And now the most telling two minutes in television, the latest from the wartime grapevine:
The firestorm surrounding Columbia University assistant professor Nicholas de Genova continues. At a teach-in last week, the anthropology professor said he hopes the United States loses the war in Iraq and he wishes "for a million Mogadishus," referring to the Somalian city where 18 American soldiers were killed in an ambush in 1993. Columbia President Lee Bollinger said he was "shocked" by de Genova's comment, which he said, "crosses the line." Now the Columbia student left is blasting Bollinger. Student Nate Treadwell of Columbia Student Solidarity said Bollinger's reaction "counts as the University taking a position, and it creates a chilling effect."
Thwarting the Threat?
A new poll out today shows that despite overwhelming opposition to war in Iraq, 53 percent of French citizens still want the United States to win, with 33 percent disagreeing. The same poll shows 78 percent of French people disapprove of the war in Iraq. Meanwhile, Reuters reports the French government has expanded its two-level terror threat alert system to four color-coded levels. The current level is "orange," which is the second lowest and means the terror threat is, and I'm not making this up, "plausible."
A French filmmaker just back from filming a documentary about Saddam Hussein says the Iraqi dictator is an eccentric with a passion for cleanliness, who wears cologne with a baby smell, keeps his hair shiny and dyes his mustache to keep it black. Filmmaker Joel Soler said Saddam believes men should shower once a day but women should bathe twice because "they have a noticeable smell." As for his hobbies, Soler said Saddam likes fishing with grenades. After the explosions, Soler told the New York Daily News, Saddam has scuba divers go in for the fish.
The Washington Post, apparently unable to determine if the embedded correspondents traveling with coalition troops were helping or hurting the Pentagon, wrote the story both ways today. In one story, the Post reported that the "embeds," as they are being called, "are taking considerable flak for overly sympathetic reporting, dismissed by some as part of the military propaganda machine." Elsewhere in the paper, however, we learn that "behind the scenes" at the Pentagon officials are saying, "Embedded reporters are creating problems, both militarily and with the public's perception of the war."