Before we address the different "nonstandard" decks that the second Gulf war has launched upon the world, it may be useful to know that the Sadam deck as "mother of all decks" was originally issued -before the war began- by the American army as a means to help the soldiers in the field to identify 52 of their most important opponents. This kind of army publication is not unpreceeded. From the second World War we already know the so-called "spotter cards". Decks that could be used for regular playing card games, but on each face there was a description and a drawing of an enemy (or allied) aircraft or warship. In design pretty similar to the GTA 46 deck here below.
These kind of decks were issued after the war as GTA (= Graphic Training Aid). 

                                    GTA's 21, 46 and 55 were all issued in the 1970's

During the cold war it was probably handy to know some russian words or lines, in case of an unexpected or secret visit there. GTA 46 shows allied and enemy aircrafts and helicopters with their specifications.


The 2nd GULF WAR

Like military and political leaders had announced, this war would be opened with a "shock & awe" offensive. And, as it seems, not only on the battlefield. The initial "Sadam" deck was made in commission for the army. The simple design is based on functionality: a picture (if available), a name and a description of "rank". Any soldier can understand that. On the jokers the use of the Iraqi tribal names is explained.
The quality of the pictures used is not uniform, probably they were the best ones available. Surprisingly enough there were obviously still a good number of Iraqi "leaders", that had succesfully evaded  the camera's of the western intelligence services: there are quite a few of these sillouet cards. 

Through websites like greatusaflags, the deck was made available to the general public, when the war had just started.
Shortly after this edition there were two other publications, that served no other goal than to gather political support for the war. Before war could be launched on Iraq, there had been a lot of political controversy between the US, Europe and the UN. France, Germany and Russia openly declared their opposition to the war. Other European countries saw a bigger role for the UN. Within the US there was also a growing opposition. Politicians, actors and other vips had openly stated a NO against the war. 

As a sort of salute to the troops, the "Military Heroes" deck was issued. And to mock and discredit the UN, the foreign and internal opposition the "Axis of Weasels" deck was issued. Both decks were -in design- similar to the original "Sadam" deck: a picture, a name and text. 

The military heroes, with president Bush as commander in chief on the ace of spades, are all depicted against the background of the american flag. Perfect pictures, almost like state portraits, and full accreditation. No jokers in this deck, but "golden aces" and even the indicators in this deck look strong and solid.

The backdesign  of the "axis of weasels" deck depicts the UN name and emblem, flanked by two weasels. But the suggestion that it only deals with UN "weasels", like Chirac or Chretien, is untrue. The deck also puts out the names and faces of the internal opposition of politicians, actors and other vips, accompanied by a quote or a comment. All are depicted wearing a UN baret and it's obvious that the pictures used are not the most favourable ones. 

Fortunately the official war had "ended" as swift as it had begun, but the "card offensive" had been completed and the tone had been set. It was only a matter of time before the "retaliation" could begin. In Iraq it took a short while before defeated groups from the former regime could organize themselves underground and start with the destabilisation of the new Iraq through bombings and other horrifying actions.
In the US and elsewhere it took a while too before the answers were given..............

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