- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 13, 2010

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

After three years of clueless candidate and then President Obama telling us that we are at war with “alleged isolated extremists,” it is reassuring that he belatedly recognizes, “We are at war against al Qaeda.” (“Buck stops with me,” Obama says,” Friday, Page 1).

Hopefully, he and the rest of his Keystone Kops in charge of our homeland security will go beyond looking for bombs hidden in grandma’s shoes, toiletries and underwear and finally will begin also looking for the bombers.

Focusing especially on purchasers of one-way tickets, those making the purchases with cash, those traveling with little or no baggage, those whose demeanor or behavior raises suspicions, known and suspected al Qaeda associates, citizens and residents of Arab and Muslim nations, and even Muslims generally by selectively subjecting them to Israeli-style interviews would be more effective and less burdensome for grandma and the rest of us.

Is this profiling? Of course it is.

However, by finally admitting that our terrorist enemies are associated in one way or another with al Qaeda, the president himself has, perhaps unwittingly, engaged in profiling. It’s about time.

We’ll see if this approach is one of the systematic changes in our homeland security procedures that the president promises to implement or if it will disappear, as so many other promises have done, into the depths of the abyss that so often separates his rhetoric from his actions.

BARRY C. STEEL

Phoenix, Md.

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