To keep folks from escaping his clutches, he threatened to execute anyone who sheltered foreigners. At the time, the US had no official ambassador, but the man who was the Deputy Chief of Mission (I gather this is the second in charge of the embassy) and serving as acting ambassador publicly defied Saddam by giving refuge to 100 US citizens in the embassy and in the homes of US Diplomats.
He announced this to the world and to the Thug of Baghdad in a press conference where instead of a necktie, he wore a hangman's noose.
He was later quoted in the Washington Post saying that his message to Saddam was "If you want to execute me, I'll bring my own [expletive] rope."
Many of you may have heard this already, but I'm just so impressed by this, even 15 years after the fact, that I had to share it.
After that little dust up in Iraq, he went on to serve as the Ambassador to Gabon and São Tomé and Príncipe, which is why we call him Ambassador Joe Wilson today. He has spent some time over on FireDogLake today, answering questions and giving some very insightful analysis of the situation in Iraq and elsewhere.
He's even magnanimous enough to give Cheney the benefit of the doubt that ol' Dead Eye Dick might not have realized that the Joe Wilson that he was slamming and outing his CIA wife was "That Joe Wilson", as he says "He is a busy man and there are a lot of Joe Wilsons."
I now have no doubt that Cheney just didn't know, there's no way he'd willingly [expletive] with a man like that.