An American who was wounded by Iraqi soldiers in Kuwait and recently allowed to leave contended that Westerners being held by Iraqi forces oppose a full-scale war but would back a military strike against Iraq.

Miles Hoffman, 33, of Columbus, told The Atlanta Constitution on Saturday he left the Persian Gulf with his arm fractured by an Iraqi soldier's bullet and the belief that Saddam Hussein is a deranged dictator who deserves to die."The man is a ruthless, bloody murderer who killed at 15," Hoffman told the newspaper in a telephone interview from London. "He needs to be taken out, and he needs to be taken out now."

Hoffman said he was shot in the arm when he was captured in Kuwait on Sept. 5. He was among 174 hostages freed by Iraq on Nov. 9 after talks between Saddam and former West German Chancellor Willy Brandt.

Hoffman, who had worked as a financial analyst for the Kuwaiti government, said no Western hostages want war in the Middle East, but "every hostage that I knew wanted an immediate military strike" against Iraq.

Hoffman's comments echoed those made Monday by a caller to a Cleveland, Ohio, television station. The caller said he was among a group of Americans hiding out in Kuwait and said he supported military action against Iraq.

Hoffman was to be reunited in Columbus on Sunday with his family and his fiancee, Nikki Murgatroyd of Forton, England.

Hoffman said he was held at two strategic sites in Iraq, part of the "human shield" used by Saddam to deter attack by U.S.-led multinational forces deployed to the gulf after Iraq invaded Kuwait on Aug. 2.

He said hostages were fed small amounts three times a day, sometimes eating carry-out pizza, chicken, spaghetti, or just a bowl of rice, Hoffman said.

Commanders would "keep most of the money" allotted for feeding hostages.

Hostages whiled away the hours listening to the radio, playing cards or exercising, Hoffman said.