Ken Adelman is currently vice-president of Movers and Shakespeares, which conducts executive training through leadership lessons from Shakespeare. Ambassador Adelman began teaching Shakespeare in 1977 at Georgetown University, and later with honors students at George Washington University.
During the Reagan Administration, Ken Adelman was an Ambassador to the United Nations and then Director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, accompanying President Reagan on his superpower summits with Mikhail Gorbachev.
Adelman was a philosophy major at Grinnell College and then attended Georgetown University, where he received a Masters in Foreign Service Studies and Doctorate in Political Theory.
He is the author of five books -- including co-author of Shakespeare in Charge -- and hundreds of articles, was for 20 years national editor of Washingtonian magazine, and for six years a member of the Defense Policy Board.
While living in Africa from 1972 to 1975, Adelman translated for Mohammed Ali during “The Rumble in the Jungle” heavyweight championship fight in Zaire, and participated in the Zaire River Expedition, venturing down the Congo River on the 100th Anniversary of Stanley’s exploration.
Ken Adelman: Two things. Number one is that there was a worldwide network of people out to harm us, and that was through Al Qaeda. Saddam Hussein had a great hatred of the United States because of the first Gulf War; but even before that would do anything to hurt the United States because it had defeated him in 1991. So . . .And secondly, that he had an active program of weapons of mass destruction so that he could really do us harm. Not just his neighbors, two of whom were invaded – Iran and Kuwait – but he could do us harm by giving the weapons of mass destruction. And historically, we had known that Osama Bin Laden wanted to do us harm. In the Clinton administration, we had the capabilities of taking him out, but we didn’t do that because we said we were unsure. And we were just, you know . . . the usual thing of government of delaying everything. And I think that after 9/11, the President of the United States wasn’t going to just bet on chance that it would turn out alright. When we learned that we should not have let Osama Bin Laden just continue on his ways, and that wasn’t gonna happen again with Saddam Hussein. And that analysis I’m very proud of. I think it’s absolutely sound. It turned out to be wrong. It turned out to be wrong because there was less of a connection between Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 or the Al Qaeda. But mostly it turned out to be wrong because, unlike everything that intelligence agencies – not just in the United States, but Jordan, France and other countries that opposed the war – told us that he did not have weapons of mass destruction. And I take it from his lieutenants and all that they were very surprised that he didn’t have weapons of mass destruction, and presumed that he did. So the premises of what we went into were wrong; but we did not know that at the time, and we had no basis of knowing at the time.
Recorded on: 7/2/07