Desert Storm Trading Cards


So with the Arab Spring and our twelve or whatever ongoing wars and the death of Osama bin Laden and everything, it seems like an appropriate time for me to revisit some of my favorite souvenirs from the heady days of my early-nineties trading card obsession.  That’s right, the 1991 Pro Set Desert Storm card collecting abomination.

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This is very Nineties, right?  This predates when we started painting toy guns orange, and also predates when we realized it was ridiculous to make a set of trading cards about an event in which a bunch of real life human beings were shooting and bombing each other, apparently.  I mean, maybe there was a set of trading cards made about the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?  I’m not sure.  I CAN’T KEEP UP WITH THE EVER-CHANGING, FAST-PACED, HIGH-STAKES WORLD OF TRADING CARDS, OK??  But, if so, they are certainly much more below-the-radar than these cards were.  We all had them!  I’ll trade you two Colin Powell’s for your Stormin’ Norman Schwarzkopf, AMIRITE?  People who were up in arms about drunk GW kids celebrating bin Laden’s death outside of the White House should remember that we used to encourage young children to collect pieces of cardboard about this stuff.

Scan 1

Let’s close our eyes and transport ourselves back to a time when we were all rocking out, without irony, to C+C Music Factory’s “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now).” (BTDubs, is that really a song that requires a seven-word title?)

Let’s start with the BIG ISSUES.  What was this war about again?  Communism?

Scan 2

No, that was over already, right?  Was it just straight up Peace In The Middle East?

Scan 3

Not totally, I don’t think.  Perhaps just a big misunderstanding about the geographic boundaries of the nation of Iraq?

Scan 4

I know what you cynics are saying: BLOOD FOR OIL!

Scan 5

But to me it seems more about cultural issues.  More specifically, religious disagreements.  And what better place to tackle the thorny and complex issue of religion than a set of children’s trading cards?  Class is in session.  School me, Pro Set.

Scan 6

Scan 51

All right.  Seems a bit surface-level.  I thought we were really going to delve into this.  Oh well.  At least we all got to learn that Christianity wins because it has the most followers.  Let’s move on.  Who were the big players in this international conflict?

Scan 8

Makes sense.  I mean, I’m not intimate with all of the details of the war, because I was nine at the time, and it all sort of feels like a historical footnote at this point.  So I only have a superficial knowledge of it.  One thing is for sure, though: if you said to me “Persian Gulf War.  1991.  Go.”  The first four words out of my mouth would be “Italy.  Norway.  New Zealand.”

Particularly New Zealand, right?  I mean, when Churchill said “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few,” I’m pretty sure he was talking about New Zealand’s 4th Sheep Battalion’s valiant efforts in the Battle of Khafji.

Scan 12

Nevermind, though.  We won this war decisively because of two things.  Firstly, our unwavering American spirit and patriotism:

Scan 9

And secondly, the overwhelming technological and organizational edge of our advanced military.  Seriously, our military is so skilled you guys!  Let’s take a look at what Pro Set thought our most important military skills were.

Scan 10

OK!  Fitness.  That does seem very important.  And Army guys are probably mostly very fit!  What else?

Scan 11

Again, OK…I mean, yes, hygiene is very important.  And soldiers are definitely at their best when healthy.

Scan 13

Now this just seems like a basic expectation one can have of any one person performing any one task.  That bomb does look pretty shiny, though.

Scan 14

Wait, “Women In Combat?”  That seems less like a “Military Skill” and more like “Basic Equal Rights.”

Scan 15

OK, now I suspect that you’re just yanking my chain, Pro Set.  This is war, not astrology.

Scan 16

Hand signals are of supreme importance both when undertaking a war and when riding a bicycle.

Scan 17

And now we’re just including things that fall under the category of “common human decency.”  But I guess I like that one more than this ridiculous Nancy Reagan op-ed:

Scan 18

So, I guess what you’re telling me is that we won this war more because of our military assets than our military skills?  Because you classify this as a “Military Asset” and I’m pretty sure it’s why we won:

Scan 19

Anyway, this guy seems pretty pleased with himself:

Scan 20

Let’s end with a much less sarcastic tribute to some real American Heroes.  God bless the U.S.A. and God bless Navy Seals.

Scan 21

SEAL TEAM 6!  Also, I’m pretty sure that guy in the middle is Don Draper.

3 thoughts on “Desert Storm Trading Cards

  1. Not sure if u ever heard about it but they did a set of most wanted playing cards for this war. Osama was ace o spades.

    • The Seal Team 6 reference was made because Osama bin Laden had just been killed earlier that month, not really in reference to the specific gentlemen pictured on the card. That said, I appreciate the information; tons of respect for all servicemen and women!

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