3/17/91 at 7:00 PM
Saddam Hussein was highly original, if wrong, when he predicted the gulf land war would be "the mother of all battles." But what others later said wasn't so original. A computer search of the expression spits out a virtual ocean of bad puns and dopey wordplay. Mike Royko, on media coverage of the war: "This will be the mother of all journalistic changes." The Toronto Star, on the war: "...the mother of retreats." The Boston Globe, on TV coverage: "Images are the mother of all words." White House spokesman Roman Popadiuk, on James Baker: "[He will take] the mother of all trips." London's Sunday Times, on the war: "...the mother of all routs." And NEWSWEEK's own Conventional Wisdom Watch, on Saddam's predicament: "...the mother of all corners." This is truly mother of all cliches.