Debating Iraq at OZZY's

The following item was published in today's edition of the New York Daily News:

Elizabeth Taylor and Justin Timberlake were the guests of honor at a benefit Elton John gave with Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne Wednesday night in L.A. But the names of two other well-known people were on everybody's lips: Bush and Saddam.

"We all discussed whether to move forward with this event tonight," Sharon told the crowd, which had gathered in the garden of her Beverly Hills home to support Elton's AIDS foundation and her own colon-cancer charity.

"We decided to continue because, war or no war, we are all fighting the war against AIDS and cancer," she went on. "At the same time, we should all say a big prayer for the American and British men and women who are risking their lives."

Taylor, who got a twinkly pinky ring from Elton, had to leave early because of a stomach virus — but not before saying exactly what she thought of the war.

"The thought sickens me beyond belief," she told us. "I was a refugee when I came to this country because of World War II. I listened to the radio all the time and thought, 'Why don't the Americans do something?' Now I think, 'What the [bleep] are the Americans doing by saying [to Saddam], 'Pack up your bags, mount a camel and get out of town!' What if someone said that to Bush?

"You don't think [terrorists] are going to retaliate? You don't think they're going to bomb the s--- out of us? It's going to be terrifying."

Tony Bennett, who performed, also recalled "the horror" he saw as an infantryman in WWII.

"That was a good war - it had to be done," he told us. "This isn't a good war. If the whole army isn't together, we're not going to win. I'm hurt by what's happening in this country."

Sly Stallone, there with wife Jennifer Flavin, showed none of Rambo's enthusiasm for battle.

"I've been on the fence about it," he said. "It's the first time America has gone after someone as a protective move. But I believe we have righteousness on our side."

Elton, who sported a diamond peace symbol on his lapel, said, "I'm not for the war. I love America. [But] you can't say you're against the war without being called a traitor. Now that the decision has been made, we have to hope that it will be quick."

Sharon Osbourne, feeling weak from a chemotherapy treatment, almost didn't make it down from her bedroom to mingle with the guests.

"I told her if she comes down those stairs, I'm going to chase her back up," Elton said.

She defied him, looking fantastic in a low-cut black gown.

"Sharon, I [bleeping] adore you," said Elton, forgiving her. He even confided that "My drag name is Sharon. So you get two Sharons for the price of one."

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