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Saddam: Learn from our pain

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has called on the U.S. to show "common sense" and not resort to violence as a response to the devastating terrorist attacks on the country.

Despite their grief, Americans should not wage a "new crusade" against "an Islamic country," but rather learn from the pain he said Iraqis and Palestinians have been suffering at the hands of the U.S. and Israel.

"America needs wisdom, not force. It had used force, along with the West, to its extreme extent, only to find out later that it did not achieve what they wanted," Saddam said in an open letter carried by the official Iraqi News Agency (INA) and television and radio.

"Will the rulers of America try wisdom just for once so that their people can live in security and stability?" he asked in the letter, quoted by Reuters.

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CNN's Rula Amin has more on the reaction in Iraq (September 15)

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"Just as your beautiful skyscrapers were destroyed and caused your grief, beautiful buildings and precious homes crumbled over their owners in Lebanon, Palestine and Iraq because of American weapons used by the Zionists," Saddam said in the letter addressed to the American people, citizens of the West and their governments.

The "Islamic country" was seen by analysts as a reference to Afghanistan, ruled by the Islamic fundamentalist Taliban and home of the prime suspect in Tuesday's terror attacks, Saudi Arabian exile Osama bin Laden.

In words addresses to western leaders, he asked: "If you rulers respect and cherish the blood of your people, why do you find it easy to shed the blood of others including the blood of Arabs and Muslims?

"Americans should feel the pain which they have inflicted on other peoples so that when they suffer they will know the best way to treat it (the pain)," Saddam's statement said.

Saddam, who faced a U.S.-led alliance in the 1991 Gulf War following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, said he doubted that Washington would respond violently if the attackers were from a Western country.

"We do not know if they would do the same thing whether any of the planners and perpetrators of the operation were found to have lived or had the nationality of a Western country?" Saddam asked, adding, "Or whether the intention and the designs are already made against an Islamic party?"

He said the West was to blame for global instability.

"The use by America and some Western governments of their fire against others in the world including, or in the forefront of whom, are the Arabs and Muslims, is one of the most important reasons for the lack of stability in the world at the present time."

He said international security could be achieved if the United States "became rational... and disengages itself from its evil alliance with Zionism."

Saddam had previously described Tuesday's deadly attacks in New York and Washington, in which hijackers seized airliners and crashed them into the World Trade Center and Pentagon, as the fruit of "evil" American policy.

His statement said: "More than one million and a half Iraqis have died because of the blockade imposed by America and some Western countries, in addition to the tens of thousands who died or were injured in the military action perpetrated by America against Iraq."

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