The former Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein has claimed that in an affidavit presented to an Iraqi judge, he had pleaded guilty and also named a few accomplices. Mr. Hussein made this claim in an exclusive interview to this reporter. This interview was possible because Saddam was now officially in "Iraqi" hands and the "Iraqis" were "free" to do whatever they wanted with him.
The former dictator said that he wanted to get it out of his system and that the truth was "eating" him alive. He expressed hope that President Bush would punish the guilty to the fullest extent possible.
Asked what he felt about Bush, he said that the US President was essentially a good man but was being misled by crooks. These men, he claimed, hatched the biggest conspiracy theory since the Gulf of Tonkin incident to start a war. The recent Senate report on pre-war intelligence, he said, "proved just that."
Saddam claimed that he was an American ally and that America supported him all through the 80s. He said he did not really understand what happened in the 90s.
It all started in 1983, he said, when Donald Rumsfled came to Baghdad with a hand-written letter from the then President Ronald Reagan seeking to re-establish diplomatic and trade relations. This happened when his military was busy using chemical weapons on Iranian soldiers.
The next year, Reagan administration removed Iraq from the list of terrorism-sponsoring nations. The former dictator acknowledged the Bob Woodward's 1986 report in the Washington Post that the CIA was helping him in the use of chemical weapons as true. The American Type Culture Collection made 70 shipments of the anthrax and other pathogenic agents to Iraq.
He even cited the 1994 US Senate report titled "U.S. Chemical and Biological Warfare-Related Dual Use
Exports to Iraq and Their Possible Impact on the Health Consequences of the Persian Gulf War." The Reagan administration shipped chemical and biological weapon labs and intermediaries to Iraq through third countries such as Chile, Israel, and Italy.
Asked what he was doing when he was in hiding from the Americans, Saddam said he spent the time downloading illegal movies from the Internet and watching tapes of Mohammed Al-Sahaf's press conferences. Asked how he was treated after he was captured, Mr. Hussein reassured this reporter that he was being treated humanely . To demonstrate this, he flashed a thumbs-up sign at one of the guards, who returned a friendly middle-finger salute. "See," he said, "they still love me."