Saddam Hussein still believes he is president of Iraq, is obsessed with cleanliness, makes bad coffee and loves Doritos, an ex-guard has revealed.
The deposed leader, set to face trial for massacres and killings during his time in power, also washes his clothes and cares for birds in his prison yard.
US National Guardsman Sean O'Shea, 20, gave GQ magazine in the US a unique look into Saddam Hussein's daily life.
The former president was captured near the city of Tikrit in December 2003.
Despite officially being in Iraqi custody, Saddam Hussein is guarded by US troops at a secret location.
Specialist O'Shea, who joined the Pennsylvania National Guard a year before the US-led invasion of Iraq, was one of five guards who told GQ their memories of guarding the world's most famous prisoner.
Spc O'Shea gave the magazine a detailed portrait of the monotony of life in jail.
He described the former leader's daily routine of toilet visits, mealtimes, recreation and regular medical check-ups.
Sean O'Shea never expected to be in Iraq, let alone guard Saddam
In his cell there was a bed, a toilet, a chair, a towel, some books and a prayer rug.
The former leader would often spend silent days writing in Arabic on legal pads, Spc O'Shea said.
The guard described how Saddam Hussein spent each day watering plants and was obsessive about cleanliness, continually wet-wiping the cutlery he used to eat his meals.
He did not want a treadmill that guards installed in his cell, asking instead for a table-tennis table. The request was turned down.
He enjoyed Raisin Bran Crunch for breakfast, but refused to eat Froot Loops.
He liked to snack on Cheetos, until someone brought him a bag of Doritos, which he took silently into a corner and ate in a hurry.
Although physically weak, there was also evidence that the son of a farmer from near Tikrit had not lost his confidence.
While in office Saddam Hussein lived in great luxury
He enjoyed Cuban cigars, and sometimes offered Spc O'Shea blunt advice, including how to find a "good woman", and how to "keep her in line".
He told stories of how he brought prostitutes in for his son, Uday, the night before his wedding.
The guard described how Saddam Hussein walked out of a meeting with Iraqi prosecutors, disgusted at them for wanting to try him for crimes against his country.
"Ministers? Ministers of what," Saddam Hussein raged in his cell.
"I'm still the president of this country."
He went quiet when Spc O'Shea told him that former US President Ronald Reagan - who used to sell Iraq planes and helicopters, he remembered - had died.
Unsurprisingly, neither former President George H W Bush or the current US leader ranked highly with the man they both went to war against.
Yet Spc O'Shea said his prisoner wanted to meet President Bush, "to make peace with him".
But the reality was more mundane: the man who once lived amid endless wealth in colossal palaces had to use the toilet under the gaze of a teenage soldier from small-town Pennsylvania.
"He was a very bad man," Spc O'Shea told GQ. "But when we had him, he was a broken man."