Reuters reports that the U.S. Marine Corps continue to deny that Josh Gracin, one of the nine remaining finalists on American Idol, is being given any special treatment by remaining stateside during the current American-led war against Iraq. As we reported previously, Josh's mother appears to be one of the people who believes otherwise.

A Marine spokesperson was quoted as saying, "Since day one, there has been no special exclusion made for him. If his unit deploys, then he deploys with them." To be allowed to stay in the Hollywood Hills with the other remaining Idol contestants, Josh is using some of his annual leave -- but the leave would end at once were he summoned to combat.

However, the likelihood of Josh shipping out is probably about the same as the likelihood of Saddam Hussein winning Survivor: Baghdad. The spokesperson also noted that "we consider he is doing a really good job representing the Marine Corps on the show." Therefore, Josh probably doesn't need to worry about his orders to Iraq coming through any sooner than, say, the day after he gets booted. As they say, sometimes Mom knows best.

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