And now the most insightful two minutes in television, the latest from the wartime grapevine:
Truth About Training
After months of denial and after being confronted with documents found by the San Francisco Chronicle in Baghdad, Russian intelligence officials are now admitting that Iraqi spies received training in specialized espionage techniques in Moscow last fall. A spokesman for the Russian Intelligence Service claims it was for "nonmilitary purposes," such as fighting crime and terrorism. But the San Francisco Chronicle notes that Iraqi spies ordered wiretaps and break ins on foreign diplomats and civilians.
Shock and Awe
Meanwhile, Russian military officials say they were shocked to see U.S. forces trample the Iraqi Army, which was modeled after their own Russian Army. Russian officials told the Christian Science Monitor that their government must now stop seeing itself as the superpower it was during the Cold War and make modernizing the Russian army a top priority, one military expert adding, "Luckily we didn't have to learn that firsthand."
Follow the Leader
Barry Rubin, editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs, says the capture of terrorist Abu Abbas in Baghdad on Tuesday may be "one of the biggest stories to come out of the war in Iraq," not because Abbas could now implicate Saddam Hussein as a terrorist but because he could implicate Palestinian Leader Yasser Arafat as one. Rubin writes in the L.A. Times that Palestine Liberation Front Hijackers, headed by Abbas, told hostages on the Achille Lauro, "We came on behalf of Yasser Arafat." And Rubin says the Palestine Liberation Front was funded by Arafat himself.
The latest from the wonderful world of American education is that Iraqis may have been elated to see U.S. troops roll into Baghdad last week, but there seems to have been no elation in the faculty lounges of UCLA. The university's academic senate voted this week to "deplore" the war in Iraq. The vote was 180 to 7. That represents only a fraction of the total university faculty and the Daily Bruin newspaper reports that the meeting had to be kept going so that a quorum of 200 members could be assembled. Finally, the paper said, a 200th member appeared, though he didn't stay and refused to identify himself to reporters.