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The War Nerd / July 31, 2008
By Gary Brecher

A few years ago I wrote a column on how the Iran-Iraq War was the war nobody watched.

Well, thank God I was wrong. Maybe the US networks ignored that war but it turns out there were a lot of Iranian wannabe directors right there on the front line, getting it all on video. And thanks to the miracle of YouTube, you toobs can watch it all.

This is my absolute favorite clip so far. It’s shot from the very front of the Persian lines as Iraqi armor (T-55s, I think) advance toward them. First the Iranians cheer as a secondary explosion, with lots of black smoke, goes off from the Iraqi lines, meaning that one of Saddam’s tanks has been hit. Then you listen to an Iranian soldier explaining something—damn, I wish I spoke Farsi! Anybody out there wanna translate for a poor hick American.

Then comes the real climax. One of the Iraqi tanks advances right toward the camera at an angle. The Iranians are spooked, and one of them tries to put together an RPG round in time to stop the tank. All this time the AKs are firing uselessly. Then they get lucky; something hits and disables the tank. Anybody know what hit it? I can’t tell.

The best part is when the Iraqi crew climbs out of the disabled tank and runs off. You watch them jogging away in full view while the Iranians blast away with automatic rifles. And nobody hits a thing. That’s the difference between combat and the movies: it’s a lot harder to hit a moving target than Rambo makes it look. The three guys get away behind a dune, Just as the third and slowest guy is ducking behind the dune, a heavy machinegun round kicks up the sand in front of him—world’s luckiest Iraqi.

When you play this on YouTube you’ll see a whole selection of other combat videos on the right. I recommend’em all. And I’d give a lot for a Farsi translation of the dialogue on this one.

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