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Iraqi Actors Train U.S. Soldiers for Conditions in Iraq

In a dusty desert village, U.S. soldiers walk down a street in full body armor, guns at the ready. Local residents in Arab dress sit in chairs along the sides of the street. They watch the Americans warily.

Suddenly, shots ring out, people scatter and chaos takes over. It sounds like a scene straight from the streets of Baghdad, but the shots are blanks. Even the village is fake — just a jumble of plywood shipping crates and sheds.

The men and women posing as villagers are all native-born Iraqis who now live in the United States. They play a variety of roles — from civilians to suicide bombers. They're among the 250 Iraqi-Americans who've come to Ft. Irwin, Calif. to help U.S. troops get used to working around Iraqi civilians.

Glenn Zorpette, executive editor of IEEE Spectrum magazine, spent three days on the base and came back with the story of an Iraqi-American woman who helps train U.S. soldiers.

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Glenn Zorpette
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