U.S. deploys 'Zsa Zsa Saddam'
TIKRIT, Iraq -- He has been portrayed as a monster, a murderer, and a genocidal dictator.
Now U.S. troops are giving us a whole new vision of Saddam Hussein -- a blonde-haired movie goddess with rouged lips and a low-cut blouse.
"Zsa Zsa Saddam" is one of a series spoof images of the ousted Iraqi dictator that are due to be posted on walls and billboards around his former stronghold of Tikrit by troops of the 4th Infantry Division's 1st Battalion 22nd Armoured Regiment.
The idea is both to boost the morale of U.S. soldiers, ridicule the deposed leader and, also, help identify those who are still loyal to Saddam.
"The bad guys are going to be upset," Lieutenant-Colonel Steve Russell told Reuters. "Which will just make it easier for us to know who they are."
Sergeant David Cade, a psychological operations specialist, added: "It's mostly good for troop morale, but if we can put these posters up in Tikrit and the enemy can't take them down, then at least it shows who owns the streets."
In the images Saddam's face has been superimposed onto pictures of various Hollywood heroines and other stars. As well as a curvaceous Zsa Zsa Saddam -- after movie legend Zsa Zsa Gabor -- there is a buxom Rita Hayworth Saddam, a hip-swivelling Elvis Saddam and even a leather-and-spangle-clad Billy Idol Saddam.
The pictures have been taken from website www.worth1000.com, which specialises in spoof images of famous people.
While Russell insists that most local people "will love 'em and be laughing," there are nonetheless concerns that, far from aiding the American cause, the images will only serve to increase anti-American feeling among ordinary Iraqis.
The Billy Idol Saddam, for instance, is portrayed with a gold crucifix around his neck, someything that could well cause offense in a Muslim country such as Iraq. Likewise images of scantily clad women.
"I think this type of activity by U.S. forces will only further anger the Muslim population of Iraq," Inayat Bunglawala, a spokesman for the Muslim Council of Great Britain, told CNN.
"This clear flaunting of Islamic Law by displaying pictures of scantily clad women will only add fuel to sentiments that the U.S. is trying to undermine Muslim culture in Iraq. It risks alienating the actual population."
Uday, a 22-year old translator working with U.S forces in Tikrit, agreed.
"Maybe its funny for the soldiers," he told Reuters, "But I think most local Iraqis will find it very insulting."
CNN's Jane Arraf contributed to this report