Why doesn’t the press or the blogosphere pick up on these sorts of things? (They report it, but forget it instantly.) The virtual strip search that people have been talking about would detect an unusual dense device, but can’t tell an explosive from a wallet. (I suppose if the underwear bomber had expected a full-body scan, he could have hidden the explosives in Depends.)
For that matter, we seem to have forgotten that you can do a lot more damage with box cutters than a bomb. What we need is not more security: we need more perspective. Terrorism, at its worst, kills fewer people than car accidents, murder, high blood pressure, lightning, or just about anything else that actually kills people every year.
I’m in agreement with Bruce Schneier on this one: the airport security worked, in that it forced the terrorists to use small, hard-to-detonate bombs– thereby making it likely that passengers will notice and defuse them. Without airport security, it would have been a standard-issue, tried-and-true suicide bomber vest. Which is to say, airport security stops the low-budget and the me-too attacks but will never be able to stop a cunning, highly organized attacker.