With America at war and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on a rock concert tour, perhaps one of the touchiest questions that parents toting their tykes to the TMNT extravaganza are having to deal with is, "Why aren't the Turtles going over to help our soldiers?"

It's a valid question, after all. With all their martial-arts prowess and their totally radical, bad-guy-bashing weaponry, the Turtles certainly could be fighting off more formidable foes right now than a gaggle of tail-grabbing groupies. How can they be slinging guitars at a time like this?

"Well, basically, what we're trying to do now, dude, is battle evil through our music," says Raphael, the streetwise Turtle. "Once we got involved playing music, Master Splinter [the Turtles' sage sewer-rat mentor] taught us that music is a much more positive weapon than violence. He said, `It's really simple: If you fight with somebody, you make an enemy. But if you sing a song with somebody, you make a friend.'"

Before anyone gets the idea that the Turtles have mutated into a quartet of draft-resisting rock 'n' roll hippies, however, tour producer Steve Leber is quick to point out that the reptilian rockers are ready and rearin' to go to the Persian Gulf. Just as soon as President George Bush decides it's time to really kick some bogus butt.

"The facts are that we're waiting for approval from the government to go over there," says Leber. "We've already agreed to go over there and entertain the troops and even fight if necessary. Oh, yes, if called up, the Turtles are positively ready to go and fight with the guys."

The only reason the Turtles haven't been called up yet, Leber says, is because of their reputation for drawing overflow concert crowds. The U.S. government, apparently wants to avoid a situation where the dancing tortoises could attract a base full of sitting ducks.

"The Turtles put on a big show," explains Leber, "and the government didn't want to give the Iraqis a location where they'd know there would be a large concentration of troops. They want all the troops spread apart. So naturally they were nervous about our going over there and entertaining a large group of the guys and gals."

If and when the hard-shelled heroes are called into battle, the Turtles promise to take along some high-tech, evil-fighting gadgets that even our top military minds haven't seen.

"The Turtles have some secret weapons of their own that they'd be happy to bring over," says Leber. "They use them now in their show to get back at Shredder [their arch nemesis] for trying to take all the music out of the world."

The weapons are awesome, promises the producer--so cool they'd make a Scud look like crud. But, Leber refuses to reveal any more to a non-ticket holder.

"It's a secret," he says. "You'll have to come to the show."

"Mommy, why aren't the Turtles going over to help our soldiers?

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