Push the button... he curses infidels

Now, you can have your own talking Iraqi information minister

April 27, 2003|By Meagan Dilks | Meagan Dilks,Sun Staff

Disinformation, it seems, sells.

Iraq's former information minister, Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf, did not make a very convincing spokesman when he subbed for the absent Saddam Hussein earlier this month. But now he's selling like hotcakes -- as the inspiration for a new talking "action figure" that repeats some of his most memorable statements.

Herobuilders.com, a Con-necticut manufacturer of novelty dolls, began selling the figure in just the past few weeks, and already the "dis-information minister" doll is on back order, and an updated version has been added to the company's line.

The animated Sahhaf became notorious during the war in Iraq for his defiant statements of impending Iraqi victory even as U.S. and British soldiers were knocking on Baghdad's door.

The doll, which retails for $35.95 on the Herobuilders site, repeats some of those statements, including: "Our initial assessment is that they will all die," "There are no American infidels in Baghdad. Never!" and "My feelings are as usual, we will slaughter them all." A nontalking version is also available for $24.95.

Company owner Emil Vicale says the dolls have been selling in the thousands: "We haven't even had time to calculate the numbers."

His company designs its action figures using "rapid technology," which can churn out a new doll design in only three days. Vicale said he came up with the idea for the doll a few weeks ago, but not as quickly as he would have liked.

"I was so amused by the guy that I didn't even think about making a doll of him," Vicale said. "One morning as I was waiting for him to come on the news, I realized I needed to get to work and make him into an action figure."

He said orders for the minister doll have been coming from all over, including Japan, Austra-lia, Canada, Great Britain, Germany, Denmark and Sweden. Last week, he receiv-ed a request from Kuwait seeking a bulk order that could be resold in that country.

Next up from Herobuilders, Vicale says: Dolls of the presidents of France, Germany and Russia, to be sold beginning next week as a boxed set: "Friend or Foe -- You Decide."

Sun staff writer Candus Thomson contributed to this report.

Wind Them Up

A few suggestions for other Iraq war action figures Herobuilders.com might consider:

* The Geraldo Rivera war correspondent action figure: Pull cord and it draws maps in the sand. Comes with ejector button.

* The Dixie Chick: Sings crossover hits, but comes with optional duct tape for troublesome mouth.

* The Rumsfeld Rhetorician: Pull cord and doll says, "Freedom is untidy" and "Who needs the U.N.?" Also answers its own questions.

* Kuwait Correspondent: Carefully coiffed doll offers sound bites from sunny hotel balcony overlooking pristine, unbombed city.

* Susan Sarandon-Tim Robbins dolls: Dressed in designer clothing, their posable fingers make peace sign. Hall of Fame official wielding Louisville Slugger sold separately.

-- Sun staff

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