Not once on 3 tours did I ever experience an Iraqi not understanding the pushing out hand gesture to back up, especially since it’s used in their own culture for the same thing. Also, every single soldier on the ground in Iraq knows “Imshi”: Go away. It’s considered rude, but it’s the most effective at clearing people away and even thier own forces use it.
Iraqis are a friendly people. They’re also inquisitive and quick to pick up on cues and words. In fact, because of how social they are when compared to Americans, I think it gave them an edge in picking up english when listening to what we said compared to what the interpreter said than the other way around for us. I was always trying to pay attention to what someone said to me and then what the interpreter said so I could try to learn more Arabic, but the ball seemed always in the Iraqis’ court. However, the only “friendly to a fault” that happens is when they simply won’t leave you alone and simply become annoying.
I haven’t seen Hurt Locker - I’ve seen parts and that was enough for me, especially after hearing what everyone else had to say about it - but if they portrayed Iraqis not understanding when Coalition Forces wanted them to back up or clear an area, the movie is at fault.