Safehouse or bachelor pad?
BAGHDAD, Iraq — The doors of the town house opened to reveal a playboy’s fantasy straight from the 1960s: mirrored bedroom, lamps shaped like women, air-brushed paintings of a topless blonde woman and a mustached hero battling a crocodile.
On the wall and in the bedroom were photos of Saddam Hussein and one of his mistresses. Military officials suspect they found one of the paranoid Iraqi leader’s many safe houses.
“This must have been Saddam’s love shack,” said Sgt. Spencer Willardson of Logan, Utah.
The split-level, one-bedroom town house is in a Baath Party enclave in an upscale neighborhood in central Baghdad where generals and senior party officials lived.
As U.S. officials set up command posts there, troops were going home by home, searching for looters and weapons.
Next door, where iron sheets were welded over all the windows, they found more than 6,000 Berretta pistols, 650 Sig Sauer pistols, 248 Colt Revolvers, 160 Belgian 7.65 mm pistols, 12 cases of Sterling submachine guns and four cases of anti-tank missiles, all still in the unopened original boxes. There were also tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition mortars and cases of old handguns and heavy machine guns.
Not far off was another presidential palace, this one with a Yugoslav-built, chemical and biological weapons-proof bunker underneath it. A U.S. Army team inspected it and it appeared to be strictly defensive in nature.
But this home was different: beanbag chairs, a garden of plastic plants, a sunken kitchen and a room for a servant, all 1960s-style.
The sunken wet bar was stocked with 20-year old Italian red wines and expensive cognacs, brandies and Scotch whiskeys, the same brands found in several presidential palaces.
The glassware, too, was the same pattern that was found in at least three palaces also visited by U.S. troops since the regime collapsed. The pattern features the Iraqi government seal and a gold pattern on the rim.
But when it came time to eat dinner, Saddam was served his food on the official fine china of the Kuwaiti royal family, complete with the family seal and gold and maroon trim.