Editor's Note: “We never armed Saddam,” explains former Reagan top official, William P. Clark. “And to my knowledge, we certainly did not give him anything like WMD technology, or assist him in developing WMD.” The “V&V Q&A” is an e-publication and a regular feature from the Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. In this latest edition, the Center interviews its own executive director, Dr. Paul Kengor, on his new book, "The Judge: William P. Clark, Ronald Reagan's Top Hand" (Ignatius Press, 2007), the untold story of Ronald Reagan’s closest friend, confidant, and most influential adviser. Bill Clark is widely regarded as the insider who more than any other adviser helped President Reagan win the Cold War. This is the first of a two-part interview. Join us tomorrow for Part II.
V&V: Dr. Kengor, you’ve written, along with co-author Patricia Clark Doerner, a biography of Judge William P. “Bill” Clark. This is the biography of the man that everyone—from Edmund Morris and Lou Cannon to Michael Reagan and Cap Weinberger—agreed was Ronald Reagan’s important adviser, who literally one day in 1985 rode off into the sunset and refused to write his memoirs and tell his story.
The publisher is billing this as the untold story of the Cold War. We will get to that, but first it should be noted that there is much more in here about foreign policy generally, and one thing in particular of very strong relevance to the world today. There is a major revelation in the book on Saddam Hussein and Iraq. This month marks separate anniversaries of both the capture and ultimate hanging of Saddam Hussein, in December 2003 and December 2006, respectively. Tell us what Clark told you—which he disclosed for the first time, two full decades after the fact.
Paul Kengor: Sure. It is commonly asserted, especially among the left, that the United States, and specifically the Reagan administration in the 1980s, “armed” Saddam Hussein. If you actually sit down and read the junk on the web on this, it is extremely sloppy and unreliable. Nonetheless, the charges persist and clearly are not going way. They seem to have become common perception. Well, Bill Clark has intimate knowledge of this issue. Let me give some background first:
Dr. Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College, executive director of The Center for Vision & Values, and author of the book, “The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis, The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor.” His other books include "The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism" and "Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century."