BAGHDAD, Iraq – Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein said in an interview televised Wednesday that his country is preparing to defend itself vigorously against a U.S.-led attack.
"We hope that the attack will not take place. But we are bracing ourselves to meet such an attack. To face it," Saddam told CBS's "60 Minutes II."
Network anchor Dan Rather interviewed Saddam at one of his presidential palaces in Baghdad on Monday. The network has been releasing excerpts of the interview for two days and broadcast most of it on Wednesday.
Saddam also said his country did not lose the 1991 Persian Gulf War, that his country has never had a relationship with Usama bin Laden or the Al Qaeda terrorist group, and that his country has no missiles that go beyond United Nations prescribed ranges.
But he said that if attacked, the country is prepared to defend itself.
"It is our duty, it is our responsibility to defend our country, to defend our children, to defend our people, and we are not going to succumb, neither to the United States nor to any other power," Saddam said. according to a transcript CBS released of the three-hour interview.
Asked if he was afraid of being killed or captured, Saddam responded: "Whatever Allah decides."
"There is no value for any life without ... faith," he said. "The believers, while taking caution and care and trying to veer out and avoid any dangers and any traps ... the believer still believes that what God decides is acceptable."
Rather said that he was driven with a producer in three different cars in different directions around Baghdad before arriving at Saddam's Republican Palace for the interview. The Iraqis provided three cameras for the interview and provided a videotape, Rather said. Saddam spoke to Rather with the help of two translators, and Rather said CBS translators compared the translation with their own and found it to be accurate.
Saddam also proposed a debate with President Bush. He said that he would speak with Bush live via satellite so that Bush can make his case for War, and Saddam make his for peace.
"On films we see that the Americans are courageous. When challenged to a duel they will not back down," he said. "This will be an opportunity for him to convince the world, if he is committed to war. ... It could also be an opportunity for us ... to tell the world our own side of the story. And why we want to live in peace, and security."