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Guards reveal details of Saddam's life behind bars

From Brian Todd
CNN

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS

Wolf Blitzer Reports
Pentagon
Iraq
Saddam Hussein

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- He snubbed his nose at the West and wagged his finger at an Iraqi judge, but to a group of 20-something American men, Saddam Hussein has apparently opened up.

In the July issue of GQ magazine, five soldiers from a Pennsylvania National Guard unit reveal intimate details of the nearly 10 months they stood watch over Saddam in his cell.

What did the man many called the "Butcher of Baghdad" like for breakfast?

"He had French toast. He had eggs. He didn't -- no pork, 'cause he's Muslim. They don't eat pork. And then he did have cereal," says Spc. Sean O'Shea.

There's mixed news for Kellogg's here. The former dictator, according to his guards, hated Fruit Loops but loved Raisin Bran Crunch.

Frito-Lay also had some items on the menu.

"From the mess hall we got a big box of those little bags of Cheetos. And so, for a midday snack we were told to get him the Cheetos. And then one day we ran out of Cheetos -- all we had was Doritos. And that's all he talked about. That's all he wanted to eat after that," O'Shea said.

According to the article, in between family-sized bags of Doritos, the guards say Saddam found time to offer them personal advice.

"He told him about what kind of girl to have," says Cpl. Jonathan Reese.

His reported counsel to O'Shea: Find a woman not too smart, not too dumb, not too old, not too young.

But the GQ account of Saddam's captivity goes beyond the trivial.

Speaking about President Bush, Saddam told his guards, "He knows I have nothing, no mass weapons. He knows he'll never find them."

The article also reports that Saddam told his captors the night the "shock and awe" campaign began, he tried to escape his palace in a taxicab.

The guards quote him as saying, "America, they dumb. They bomb wrong palace."

And, according to one soldier, Saddam told him he never had a relationship with Osama bin Laden.

We contacted the Pentagon for response to Saddam's reported comments about bin Laden, weapons of mass destruction and the allied bombing campaign. A Pentagon spokesman said it would be inappropriate for the Department of Defense to respond to any information in the GQ article.

According to GQ, Saddam is convinced he'll return to power someday and invited his young American guards to visit him when he does.

The guards said Saddam showed an affinity for Ronald Reagan and Dan Rather, but is not too keen on the Bush family.

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