As onerous as you might think these new airport body scans are, they may be a necessary part of life in these United States circa 2010. Just one of the many good reasons that in its lame duck session, the United States Senate should ratify the New START, or Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, with Russia.

To paraphrase that cult movie classic “Eating Raoul,” frisk me, pat me down, make me write bad checks. If it keeps my flight from falling out of the sky, do what you must. Just don’t expect breakfast in the morning and a thank you note.

Because, let’s face it, as onerous as you might think these new airport body scans are, not to mention the “pat-downs with benefits” if you refuse the scan, they may be a necessary part of life in these United States circa 2010. Facebook already has wiped out most vestiges of your privacy; the Transportation Security Administration simply takes care of the rest.

Not that there aren’t problems –– overly aggressive and handsy TSA inspectors, for one. And, according to The Washington Post, a scientist claims there’s a “cheap and simple fix” to the scanners that would “distort the images captured on full-body scanners so they look like reflections in a fun-house mirror, but any potentially dangerous objects would be clearly revealed,” thus quelling the protests of those who object to real-time, nude outlines of the human body.

The former nuclear weapons designer, who helped develop the scanners at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, said he offered the solution to Department of Homeland Security officials four years ago during the Bush administration but was “rebuffed.”

In any case, if you’re contemplating staging a protest while in line at an airport, in the name of all that’s holy, please don’t. I’m not flying anywhere this week, but think of the 1.6 million Americans who are, and show a little common sense and thoughtfulness. Also ask yourself, would I be doing this if George Bush were still in the White House urging me to be patriotic and patient? And to shop my terrors away at the mall?

Besides, when it comes to security, frankly, there are more important things to worry about than some anonymous, federal rent-a-cop scanning your privates for grenades.

Like North Korea. On Tuesday, it shelled the island of Yeonpyeong, killing two South Korean soldiers and wounding 18 military personnel and civilians. The attack occurred just days after Stanford University nuclear scientist Siegfried S. Hecker, former director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, was shown a secret North Korean uranium enrichment facility.

Just one of the many good reasons that in its lame duck session, the United States Senate should ratify the New START, or Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, with Russia. The aim is to maintain stability and strengthen the alliance with that former Cold War enemy that helps keep North Korea — and Iran — in line; and to restore on-site inspections of Russian missile sites and storage facilities to prevent nuclear weapons from disappearing into the hands of terrorists, state-sponsored or otherwise; and to limit the number of strategic warheads held by the two nations.

The treaty needs 67 votes for ratification, which means eight Republicans must support it along with all 59 members of the Democratic voting bloc. But some are trying to hold off the vote until the new Congress in January, when 14 Republican votes will be required for the necessary two-thirds majority. That would undoubtedly put an end to START and seriously undercut our worldwide credibility.

This is foolish, dangerous partisanship, plain and simple –– Republicans denying President Obama even the most sensible initiative just to further undermine his chances for reelection without regard to the international consequences, which include a possible strengthening of Russian hardliners, an end to that nation’s cooperation on Afghanistan and Iran and a general destabilization of the balance of power.

This is a treaty endorsed, as Steven Benen of Washington Monthly has pointed out, not only by the leaders of NATO but by six former secretaries of state and five former secretaries of defense from both parties, seven former Strategic Command chiefs, national security advisers from both parties and nearly all former commanders of U.S. nuclear forces. Not to mention Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen, who described START as  “essential to our future security.”

But to many hardline Republicans, like the cranky travelers who balk and rage at scans and searches, security may no longer be the priority it once was. Not when there’s a presidency to destroy.

Michael Winship, a native of Canandaigua, N.Y., is senior writer at Public Affairs Television in New York City.