Inside Move: ‘Patriot’ games

Iraqis turn to Gibson starrer, U.S. war pics

The lessons of war are still being written in Iraq, but the Iraqis themselves — including dictator Saddam Hussein — have apparently been studying up at the local equivalent of Blockbuster for their battle plans.

With Baghdad now largely under the control of U.S. troops, locals who still have power supplies have reportedly been turning to U.S. pics on homevideo for diversion. And, ironically, many of the bestselling videos for local merchants are American war pics.

A merchant named Abu Abbas tells Agence France Presse that his topsellers of late include “Ticker,” a 2001 thriller that finds Steven Seagal scouring San Francisco for a bomb and “The Patriot” — in which Revolutionary militiaman Mel Gibson uses guerilla-style tactics against occupying British forces.

Other staples of Iraq vidshops include action pics featuring Wesley Snipes, Jet Li, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Sylvester Stallone.

And even before the war began, Saddam himself reportedly ordered his top military brass to view “Enemy at the Gates,” about the siege of Stalingrad during WWII, and “Black Hawk Down,” in which U.S. troops suffered unexpected casualties during an urban conflict in Somalia in 1992.

There’s no telling what Western intelligence sources made of the recent discovery in one of Saddam’s captured palaces of a copy of “Pulp Fiction.”

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