Bush-Hussein duel sought for standoff

Taha Yassin Ramadan said the duel could be held at a neutral site and with UN secretary general Kofi Annan as the referee.

Ramadan made his remarks without giving any outward sign he was joking, although reporters detected a note of irony in his voice.

“A president against a president and vice-president against a vice-president and a duel takes place, if they are serious, and in this way we are saving the American and the Iraqi people,” Ramadan told The Associated Press Television Network.

Iraq has two vice-presidents, and Ramadan did not say whether he or Taha Muhie-eldin Marouf should take on Dick Cheney.

White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said the Iraqi offer didn’t warrant a “serious response.”

“I just want to point out that, in the past when Iraq had disputes, it invaded its neighbours. There were no duels, there were invasions. There was use of weapons of mass destruction and the military; that’s how Iraq settles its disputes,” Fleischer said.

But, earlier this week Fleischer said “the cost of one bullet” intended for Saddam would be a less expensive alternative than attacking Baghdad.

He suggested it would be “a one-way ticket” for Saddam.

Asked if he’s advocating Saddam’s assassination, Fleischer replied: “Never underestimate the yearning of a people to stop being tortured.”

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