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Read the complete transcript of this episode, which aired on March 2nd, 2004.

Episode 4: Hi-Tech War

We've followed the situation in Iraq from the comfort of our living rooms, relying on the nightly news, the headlines and the occasional press conference for our fix of status reports. Based on these sources, Americans -- and civilians everywhere -- have formed opinions about the war, its progress and its impact. But even the most reliable of news sources can't explain the inner workings of our military arsenal and what its cutting-edge technology may mean for the future of combat. And it certainly can't capture the same level of detail a first-hand account can; the war looks very different through the eyes of the soldiers on the actual battlefield.

The war looks very different through the eyes of the soldiers on the actual battlefield.
"Hi-Tech War" is a step-by-step account of the technology used in the second war with Iraq, painting a vivid portrait of the front lines via the recollections and commentary of soldiers, military leaders and weapons engineers. From the opening strike and the "Shock and Awe" campaign that marked the commencement of the conflict to the Karbala battle and the seizing of Baghdad later on, the program spotlights the challenges our troops faced and the devices and techniques used to overcome them. It also explores the actions that didn't work, putting it all in the greater context of combat in the Information Age.

Highlights include Joe Ring talking about the life-changing experience of watching Navy-launched Tomahawk missiles head into Baghdad after being launched from his ship hundreds of miles away, and of knowing they'd hit enemies whose faces he'd never seen. Lt. Col. Scott Henderson explains the role of the international global positioning system (GPS) that guides the Tomahawks and other precision weapons, while Lt. Gen. Otto Guenther, Col. Eric Schwartz and Sgt. James Cerillo introduce a digital battle command system called FBCB2. FBCB2 provides a permanent link between ground forces using GPS coordinates and a Web-based computer network, allowing commanders to know the location of any unit at any given time -- a vital asset when treading on enemy territory. There's also the JDAM bomb that can be guided right through a blinding sandstorm; the Predator, a small, unmanned aircraft controlled from the United States; and the Theater Battle Management Core System (TBMCS), a Web-based system for planning, managing and executing air combat. Gen. Buford Blount of the Third Infantry Division explains his decision to embark on "Thunder Runs," aggressive, heavily armored patrols deep in the heart of Baghdad.

"Hi-Tech War" shows viewers what it's like to be riding in a vehicle when it's struck by a rocket-propelled grenade, probes how U.S. forces continue to battle the ever-present threat of Saddam Hussein's Fedayeen guerilla forces, and examines the Iraqi regime's attempts to avoid precision attacks by positioning military forces amongst civilians. This dramatic documentary also illustrates the terrors of a deadly ambush and of being on board an Apache that's shot out of the sky.

Producer/Director: Phil Craig

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