Uday Hussein is the ace of hearts. Qusay Hussein is the ace of clubs. The
ace of spades, naturally, is their father, Saddam Hussein.
On April 11th the U.S. military issued a most-wanted list in the form of
a deck of cards, distributing them to U.S. troops in the field
to help find senior members of the government.
Not suprisingly, there has been a great deal of media interest in the story:
The playing card idea is not a new one. It was used all the way back in WWII to help soldiers familiarise themselves with German military equipment, so they could more quickly recognise friend from foe and gauge the strength of the enemy in a local area. These packs have gone on to become very valuable collectors items.
In the Vietnam war soldiers were issued with packs of cards that contained nothing but the Ace of Spades. These cards were useful in psychological warfare. The Viet Cong were very superstitious and highly frightened by this ace. The cards were deliberately scattered in the jungle and in
hostile villages during raids. The very sight of it was said to cause many Viet Cong to flee.
The purpose behind the playing cards in this case is to help soldiers recognise people in the Iraqi leadership that might be seen in disguise or would otherwise have escaped
their attention. A bored soldier is far more
likely to break out a deck of cards in his off-time, than to pick up a study booklet to learn the faces of those he is to be on the lookout for.
These are high quality reproduction cards and not originals. They are
created from the exact specifications issued by the US Defence Department and showcased by Brig. Gen. Brooks during the press briefing in
Qatar on the 11th of April.
Each pack contains 55 cards. The two jokers contain information about Arab Military Ranks and Arab Titles. The backs of the cards are composed of a camoflage motif and are plastic coated - just like ordinary playing cards.
"There are jokers in this deck, there is no doubt about that," Brig Gen Brooks said.