves a glimmer of gratitude. Let’s call it the “Underwear Dividend,” after Farouk Omar Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian who was apprehended in mid-air on Christmas Day with a bomb secreted in his nether parts.