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TV political satirist Stephen Colbert says he was inspired to go to Iraq after seeing reports from Baghdad eclipsed by coverage of the economic crisis. ((Jason DeCrow/Associated Press))

Stephen Colbert's long-awaited USO trip to the Persian Gulf will take him to Baghdad, the TV satirist has revealed.

His hit political satire The Colbert Report will film four shows, each before an audience of about 450 troops, next week as part of a series dubbed "Operation Iraqi Stephen: Going Commando." The dates and exact location of the trip were withheld for the past few months for security reasons.

Colbert's visit is being billed as the first time anyone has broadcast from Iraq as part of a USO tour.

"Sometimes my character and I agree," Colbert said in an interview with The Associated Press in Manhattan before leaving for Baghdad.

"My character and I both know the Apostles' Creed and my character and I both think it's a shame that we're not talking about the troops anymore."

After noticing coverage of the economic crisis eclipse the issue of Iraq, Colbert — a vocal supporter of and fundraiser for the troops — said he felt impelled to take the trip

"I don't want to forget that people are struggling through the things that I sometimes make jokes about," he said.

The show will send about 30 production staff members to Iraq, with the goal of producing four shows to air Monday through Thursday next week.

Established in 1941 to provide entertainment and comfort to American troops stationed worldwide, the USO is most often associated with comedian Bob Hope, who was one of its most ardent supporters. However, several celebrity personalities have taken part in USO tours over the years, from Canadian bandleader Guy Lombardo to screen siren Marilyn Monroe.

With files from The Associated Press