The Republic of Uzbekistan reiterated its support for the U.S.-led coalition against terrorism today, but refused to allow USO headliner Wayne Newton to perform anywhere within its borders.
The foreign ministry of Uzbekistan issued a tersely worded statement that seemed to indicate that their thumbs-down decision on Wayne Newton was irrevocable.
"While the government of Uzbekistan enjoyed 'Danke Schoen' and some of his early hits, we have found Mr. Newton's Vegas act to be tacky, tired and uninspired," the official Uzbek statement said.
"In particular," the statement continued, "the government of Uzbekistan cannot and will not condone Mr. Newton's rendition of 'Bad, Bad Leroy Brown'."
A source close to the Uzbekistan government said that the Uzbeks would agree to allow such entertainers as Tony Orlando, Rich Little, or even the comedian Gallagher to appear in Uzbekistan, "but not Wayne Newton."
"They've really got this thing about him," the source added.
At the Pentagon, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld attempted to downplay the Newton-Uzbekistan flap.
"In this coalition, different partners will be doing different things," said Rumsfeld. "Some will be doing things you can see, and others will be doing things you can't see. Some will be offering troops, and others will be offering intelligence. Some will allow Wayne Newton to perform, and others will not. Uzbekistan, clearly, will not."
Pentagon sources hinted that the administration is currently attempting to convince another coalition partner, Tajikistan, to allow Wayne Newton to perform on its soil, but at the present time, "it doesn't look good."