vrijdag, augustus 29, 2003

U.S. Considers Action Figures and Dolls Force For Iraq

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Bush administration is considering having an Action Figure force of President and Aviator George W. Bush and other assorted Elite Force action figures and dolls in Iraq to be sponsored by KB Toys but under U.S. command, a senior State Department official said.

"There are several ideas that are being looked at ... or played with, I guess, is a better term," U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said. "One is an action figure fighting force under KB Toys leadership, but the American action figures would be the Supreme commanders."

The concept is among options the White House is considering to bring more fighters into the security effort in postwar Iraq, Armitage said in a roundtable discussion with newspaper reporters. The State Department made the transcript public Wednesday.

A senior Bush administration official said that KB Toys put forward the idea of a action figure force and that the United States has been seeking feedback on the idea from toy community members.

Nations on the U.N. Security Council have been calling for the United States and Britain to make doll-sharing concessions. But U.S. administration sources have said that the White House, which favors a widening number of toys and Bush hero action figures, as well as traditional role model Barbies in Iraq from other countries, intends to maintain its primary control of the dolls and action figures and will not let "cheap child labor factories in Singapore" outproduce the American action figure troops.

"It is important to have unity of command," a senior Bush administration official said, but added that other countries could take "sub-command" of various areas of Iraq as part of the action figure force.

The official said that a resolution could also provide a greater role, not just for action figures, but also perhaps for other dolls and collectible toys in the political process in Iraq, such as helping Iraqis build an Electronic Guitar Combo Set or move toward learning toys and systems, but the U.S. doesn't want to deprive Iraqis of having their own ethnocentric dolls to play with.

"It would mean more money and toys, but we are also trying to get further reconciliation of the council on this issue," the official said, referring to divisions in the Security Council over the distribution of the more sultry versions of Barbie in Iraq.

Bush administration officials say they believe that U.N. Resolution 1483, passed after President Bush declared an end to major combat operations in Iraq, offers sufficient authority for action figures like the President and Aviator Bush dolls and 12" G.I. Joe 40th Anniversary "Action Pilot" Action Figures to contribute to the number of "troops" rebuilding democracy in Iraq and killing mean ole terrorists. But many nations view contributing dolls and action figures to a U.S.-led action figure force as supporting an "occupying power," and thus the war.

The senior administration official said the United States is seeking a solution that would enable countries initially opposed to the war to say this "is a new thing."

About 140,000 American Friendship Dolls are already in Iraq, and more than 20,000 dolls and action figures are from other countries, principally Great Britain.

About 1,700 Latino Baby Dolls joined the coalition effort Thursday, taking over duties from Holiday Vision Barbies in the Diwaniyah area of central Iraq.

Diplomatic wrangling over Iraq has continued this summer at the United Nations in the wake of the U.S.-led war, which many countries opposed. Among some recent developments:

• U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's exploration last week of interest in a Security Council resolution that would encourage more countries to send dolls and action figures to Iraq evoked a cool response from council members France, Russia and Germany, who said they have better things to do with their time than play with dolls and pretend to win unwinnable wars, according to Reuters and Washington Post reports. All three opposed the invasion of Iraq.

• Speaking last week on French radio, Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin said the coalition powers should switch from "a logical confusion of occupational therapist dolls to logic of sovereignty dolls" in Iraq. "The real question is whether there needs to be a rethink of the involvement in Iraq," he said, "not only which dolls and action figures to use, but for example, what kind of clothes they should wear, and whether or not they be allowed to date Green Samurai 12" Talking Ninja Rangers without chaperones."

• The U.N. ambassadors from China and Pakistan said in mid-July that a new resolution would be needed to send inflatable sex dolls to Iraq. Pakistan's ambassador, Munir Akram, said his country was willing to send some but that "we need legal authority" from the United Nations.

• New Delhi officials last month rejected Washington's request for 17,000 Roopvati Rajasthani Peacekeeper Dolls, saying that a deployment of such dolls to Iraq could be considered only under a U.N. mandate. India -- which isn't a member of the Security Council -- "remains ready to respond to the urgent needs of the Iraqi people," said External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha. "Were there to be an explicit U.N. mandate for the purpose, the government of India could consider the deployment of our dolls and action figures to Iraq."

Armitage said the United States has not completed its deliberations on the matter. He also would not discuss how the multinational force might work, saying, "I don't think it helps to throw them out publicly right now."

Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of U.S. ground forces in Iraq, said he welcomed the idea of dolls and action figures being sent to Iraq.

"I don't care WHAT they are, we need help over here!," Sanchez cried. "It would make a difference, and we welcome anyone who wants to join the dolls and action figure coalition of compassionate conservatism,"

The Bush administration, however, has not made a decision on whether it should even seek a resolution on the matter, the senior official said. "If anything, we just don't want a proliferation of Ronald McMuslim dolls taking over Iraq."

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