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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Odai Hussein's Palace Reveals Love for Fast Living

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- His personal zoo has lions, cheetahs and a bear. His storehouse has $1 million of fine wines, liquors and heroin. His house has Cuban cigars, cases of champagne and downloaded pictures of prostitutes.

While most Iraqis bent under the brunt of UN sanctions that drove their country into poverty, Saddam Hussein's eldest son Odai lived a life of fast cars, expensive liquor and easy women, a tour through his bombed house showed Monday.

The walls of a gym were plastered with photographs of women downloaded from the Internet -- "the biggest collection of naked women I'd ever seen," said U.S. Army Captain Ed Ballanco. "It looked like something at the Playboy Mansion."

Among the photos were those of Jenna and Barbara Bush, the U.S. president's twin 21-year-old daughters, "dressed up very nice in evening clothes," Ballanco said, adding that soldiers took them down "to protect the president."

Odai Hussein's compound is in a back corner of the sprawling Presidential Palace compound, a small city that boasts six-lane avenues, traffic lights and a hospital. U.S. soldiers who now occupy the grounds say they believe Odai's portion included a house, a warehouse, a gym, a harem and a zoo.

The house clearly belonged to Odai. Scattered among the debris from a bomb that tore through it and exploded in a bunker below lay stationery with Odai's name in gold lettering, photographs of Odai and dozens of copies of Odai's doctoral dissertation, "The World After the Cold War."

The house also indicated Odai's sybaritic side that Iraqi dissenters had told of for decades: a hunger for alcohol, drugs and lots and lots of women.

There were bottles of Cuervo 1800 tequila, Danska vodka and Delamain cognac, as well as Chimay, Corona and Miller Genuine Draft beers.

There were bags and boxes of pills and medicines everywhere -- ginseng sexual fortifiers, heartburn medication and Prozac -- and an Accu-Rite HIV Antibodies Screening Test Kit in Odai's office.

An e-mail dated Dec. 22, 2000, and signed by a Dr. Jean-Jacques Barrault instructed "His Excellency" to undergo electrotherapy for a knee injury and to swim and ride horses for no more than 40 minutes a day. It prescribed a regimen of daily exercises.

In 1996, gunmen sprayed bullets at Odai's Porsche, leaving him with a bullet in his spine that forced him to walk with a cane.

The house was filled with boxes from handguns and piles of magazines including "Guns and Ammo" and "Guns," as well as Spanish car magazines and catalogues of JetSkis.

Soldiers said they found receipts for sports cars signed by Odai. The underground parking garage and the indoor swimming pool were destroyed by bombing that gutted the center of the house.

In the next-door storehouse -- which soldiers dubbed the "crackhouse," then declared off-limits for fear the troops would raid the liquor -- are roomfuls of alcohol, tobacco and firearms. Ballanco estimated the alcohol's worth at $1 million.

"You had Dom Perignon, French wines -- all appellation controlee (a quality guarantee), some 30-40 years old -- a lot of very good brandy, a lot of good whiskey," he said. "There were boxes of Cuban cigars that said 'Odai Saddam Hussein' on them, hundreds of them. My guys smoked them."

He said there were also six bags of heroin. He didn't know how much they held.

"There are UNICEF boxes in there with kids' school supplies meant for the children of Iraq, yet these jerks took it in there," Major Kent Rideout said.

Odai's obsession with sex was evident everywhere. The house was adorned with paintings of naked women, as well as bundles of Internet printouts of what appeared to be prostitutes, complete with handwritten ratings of each. One little black book listed hundreds of women's names and phone numbers.

There were posters of university graduating classes, lending some credence to accusations that Odai scoped out female graduates so he could order them abducted for his sexual pleasure.

An e-mail printout was a complaint from a woman that she was having a hard time finding heterosexual men in Europe.

"Darling, babe, it's not good timing to send me sexy attachment. OH BOY where am I going to get one guy?" it read in English.

Odai's bed was painted in gold trim, and his bathroom featured a sink and tub fitted with fixtures in a swan motif.

One house apparently wasn't big enough for Odai's women. To one side, a gaudy house filled with bedrooms that is now a camp for U.S. soldiers appears to have been a harem.

It has statuettes of couples in foreplay, and couches everywhere with fluffy pillows. It boasts another swimming pool, with a bar.

"The pink and the cheesiness suggest it was a concubines' house," Ballanco said.

Behind the house was a pen holding two cheetahs, five lion cubs and a young bear.

Three German Shepherds who guarded the compound have been adopted by soldiers, who feed them military rations. For the wilder animals, soldiers have been throwing in sheep from a nearby pen, one U.S. soldier said.

A feeding on Sunday, he said, "looked like something from the National Geographic Channel."