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Published October 28, 2022 Updated October 28, 2022

Republican Chickenhawks of America

“Republican Chickenhawks of America” playing cards by Jerry A. Vasilatos, USA, 2003.

2003 USA Nitestar Productions Jerry Vasilatos Humour Most Wanted Political Satire Add to Collection

Published by Jerry A. Vasilatos of Nitestar Productions in 2003 this pack was intended as a parody of the “Iraqi Deck of Death” (or "Iraqi most wanted") published earlier by the Intelligence Agency of America. Both decks centred upon the Iraq War which began in 2003 with the invasion of Iraq by the U.S.- led coalition that overthrew the Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein. The United States based its rationale for the invasion on claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and posed a threat to the United States and its allies. Additionally, some US officials falsely accused Saddam of harbouring and supporting al-Qaeda.

This pack offers photographs of the “Chickenhawks” who pushed the country to war. These individuals have three qualities: "bellicosity, public prominence, and a curious lack of wartime service when others their age had no trouble finding the fight (mainly the Vietnam War)” [see box]. George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Jeb Bush, John Bolton, Newt Gingrich and many other lesser known or remembered politicians are included. See the box

“Republican Chickenhawks of America” playing cards published by Jerry A. Vasilatos, Nitestar Productions, USA, 2003 “Republican Chickenhawks of America” playing cards published by Jerry A. Vasilatos, Nitestar Productions, USA, 2003

Above: “Republican Chickenhawks of America” playing cards published by Jerry A. Vasilatos, Nitestar Productions Inc., USA, 2003.

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By Peter Burnett

Member since July 27, 2022

I graduated in Russian and East European Studies from Birmingham University in 1969. It was as an undergraduate in Moscow in 1968 that I stumbled upon my first 3 packs of “unusual” playing cards which fired my curiosity and thence my life-long interest. I began researching and collecting cards in the early 1970s, since when I’ve acquired over 3,330 packs of non-standard cards, mainly from North America, UK and Western Europe, and of course from Russia and the former communist countries.

Russian Playing Cards

Following my retirement from the Bodleian Library in Dec. 2007 I took up a new role as Head of Library Development at the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP) to support library development in low-income countries. This work necessitated regular training visits to many sub-Saharan African countries and also further afield, to Vietnam, Nepal and Bangladesh – all of which provided rich opportunities to further expand my playing card collection.

Since 2019 I’ve been working part-time in the Bodleian Library where I’ve been cataloguing the bequest of the late Donald Welsh, founder of the English Playing Card Society.


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