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The latest weapons in the US Global War on Terror Overseas Contingency Operation come from Cupertino: the iPhone and iPod touch.

According to a report by The New Zealand Herald, US soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan are using Apple's WiFi-equipped handhelds to better understand and communicate with the locals.

The iTunes App Store turns up a few applications that could be of potentially lifesaving value to patrolling forces, such as an Arabic to English Translator, a helpful compendium of grammatically challenged Arabic Cultural Tips ("In general, Arabs speak loud and don't like silence in a conversation"), and the full text of the Iraq Constitution (iTunes links).

Overly gung-ho warriors might also want to download and study a digital copy of the US Uniform Code of Military Justice (iTunes link).

In addition to existing, freely available apps, the US Marine Corps is also working on its own projects, including an app that would enable soldiers to upload photos of captured suspected insurgents to a central database, where face-recognition software would match the alleged bad guys with records of where, when, and why they had been previously detained.

Other military uses for Apple's ubiquitous handhelds are also being investigated by the Corps, including using them to guide bomb-disabling robots and to view remote video from unmanned drone aircraft.

The Reg was unable to reach the famously iPhone-loving former Taliban ambassador to Pakistan, Mullah Zaif, for comment. ®

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