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Fancy yourself as a virtual interrogator?

"Interview" captured Iraqis in the comfort of your own home

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If you fancy a new career quizzing captured Iraqis about the whereabouts of weapons of mass destruction, then look no further than Virtual Conversation Arabic Complete Series 4 CD.

In this handy teaching aid "each of the programs allows the user to gather information through direct dialogue with a native Arabic speaker. Each character presents the user with a problem that can be resolved through inference from the information obtained. Each simulation includes a video Instructor who helps the user pronounce the questions and phrases necessary to conduct the interview."

So, what's the point of all this? Well, the first subject is an "an Iraqi soldier captured near the Kuwait border. He has information about troops, weapons, and attack plans. He speaks in Iraqi dialect. The user may interrogate the EPW in either Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) or Iraqi. The objective is to determine the veracity of his story and to recommend the appropriate action."

Also up for "interview" are a pilot, civilian émigré and Kurdish refugee. But does it work? According to the manufacturers, "The Virtual Conversations Arabic Series has been rigorously evaluated in field tests at the Defense Language Institute (DLI) in Monterey, California. In all, 36 DLI Arabic language students participated in a series of three experiments. All of the subjects felt as though they were talking to an actual person and 'enjoyed' the experience."

This interactive intelligence-gathering tool goes out at a cool $249.95. In our opinion, it would be cheaper to get a couple of sticks and beat the soles of the bloke's feet until he gives up the location of the al-Qaeda sponsored dirty bomb manufacturing facility. We're sure the students would "enjoy" this hands-on approach to interrogative interactivity a whole heap more than sitting in front of a monitor chatting away to a virtual Kurd. ®

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