Final Word from Thursday, August 5, 2004

Shortly after President Václav Klaus appointed the new government yesterday, sirens blasted throughout Prague. The alarm was neither a warning of what is to come, nor a celebratory fanfare. Instead, it was just a mundane monthly test of the city's siren system. Most Prague residents paid no attention. They've become immune to the occasional warnings, security upgrades and strong-arm techniques of their government officials. In the U.S., Howard Dean accused the Bush administration of creating an imaginary terrorist threat so that Bush could then show the voters how well he's protecting them. As interior minister, Stanislav Gross was often accused of using his traffic and other crackdowns to similar political advantage. As premier, he'll be tempted to take this a step further. Don't be surprised if the number of terrorist threats and siren blasts in Prague increases. terrorism


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