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Posted: 12/25/2005 4:30:43 PM EDT



· Danger and anti-war stance keep celebrities away
· Shows now depend on Christian hip-hop groups

Jamie Wilson in Washington
Saturday December 24, 2005
The Guardian

During world war two American troops away from home for Christmas were entertained by Marlene Dietrich, Bing Crosby and the Marx Brothers. Even in Vietnam Bob Hope was guaranteed to put in an appearance. But soldiers in Iraq are more likely to get a show from a Christian hip-hop group, a country singer you have probably never heard of and two cheerleaders for the Dallas Cowboys.

Just as the seemingly intractable nature of the war has led to a growing recruitment crisis, so the United Services Organisation, which has been putting on shows for the troops since the second world war, is struggling to get celebrities to sign up for even a short tour of duty.

It is a far cry from the days following the September 11 2001 attacks, when some of the biggest names in show business, from Jennifer Lopez to Brad Pitt, rallied to the cause. "After 9/11 we couldn't have had enough airplanes for the people who were volunteering to go," Wayne Newton, the Las Vegas crooner who succeeded Bob Hope as head of USO's talent recruiting effort, told USA Today. "Now with 9/11 being as far removed as it is, the war being up one day and down the next, it becomes increasingly difficult to get people to go."

Newton said many celebrities have been wary of going because they think it might be seen that they are endorsing the war. "And I say it's not. I tell them these men and women are over there because our country sent them, and we have the absolute necessity to try to bring them as much happiness as we can."

Fear is also a factor. "They're scared," country singer Craig Morton, who is in Iraq on the USO's Hope and Freedom Tour 2005, told USA Today. "It's understandable. It's not a safe and fun place and a lot of people don't want to take the chance."

The USO was founded in 1941 as a way of boosting morale for the military. For most of that time Bob Hope, who made his first appearance in 1942 and his last in 1990, was its most recognisable face, famed for putting on Christmas extravaganzas on aircraft carriers and American bases during the Vietnam war. Thousands of performers signed up to play the "foxhole circuit" during the second world war, but the USO has a much smaller list.

Some of the entertainers still willing to travel are die-hard true believers - rock musician Ted Nugent carried a Glock handgun to shows in Iraq last year and said in a radio interview that he manned a machine gun on a Humvee. But many of the USO's regular performers are fierce critics of the war, among them the comic and star of Good Morning Vietnam, Robin Williams, who told USA Today he would like to return to the Middle East in the spring for what would be his fourth tour since 2002. "I'm there for the [troops], not for W," he said in a reference to the president. "Go, man. You won't forget it. You'll meet amazing people," is his message to stars that ask him about the tours. But the comedian said he mostly tries to keep politics out of the show after he did a few jokes about Bush's brainpower at a base in 2003 and got a chilly reception.

Other critics of the war who regularly perform include the leftwing comedian Al Franken (who is headlining the current tour along with Christian hip-hop group Souljahz) and the punk legend and actor Henry Rollins, one of the Bush administrations most vocal critics.

The tradition of beautiful women thrilling the troops has continued - although while Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell showed up in Korea and Vietnam could boast Raquel Welch, in Iraq they have had to make do with sometime pop singer and reality TV star Jessica Simpson.

Wartime entertainers

Second world war 1941 - 1945

Bob Hope
Duke Ellington
The Marx Brothers
Judy Garland

Korean war 1950 - 1953

Bob Hope
Marilyn Monroe
Jane Russell

Vietnam war 1961 - 1975

Bob Hope
John Wayne
Raquel Welch

Gulf war 1990 - 1991

Bob Hope
Steve Martin

Iraq war 2003 - present

Robin Williams
50 Cent
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 4:44:54 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/26/2005 2:55:24 AM EDT by raf]
Damn, who would think that I would read an article that would cause me to have even a little respect for <shudder> Al Franken?

Link Posted: 12/25/2005 4:49:50 PM EDT
in Iraq they have had to make do with sometime pop singer and reality TV star Jessica Simpson.

They make this sound like a bad thing, doubt the troops were complaining.
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 4:58:59 PM EDT
In his day, Bob Hope would have shit down the necks of the weenies in ho-town and tapdanced on their "brains". Guy was an A++++++straight shooter and had more class and respect for the troops then anyone alive in ho-town today. Even in his 80s he was a class act for the troops.
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 5:02:40 PM EDT
Godsmack spent time with some Marines.


But yes, it's sad that there aren't too many stepping up. Far and few inbetween.
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 5:22:04 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/25/2005 5:23:30 PM EDT by Mattl]
If you were in Iraq would you want some two-faced hollywierd cocksucker coming to see you? Also apparently the power players in lalaland are all screaming liberals, if you come out as a conservative you can be blacklisted, I suspect that is the real reason.

Generally not a fan but the WWE has apparently made several trips and does many troop charities and events.
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 5:30:13 PM EDT
Bruce Willis was there with his band just a few weeks ago. Rob Scheineder is there from time to time.
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 5:36:19 PM EDT
If they went to Iraq that would mean they would have to take time out of their "busy" schedule of buying 1,000 dollar jeans and kicking back Red Bulls...
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 5:48:21 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Desperado:
50 Cent



Wow, did not expect this.


Link Posted: 12/25/2005 5:49:41 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/25/2005 5:52:02 PM EDT by ElevenO]
<south_park>"Dad, tom cruise locked himself in my closet and he won't come out."</south_park>
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 5:54:43 PM EDT
i saw a henry rollins show at my work where he was talking about tours to iraq. he mainly tours military hospitals now.
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 5:55:55 PM EDT

Originally Posted By SevenMMmag:

Originally Posted By Desperado:
50 Cent



Wow, did not expect this.





www.uso.org/pubs/tourarchive/21_56_10791.cfm

From 2004:

50 Cent & G-Unit Sept 7 Camp Anaconda Balad, Iraq

WOW..

+1 for 50 cent...

Link Posted: 12/25/2005 5:59:37 PM EDT
How typical. No mention of Afghanistan. The forgotten REAL war on terror.
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 6:40:44 PM EDT
Huge props to Robin Williams and Henry Rollins.

If they keep politics out of it and go for the pure entertainment of the troops, they're doing a great thing.

I don't have to agree with their politics, but what they are doing is outstanding.

Corey
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 6:48:39 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Desperado:
Iraq war 2003 - present

Robin Williams
50 Cent
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders



Didn't Toby do a show over there? Didn't we see Jessica Simpson and a bunch of other celebs over there? That list seems to have left some names off of it.
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 6:51:28 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/25/2005 6:53:39 PM EDT by www-glock19-com]
Bob hope and USO have been on all day on the military channel
Bob Hope was a real american


also Kid Rock and Jesse James went over
and a few other mentioned here did they go on their own of though a diffrent prograhm that the USO?
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 6:59:15 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/25/2005 7:00:47 PM EDT by MOS2111]
Drowning Pool. They did a 3 week tour...

ETA: WWF or WWE or whatever came to see us in Africa, so did several good, but no name bands...

If you need some cash and want to help the Troops and have a local band, MWR will scoop you up to go play in a heartbeat.
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 7:01:57 PM EDT
Toby Keith and Ted Nugent stopped by -stan and Iraq, they both did very personal shows in some of the far ends of the Iraq desert. 3 weeks after taking CMA EOY in 2004, Toby K was in a small base in Iraq with mortar fires in distance. My hat is off to all that did stop by, big name or not. We enjoyed something different for a few minutes and a break from the routine. The USO reminds us that there is another world to go back to.hug.gif
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 7:06:06 PM EDT
i believe that list is wrong, there has been numerous events put on in iraq and in afghan involving numerosu singers, country and rock and roll and rap. dont you remember kid rock putting on the cool show over there?
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 7:16:11 PM EDT
They also forgot to list Ann-Margret as a regular entertainer in VN.

I didn't know Wayne Newton took over for Bob Hope. Guess he goes up a few notches in my book.

Link Posted: 12/25/2005 7:34:01 PM EDT
Vince Vaughn came to Camp Victory this summer.
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 9:01:15 PM EDT
Tom Green also if I remeber correct.
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 10:33:46 PM EDT
Toby Keith and Ted Nugent stopped by -stan and Iraq, they both did very personal shows in some of the far ends of the Iraq desert.

Yes, they did. A big thumbs up!
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 11:25:15 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Billybob2002:

Originally Posted By SevenMMmag:

Originally Posted By Desperado:
50 Cent



Wow, did not expect this.





www.uso.org/pubs/tourarchive/21_56_10791.cfm

From 2004:

50 Cent & G-Unit Sept 7 Camp Anaconda Balad, Iraq

WOW..

+1 for 50 cent...




I suddenly have a small glimmer of respect for rap artists now...

I have to go lay down.
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 11:33:56 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Daytona955i:

Originally Posted By Billybob2002:

Originally Posted By SevenMMmag:

Originally Posted By Desperado:
50 Cent



Wow, did not expect this.





www.uso.org/pubs/tourarchive/21_56_10791.cfm

From 2004:

50 Cent & G-Unit Sept 7 Camp Anaconda Balad, Iraq

WOW..

+1 for 50 cent...




I suddenly have a small glimmer of respect for rap artists now...

I have to go lay down.



I don't agree with their philosophy, but Rap artists have no lack of testicularity. Same can be said for a few Country Music singers and a few actors like Bruce Willis. The "macho" men according to Hollywood, like Alec Baldwin, have testicles the size of peas.
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 11:37:40 PM EDT
Bruce Willis has been to both Iraq and Afganistan, several times, I believe
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 12:06:36 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/26/2005 10:06:13 AM EDT by tyman]

Originally Posted By Nimrod1193:
Damn, who would think that I would read an article that would cause me to have even a little respect for <shudder> Al Franken?



Yeah....no matter what his political affiliation is, he really is a pretty awesome guy. I didnt get to talk to him but I sat near him and heard him talking with a few guys.
ETA: I meant as far as talking with troops and being easily accessible whenever one struck up a conversation with him. I am not commenting on his lifestyle or what he says in any way/shape/form. Just from what I saw, being around the troops.

Didnt really get to be around anyone else except Traylor Howard a little and the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders........which btw, the blonde that came, is FREAKING hot.
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 12:38:20 AM EDT
50 cent was just scoping out the possible crack market in Iraq!
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 12:58:28 AM EDT
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 1:21:19 AM EDT

Originally Posted By sixgunsblazing:
Bruce Willis has been to both Iraq and Afganistan, several times, I believe



Yep. He is a stand up guy.
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 2:55:53 AM EDT
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 3:50:58 AM EDT
The Vandals went on tour over in Iraq for the troops. A lot of their Euro concerts got cancelled after that and they even got ran out of one town. But most people here wont know who the Vandals are anyways so it doesnt matter.
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 4:01:49 AM EDT

Originally Posted By raf:

Originally Posted By Nimrod1193:
Damn, who would think that I would read an article that would cause me to have even a little respect for <shudder> Al Franken?




Relax.

If Franken does something, it's for his sake, not anybody else's.

He's doing this because:

He's a critic of the war, and wants to avoid the charges of spineless liberal weasel and of not supporting the troops.

He's most likely running for the US Senate from Minnesota, and this will look very good on his resume.

How do I know that it's all about him? Easy. I listen to his show (opposition research), and he cannot go more than 3 minutes without mentioning that he has been in Iraq entertaining the troops. I kid you not.



+1 Franken is a dickhead of the highest degree.
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 4:04:06 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Nimrod1193:
Damn, who would think that I would read an article that would cause me to have even a little respect for <shudder> Al Franken?




If you8 think he's doing this for the right reasons than we disagree.
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 4:05:47 AM EDT
Bunch of the WWF folks have gone over every year.

One of the first trips Vince took,




Steve Austin, bigger pic, linked as URL.
home.bak.rr.com/varmintcong/misc/Steve20SPR.jpg
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 4:49:58 AM EDT

Originally Posted By AlaskaJohn:
Lt Dan Band


That's pretty cool.
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 7:37:59 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/26/2005 7:38:50 AM EDT by Unicorn]
Daryl Worley was in Afganistan at least once, and I managed to get a glimpse of the Washington Redskin cheerleaders in Kuwait as I was heading home for leave. They had just landed as we were getting ready to fly home. Ok, maybe not real celebrities, but they were hot.
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 7:50:52 AM EDT
No matter what you think of WWE,
those guys have a long tradition of
coming overseas to see troops.

I was in Kuwait in '96 and, we had numerous wrestlers
come out to see us in our podunk camp.

The reception was so good, they sent the chopper back
to Camp Doha, and, got another load of
wrestlers to come out.
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 7:55:01 AM EDT
so much for their " We support the troops, but not the war" rheteric
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 8:01:59 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Goonboss:
No matter what you think of WWE,
those guys have a long tradition of
coming overseas to see troops.

I was in Kuwait in '96 and, we had numerous wrestlers
come out to see us in our podunk camp.

The reception was so good, they sent the chopper back
to Camp Doha, and, got another load of
wrestlers to come out.



+1 They do it because they love to do it.
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 8:03:48 AM EDT

Originally Posted By bulldog1967:

Originally Posted By Goonboss:
No matter what you think of WWE,
those guys have a long tradition of
coming overseas to see troops.

I was in Kuwait in '96 and, we had numerous wrestlers
come out to see us in our podunk camp.

The reception was so good, they sent the chopper back
to Camp Doha, and, got another load of
wrestlers to come out.



+1 They do it because they love to do it.



I watched that show and man were my eyes watery..... I have HUGE amounts of respects for that organization now.
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 8:08:50 AM EDT

Originally Posted By SevenMMmag:

Originally Posted By Desperado:
50 Cent



Wow, did not expect this.





Why not? He called Kanye West out for his criticisms of Bush...and he owns Mike Tyson's old house, which has a gun ranger in the basement...
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 8:17:51 AM EDT

Originally Posted By tyman:

Originally Posted By Nimrod1193:
Damn, who would think that I would read an article that would cause me to have even a little respect for <shudder> Al Franken?



Yeah....no matter what his political affiliation is, he really is a pretty awesome guy. I didnt get to talk to him but I sat near him and heard him talking with a few guys.




Exhibit 892....
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 8:19:44 AM EDT

Originally Posted By chapperjoe:

Originally Posted By Nimrod1193:
Damn, who would think that I would read an article that would cause me to have even a little respect for <shudder> Al Franken?




If you8 think he's doing this for the right reasons than we disagree.



+1...it's for his Senate run coming up...

by that time I'm sure everyone will know it, because he will bring it up ad naseum...
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 8:23:09 AM EDT

Originally Posted By squeezecockerp7m8:

Originally Posted By tyman:

Originally Posted By Nimrod1193:
Damn, who would think that I would read an article that would cause me to have even a little respect for <shudder> Al Franken?



Yeah....no matter what his political affiliation is, he really is a pretty awesome guy. I didnt get to talk to him but I sat near him and heard him talking with a few guys.




Exhibit 892....



You're a fucking moron.

I figured that Al Franken and you would be best buddies, being flaming homosexual liberals and all.



Dont fucking bring stuff in other threads and let it spill over into every other single thread. Only idiotic, dumbfuck trolls do that. But if the shoe fits I guess...
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 9:56:35 AM EDT
Franken is Borderline Insane. He almost physically attacked someone at the Annual National Press Dinner in front of Sean Hannity and others. If you think he is a good guy, you don't know human nature.
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 10:14:36 AM EDT
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 12:20:19 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 12:23:30 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/26/2005 12:25:13 PM EDT by TheKill]

Originally Posted By MOS2111:
Drowning Pool. They did a 3 week tour...

ETA: WWF or WWE or whatever came to see us in Africa, so did several good, but no name bands...

If you need some cash and want to help the Troops and have a local band, MWR will scoop you up to go play in a heartbeat.



Who is MWR, and do you have contact info? (See my Bio).



Seriously, if I had sold more than a couple thou records, I would be over there like yesterday. I think it would be great to play for the troops and bring them a big helping of good old American rock and roll!
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 12:26:40 PM EDT

Originally Posted By SevenMMmag:

Originally Posted By Desperado:
50 Cent



Wow, did not expect this.





50 cent is big on the military and pro-Bush, I wish I still had the link to his interview with BET or MTV news where he said he idolizes Bush.
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 12:27:31 PM EDT

Originally Posted By FatCobra:
How typical. No mention of Afghanistan. The forgotten REAL war on terror.



Ya, lots of action in Afghanistan right now...
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