Tuesday, June 21, 2005
NEW YORK, June 20 -- Saddam Hussein loves Doritos, hates Froot Loops, admired President Ronald Reagan, thinks Bill Clinton was "okay" 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 Guard troops who went to Iraq in 2003 and were assigned to Hussein'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 Hussein was a "high-value detainee," awaiting trial by Iraqi authorities for mass killings and other crimes.
The five National Guardsmen told GQ of their personal interactions with Hussein, 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 Spec. Jesse Dawson, 25, of Berwick, Pa.
The Pentagon did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the article.
The GIs recalled that Hussein 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 Hussein as saying.
Spec. Sean O'Shea, then 19, of Minooka, Pa., said Hussein later mellowed in that view. "Towards 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 peace with him," he told the magazine.
Dawson quoted Hussein as saying: "He knows I have nothing, no mass weapons. He knows he'll never find them."