Saddam Hussein prefers bullet over noose

A thinner but combative Saddam Hussein told the court Wednesday he would prefer to die by firing squad rather than hang "like a common criminal," as the defiant ex-president made his final scheduled appearance before the tribunal until it renders a verdict. The prosecution has asked for the death penalty for Saddam and two of the other seven defendants for their role in the deaths of Shi'ite Muslims in a crackdown following a 1982 assassination attempt against the Iraqi ruler in Dujail. Saddam, dressed in a white, open-collar shirt and dark jacket, appeared to hear his court-appointed attorney read a final summation, arguing that prosecution witnesses and documents failed to link the ex-president to any of the atrocities in Dujail. But none of that set well with the 69-year-old Saddam, who denounced the lawyer as his "enemy" and claimed the summation was drafted by foreigners who he has claimed have manipulated the trial since it began Oct. 19.