In the Gulf War 2 online game, players assume the role of President Bush. About 20,000 people play the game every day. It starts with Baghdad’s quick fall, but that doesn?t mean the war is over. There’s an Iraqi anthrax attack on Israel, a retaliatory nuclear strike, revolt in Saudi Arabia, and a Kurdish coup in northern Iraq. There are also anti-American uprisings in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Pakistan, which lead to nuclear warheads being smuggled to militant groups. Once Saddam Hussein’s body is found, players select one of three look-alike successors, who soon needs military backing to fight off an attack by Iran. “This is a projection of the most likely outcome of a new war in the Gulf,” says game creator Dermot O’Connor.

O’Connor got his source material from interviews and reports in the Atlantic Monthly, The Washington Post, The New York Times, the Times of London, the Guardian newspaper in Britain and the Australian Sunday Herald. The game seems interactive but actually leads players down a predetermined path, designed by O’Connor to show the risks of war with Iraq. He says, “There is only one deliberate outcome. It didn’t make sense to give people the idea that they could avoid the worst.”

There are Secrets the world is keeping that would make the Middle East even more inflammatory than it is now.

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