Iraqis Turn to PlayStation
Reportedly Sony PlayStation 2s were in short supply during she U.S. Christmas season partly because so many were going to Iraq. The Defense Intelligence Agency reported in mid-December that as many as 4,000 had been bought in the United States and shipped to Iraq over the previous two to three months. They were not intended as toys. The Iraqis apparently saw the video toys as an exception to the current ban on receiving computers. Although a PlayStation is not nominally a computer, and hence does not attract customs or embargo attention, it is built around a very powerful 128-bit processor with considerable graphics capability, reportedly five times that of a typical graphics workstation. What makes a PlayStation a toy is its software; with different software it is a powerful general-purpose computer. As if to emphasize this point, Sony is about to sell a plug-in hard drive and an interface to the Internet.