Reagan’s Divine Plans
“Here were two men, Reagan and Clark, a devout Protestant president and devout Catholic, who prayed together, and who spoke of what they together, in their personal code language, called “the DP”—the Divine Plan. ”
Reagan Biographer Interviews Himself On Reagan Aid Interviews, Satisfied With Answers
Paul Kengor has cranked out multiple books on Ronald Reagan and the lesser gods of the Presidency, leading to his latest effort, a biographer of former Reagan National Security Advisor William Clark.
On TownHall, Kengor is interviewed on the book by …. himself? “In this latest edition, the Center [on Vision & Values] interviews its own executive director, Dr. Paul Kengor.”
Kengor leads off with Reagan and arming Saddam. Why-ever would he ask Clark about this?
Those Reds. Kengor explains:
“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.”
Kengor claims his story begins with Clark mentioning he received a pistol from Saddam at a January 1986 meeting. Clark was in Baghdad as an “unofficial” Reagan envoy [the best kind] after leaving the White House.
Raising at least two questions:
– how many clowns did Reagan send to Iraq
Kengor was forced to dive into the junk:
“I explained that there was a kind of left-wing cottage industry dedicated to exposing the alleged Reagan conspiracy to arm Saddam in the 1980s, including to arm him with WMDs [Weapons of Mass Destruction]. This really confused him. He didn’t want to respond to something so baseless, and couldn’t believe anyone would level such a reckless charge. I told him I would demonstrate when we got to his office in town later that afternoon. When we got there, I did a Google search on “Reagan armed Saddam.” Clark was shocked at all the hits…For the record, Clark says: “We never armed Saddam. And to my knowledge, we certainly did not give him anything like WMD technology, or assist him in developing WMD.”…By the way, as I gained access to Clark’s private papers, I came across the minutes and memos from this meeting. Indeed, there was no mention whatsoever of weapons.”
Well, perhaps. The “charges,” sometimes called facts, are that the US bent every effort to see that Saddam’s invasion of Iran went unpunished. Much of this constructive engagement continued to unfold under the Bush administration in the late 80s, only to end badly.
“Enmeshed in a doomed courtship with Saddam Hussein, the Bush Administration in 1989 and 1990 repeatedly frustrated its own criminal investigators and regulators examining Iraq’s role in a multibillion-dollar bank fraud scheme in Atlanta, interviews and internal Government documents say.”
“Some of the loans and credits directly funded Iraq’s purchase of weapons and weapons technology, according to the indictment. Federal prosecutors in Atlanta and Administration officials scattered throughout the Federal bureaucracy raised suspicions, but never proved, that loan money backed by the United States Government was diverted into weapons purchases. Other critics say that this misses the point because money is fungible and the loans would at least have freed up other Iraqi funds for arms purchases….Mr. Bush has made several public remarks that have been contradicted by internal documents. For example, he denied that the United States enhanced Iraq’s nuclear, chemical, biological and ballistic missile capability, but one document showed that one week before Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, Secretary of State James A. Baker 3d was urgently warning that Iraq was secretly using American technology in its vast arms buildup.”
Kengor plunges ahead, determined to rebut the charges of web-based conspiracy theorists like Baker:
V&V: What was that support, and what was the Reagan administration’s objective with Saddam?
Saddam was impressed and deeply grateful for this assistance.
“A covert American program during the Reagan administration provided Iraq with critical battle planning assistance at a time when American intelligence agencies knew that Iraqi commanders would employ chemical weapons in waging the decisive battles of the Iran-Iraq war, according to senior military officers with direct knowledge of the program…The Pentagon’s battle damage assessments confirmed that Iraqi military commanders had integrated chemical weapons throughout their arsenal and were adding them to strike plans that American advisers either prepared or suggested. Iran claimed that it suffered thousands of deaths from chemical weapons.”