Published October 22, 2003
| Associated Press
CAIRO, Egypt – Iraq's former information minister said Wednesday that Saddam Hussein (search) was elated at the start of the Iraq war, but quickly became angry upon learning of his troops' losses.
Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf (search) -- who gained notoriety during the war for making absurd claims of Iraqi military victories -- made his comments during an interview on Abu Dhabi Television.
During the first four days of the war, which began March 20, al-Sahhaf said Saddam was "in a state of ecstasy" about the progress of his soldiers in Basra (search), in southern Iraq.
"But to the contrary, he was angry when reports reached him that Baath Party units' fighting was bad, and he immediately changed their leaders with military officers," he said.
During previous appearances on the station, the defiant al-Sahhaf always stood up for Saddam and the former Iraqi regime.
"I don't regret what I did. I have done my duty as an Iraqi," he said Wednesday.
He disappeared April 9, the day Baghdad fell, and reportedly hid in a relative's home. He claims he surrendered to U.S. forces, was questioned and released, as he was not included in the list of 55 most wanted Iraqi officials.
He also said Saddam's days of leadership are over.
"History does not move backward and he [Saddam] has no chance to return [to power]; He who says so is ignorant of the reality of life. This subject is finished," al-Sahhaf said.
Asked by a viewer whether Saddam was a good or bad person, al-Sahhaf said: "History will judge Saddam Hussein, either positively or negatively."
Al-Sahhaf cast doubts about mass graves found after the fall of the regime.
"This issue should be investigated thoroughly and decided by the court because there is a lot of inaccurate stories about it," he said. He did not elaborate.