President Saddam Hussein told his military commanders Saturday to keep their cool and confidence if the faceoff with the United States blows up into a war.

"I am your leader and I am confident that you will defeat the enemy," Saddam told the generals at a meeting televised on Iraqi state television.

"There is an important point I want to emphasize here: Keep your temper for the right moment," he said, adding that they should watch for signs of impatience and frustration by an invader.

"When you see that the enemy losing its temper, it is time to use your weapons in the right moment," he said. "Don't be late or don't be hasty concerning deployment of troops."

Broadcasts of Saddam offering advice to Iraq's military leaders have become standard fair on state TV as the crisis has intensified.

The broadcasts appear aimed at convincing Iraqis that Saddam remains in firm control of the military and that the forces are capable of repelling an invasion.