As for company, he'd welcome the late President Ronald Reagan, or even the "okay" Bill Clinton, but either President Bush would be "no good," according to the five American soldiers who for nearly 10 months watched the deposed – and germophobic – Iraqi leader.
The soldiers tell their story to GQ magazine, and from it a surprisingly friendly, even fatherly portrait of Saddam emerges.
One soldier – a bachelor – remembers Saddam "started telling me what to do. ... He was like, 'You gotta find a good woman. Not too smart, not too dumb. Not too old, not too young. One that can cook and clean.' "
Iraqi Special Tribunal / AP
"Then he started laughing," says a soldier. "He goes, 'America, they dumb. They bomb wrong palace.' "
However, the article goes on to quote Saddam (via the soldiers) as saying that he would like to speak to George W. Bush, "to make peace with him. ... He knows I have nothing, no mass weapons. He knows he'll never find them."
The soldiers also say Hussein claims he never had dealings with Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, and "He still thinks he's the president."
Saddam, 68, spends his time telling jokes, writing poetry and tending his garden, according to the soldiers – all five of whom have returned home. Hussein will face trial before an Iraqi tribunal on charges of crimes against humanity. No court date has been set.