Final Word from Thursday, August 8, 2002

Nato wants each of its members to be able to defend against terrorists who use civilian aircraft as weapons. At the same time, though, it wants the CR to improve its ground forces instead of buying supersonic fighters. But without the fighters, wonders Deputy Defense Minister Štefan Füle, how can the army deal with a civilian plane being used as a weapon? Petr Nečas of ODS says subsonic L-159s could defend Czech airspace. Political scientist Petr Robejšek wants a U.S. air base on the Czech-Slovak border. Critics of these ideas say that the L-159 is too slow to chase or shoot down a terrorist-controlled plane and that it would take too long for a supersonic jet from a U.S. base to get the necessary approval. The Czech cabinet doesn't know what to do. As the host of the Nato summit, it would ideally have an answer before its allies arrive in Prague.


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