NEW YORK – Saddam Hussein loves Doritos, hates Froot Loops, admires President Reagan, thinks Clinton was “OK” and considers both Presidents Bush “no good.” He talks a lot, worries about germs and insists he is still president of Iraq.
Those and other details of the deposed Iraqi leader’s life in U.S. military custody appear in the July issue of GQ magazine, based on interviews with five Pennsylvania National Guardsmen who went to Iraq in 2003 and were assigned to Saddam’s guard detail for nearly 10 months.
The magazine, which reached newsstands Monday, said the GIs could not tell their families what they were doing and signed pledges not to reveal the location or other details of the U.S.-run compound where Saddam was an HVD, or “high value detainee,” awaiting trial by Iraqi authorities for mass killings and other crimes.
The five soldiers told GQ of their personal interactions with Saddam, saying he spoke with them in rough English, was interested in their lives and even invited them back to Iraq when he returns to power.
“He’d always tell us he was still the president. That’s what he thinks, 100 percent,” said Spc. Jesse Dawson, 25, of Berwick, Pa.
The Pentagon did not immediately respond Monday to a request for comment on the article.
The GIs recalled that Saddam had harsh words for the Bushes, each of whom went to war against him.
“The Bush father, son, no good,” Cpl. Jonathan “Paco” Reese, 22, of Millville, Pa., quoted Saddam as saying.
Spc. Sean O’Shea, then 19, of Minooka, Pa., said Saddam later mellowed in that view. “Toward the end, he was saying that he doesn’t hold any hard feelings and he just wanted to talk to (George W.) Bush, to make friends with him,” he told the magazine.
Dawson quoted Saddam as saying: “He knows I have nothing, no mass weapons. He knows he’ll never find them.”
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