CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Evangelist Billy Graham urged Iraqi President Saddam Hussein Thursday to pull out of Kuwait, saying that is the only way to prevent full-scale war in the strife-ridden Middle East.
Graham, in Charlotte to receive a humanitarian award, said it is imperative that Iraqi troops pull out of Kuwait and he made it clear he sees few redeeming graces in Saddam.
'I have feelings about Saddam Hussein, but I don't feel like expressing them here because it might not be in preacher's language,' Graham said.
'But if I could sit down and talk to him face-to-face, I'd tell him to get out of Kuwait,' the evangelist said. 'I think that's the only thing that will bring an end to this.'
After Iraq invaded Kuwait and set up a puppet government, President Bush ordered a massive buildup of U.S. troops in neighboring Saudi Arabian. Graham refused to say what advice he might give the president on that show of force.
'I'll do that in private,' Graham said. 'If I say in public, to the press, what I would say to Mr. Bush or any president in person, I'll never have that opportunity again.
The evangelist added that he has not been asked to go to Saudi Arabia to visit the troops and has no intention of doing so.
'Going to Saudi Arabia is not like going to minister in other countries,' he said. 'They have their own rules. Even our (military) chaplains have to be careful how they behave there, how they talk to the men.
'I pray every day for those young men in the hot desert sand and I pray we don't have a shooting war over there,' Graham said.
Graham said the Mideast is a powderkeg of instablility, but he said he cannot agree with some Biblical scholars who say the current hostilities indicate the end of the world is at hand.
'Babylon was in Iraq, Ninevah was in Iraq and some scholars believe the Garden of Eden was in Iraq,' Graham said. 'But no one knows whether this relates to the Bible or not.
'I've heard this talk that Saddam Hussein could be the antichrist, but I cannot agree with that,' he said.
'You aren't old enough to remember, but historians tell us that people thought Napoleon was the antichrist, they thought Mussolini was the antichrist and they thought Hitler was the antichrist.'