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Reading the Pictures: Stripped Naked By Al-Qaeda (and I Haven't Even Been to the Airport)

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Memo to al-Qaeda: The plan actually worked! Abdulmutallab didn't even need to detonate his explosive to to literally scare the pants off the non-Muslim world with all these photos of near-naked airline passengers -- not to mention, sending whole countries into a frenzy of anxiety, media hype and, of course, unchecked spending.

Since Christmas, western media has been flooded with images such as this, with countries rushing to either purchase or put into operation these ridiculous machines. Beyond the vanity issues, which apparently can be mitigated by placing operators behind screens or in separate rooms, and using software that blurs faces and can produce displays that are not so graphic, all kinds of other problems abound. There are the added delays, the radiation from the x-rays, the limits of the machines to detect past certain levels of components or substances, the possibility of hiding bombs inside the body ... not to mention the megabucks that go out the window with each passing type of threat. (I don't know. Can you buy stock in Rapiscan?)

Maybe I should have actually withheld this post, knowing how these photo serve up a gift to the jihadists, each one setting off another burst of fear and humiliation.

Spiegel photo gallery.

For a breakdown of the latest visual spin, visit BAGnewsNotes.com.

(photos: Reuters)