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Home >> World
UPDATED: 11:21, June 22, 2005
Guards describe Saddam's life in jail
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Saddam Hussein likes munching nacho chips, plays a mean game of ping-pong and thought Ronald Reagan was OK. He has dreams of making a comeback in Iraq, even though he is reduced to washing his own under pants in his prison sink, US military guards revealed on Monday.

Five returned Pennsylvania National Guardsmen who were assigned to supervise Saddam in jail said that the accused war criminal writes poorly worded poetry, chats about women and sometimes dances alone in his cell. He receives Cuban cigars in Red Cross packages from his daughters in Jordan and even shares them with his captors. He once told the men an off-colour joke about three men and a sheep.

Convinced that he is still president of his nation, Saddam invited the soldiers to visit Iraq once he is acquitted and back in power, they told GQ magazine. "I will show you all around my country. You are like sons to me," he said, adding, " It is not beautiful now, but it will be when I am back in charge."

"He was a very bad man, but when we had him, he was also a broken man," said Jesse Dawson, 25, who left his job at a bottling plant to serve in Iraq.

His testimony reveals details about Saddam's escape at the start of the war and his capture in a spider-hole near his hometown of Tikrit.

Saddam told his captors that when the bombing of Baghdad began on March 20, 2003, he tried to flee his palace in a taxi. But the bombers attacked the palace to which he was fleeing. "America, they dumb," he told the soldiers. "They bomb wrong palace."

He said he took refuge in the spider-hole with a book when warned that troops were close. Only one person knew he was down there and he turned him in. "One day he said, 'Do you know Judas?' " recalled Sean O'Shea, 19, who joined the National Guard to pay for a college education. "He compared himself to Jesus, how Judas told on Jesus. He was like, 'That's how it was for me'."

The guardsmen were under orders not to initiate conversation but to be civil if he did so, without revealing any information about their personal lives. Although apprehensive at first, they soon warmed to Saddam, who greeted them in English.

Specialist O'Shea, who guarded him for 298 days, wrote in his diary: "Part of me wanted to punch him in the face. Another part wanted to know what was going on in his head."

Source: China Daily

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