Over at Curmudgeon Gamer there's some speculation that the zone Hellfire Peninsula is meant to be Blizzard's commentary on the Iraq war. And Blizzard is certainly known for making in-game references to pop culture; why in Outland alone you can find Star Wars, Masters of the Universe, Monty Python, Snakes on a Plane (literally!), Star Trek, and Dune, just to name a handful. But usually they restrict themselves to to humor -- their goal, after all, is to entertain, and making you stop and laugh (come on, did anyone not lol at the "Voidwalkers Gone Wild" quest?) is just part of the job.
So is Blizzard really making Iraq war references here? Curmudgeon Gamer makes note of the invading army (us: the denizens of Azeroth), the plumes of fire coming out of the ground (oil refinery fires, anyone?), and the Zeth'Gor Must Burn quest which requires you to mark towers in Zeth'Gor for later bombing runs. And then there's this bit of NPC chatter:
Marshal Isildor says: Do you think that demons will play fair? These beasts are more savage than orcs and more cunning than the undead.
Marshal Isildor says: How many more soldiers need to die before we start paying attention out there?
While I see his points, I'm not so certain the zone is meant to be a specific reference to the Iraq war as opposed to trying to catch the feel of a front-line war zone in general. With the Iraq war being the current event of the day, a connection stands out -- but I wonder if the political climate were different would we just connect Hellfire Peninsula to the most recent conflict?