Looking for the Stars' Support in Wartime

From World War II to the conflict in Afghanistan, Tinseltown's brightest stars have traveled overseas to entertain the troops.

But things are different for Operation Iraqi Freedom. So far, the only thing the Motion Picture Association of America has offered to do for the military is send over some DVDs.

"They are helping people feel a little more comfortable where they are, but that is all you are going to see right now," said Michael Speier, assistant managing editor at the trade entertainment magazine, Daily Variety.

Some traditionalists -- and even many insiders -- don’t think that’s enough.

"Hollywood can do a much better job than it is doing right at this moment," said Johnny Grant, the honorary mayor of Hollywood.

Grant should know. Having been on 56 USO tours, and having shared the stage with the likes of Bob Hope and Gen. Tommy Franks, Grant is an expert in Hollywood's relationship with the troops. In fact, he was the creator and producer of the "Welcome Home Desert Storm" parade honoring America's fighting men and women from the Persian Gulf War.

"More people could be going to Korea, Kuwait, Okinawa," he said. "More people could be going to the stateside bases and saying hello to the dependents."

There are a number of reasons why celebrities are MIA from this war. Speier said many stars’ feelings about President George W. Bush might explain Hollywood’s attitude about Operation Iraqi Freedom.

"What they are against, and have been since Bush won the election, is this administration’s policies, especially since it is such a change from the Clinton administration," said Speier.

But there could be more practical reasons for entertainers deciding not to perform for the troops just yet, such as the active combat soldiers are engaged in.

"There have always been stars going overseas, but you’re not going to see that right now," Speier said. "You might see it at the end of the conflict when things are dying down and a retrenchment period has begun."

Speier said the stars also might not want to overshadow the seriousness of the war and the work of the troops by inserting themselves in the mix.

"The conflict is raging right now," he said. "Nobody really wants to think that an actor is so important that he can go over and change that."

But Grant would rather see a revival of the mood of wars past. He laments the difference between the glitterati’s attitude during World War II versus now.

"In World War II, anybody who worked in Hollywood jumped at the opportunity to go," he said. "Unfortunately, it isn’t the case now. I’d be much happier if we were sending more people over."

While many celebrities refuse to support the White House, insiders say they'll eventually come out in support of the soldiers. With a large percentage of audiences firmly behind American troops, Hollywood can’t afford to be on the opposite side.

"I think Hollywood will come around," Grant said. "It is very important, and it is part of our tradition."

Fox News' Catherine Donaldson-Evans contributed to this report.