Underwear shopping in Yemen

Underwear shopping in Yemen (May 10, 2012)

Those sultans of style at al-Qaidahave released their line of lingerie for spring, and it's a blast. Tucked away in their secret atelier in Yemen, the fanatics of fashion have come up with an updated version of the exploding underwear that caused such a stir on Christmas Day 2009 when a hapless African lad tried to blow up an airliner over Detroit and only managed to severely singe his private parts.

Al-Qaidabomb maker Ibrahim Hassan Asiri is reputed to be the designer of the new nasty knickers. This week, the CIA, working withSaudi Arabia's spy service, gave the world a first look at Mr. Asiri's handiwork -- a pair of extra large briefs packed with a small bomb without metallic parts that might set off alarms while passing through airport security.

Mr. Asiri and his al-Qaida crew, of course, wanted to keep their exploding panties under wraps until they were revealed on the runway -- an airport runway -- but a CIA informant posing as a suicide bomber ruined their plan. The operation that exposed the underwear also revealed the location of a major al-Qaida operative, Fahd Mohammed Ahmed Quso. The CIA delivered a lethal greeting to Mr. Quso as he stepped out of his car somewhere in Yemen on Sunday, demonstrating that, when it comes to blowing things up, a drone is a great deal more effective than a pair of tidy whities.

Yemen is one of the few places on earth where those panties your grandma used to wear have a lot more allure than a scanty thong fromVictoria's Secret. Voluminous lingerie allows extra space to house explosives. Apparently, for the boys at al-Qaida there is nothing sexier.

Putting bombs in underwear seems a weirdly logical choice for these misogynistic, sexually repressed zealots. These are, after all, the kind of men who would whip a woman for displaying a bare ankle. If a daughter were raped, they would stone the unclean wench. If the girl ran away or married the wrong man, they would kill her for bringing dishonor upon the family.

If a man would do all of that, it seems perfectly reasonable that he would think nothing of asking some fool to stuff a bomb in his crotch and blow up anything within range of his pulverized pudenda. (The question of how this affects the suicide bomber's functionality with all those virgins awaiting him in Paradise I will leave to al-Qaida's imams to sort out.)

I do have some advice for the underwear designer Asiri: It might be wise to get your summer collection off the drawing board and into production soon. There is a drone out there with designs on you.

Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner David Horsey is a political commentator for the Los Angeles Times. Go to latimes.com/news/politics/topoftheticket/ to see more of his work.