Saddam: The Snack Spokesman?

GENERIC Saddam Hussein cheetos doritos
This column was written by CBS News Early Show Co-Anchor Harry Smith.
By now you heard some of the stories of the Pennsylvania National Guard guys who spent a good portion of their time in Iraq guarding Saddam Hussein. I met two of them yesterday - John Paco Reese and Sean O'Shea.

This is a kind of the Abu Ghraib story in reverse.

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The young soldiers were given guidelines which they followed to the letter and over the months Hussein ended up telling them all kinds of things. Like the fact that he still believes he's president and that he will resume his position of power someday.

And no, he wasn't hiding weapons of mass destruction nor did he have a relationship with Osama bin Laden. When I asked the soldiers if they believed him, they laughed.

The military was so concerned that Hussein was losing weight, they started giving him Cheetos. When the Cheetos ran out the guards started supplying him with Doritos. And in the words of the guards, once he tried the Doritos, there was no going back to Cheetos. In fact Saddam is known to devour an entire family-size bag in one ten-minute session.

Crafty marketers will see an opportunity here. Think of the possibilities. "Despots like Doritos, do you?"

For the record I talked with a Frito-Lay PR guy today who said, yes they knew of the story, and no, they haven't had any meetings about it. You have to confess though, it's an image that hard to shake: Saddam in his tightie-whities, bag of taco chips in hand, crumbs in his beard, wondering, "How did this happen to me?"

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on manyCBS Radio News affiliates across the country.

By Harry Smith