He has become a student of one of the most tyrannical leaders in history: Joseph Stalin.
Sa?d Aburish’s biography, Saddam Hussein: The Politics of Revenge (2000), tells of a meeting in 1979 between Saddam and the Kurdish politician Mahmoud Othman. It was an early-morning meeting, and Saddam received Othman in a small office in one of his palaces. It looked to Othman as if Saddam had slept in the office the night before. There was a small cot in the corner, and the President received him wearing a bathrobe.
Next to the bed, Othman recalled, were “over twelve pairs of expensive shoes. And the rest of the office was nothing but a small library of books about one man, Stalin. One could say he went to bed with the Russian dictator.”
Kieran Healy has some interesting commentary on this, and explains why it might pose bigger problems for the U.S. than you might think.