In late 2000, reports emerged along both the grapevine and mainstream media that Iraqi president Saddam Hussein was stockpiling PlayStation 2 systems, which had debuted that autumn. More than 4,000 consoles had made their way to Iraq in just a couple of months, having circumvented the arms embargo on Iraq imposed by the United Nations more than a decade earlier.
The game consoles were, after all, kids' toys at their essence, so what was the harm? Further down in the reports of the PS2 stockpile (and often in the headlines) was a more alarming idea -- that Hussein valued the consoles for their chips. Fears grew that the leader had found a loophole in the embargo and was planning to string together 10 to 20 of the consoles to create a supercomputer powerful enough to guide missile systems [source: ZDNet].
Reality would undermine this concern almost as quickly as it emerged. Technically, one could connect a series of PlayStation 2 consoles and use their 128-bit processors in conjunction, but it would require unique software that Iraq would have needed years to develop after the PS2 debuted. In other words, the rumor was pure myth.