COMMENTARY: How Are We Supposed to Know Whom to Like...Or Dislike?

By Joseph J. Honick
Joseph J. Honick
Joseph J. Honick
Bainbridge Island, WA (Special to HNN) -- I don’t know about you, but I sure find it confusing that the people we are supposed to like or dislike keep changing, and, worse, keep reversing positions.

Within the lifetimes of many readers, we:

* Liked the Shah of Iran, and then we didn’t and helped get him tossed out only to have our own embassy invaded;

* We thought Saddam Hussein was a victim of the Iranians we helped to unseat the Shah.   We liked Saddam then.  President Ronald Reagan even dispatched billions in arms, money, intelligence and other stuff to help Hussein stave off the Iranis we did not like, while making nice to Saddam.  We even dispatched respected people like Senator Bob Dole and others to keep Saddam happy.

* When Saddam gathered the courage to assault Kuwait despite our warnings not to do so, we stopped liking him and sent our own forces to fight Kuwait’s battles and turned out the Iraqi invaders.

* Even though Muamar Qaddafi pretty much admitted involvement in the PanAm 101 disaster that killed many, we ultimately decided he could be a good guy if only he stopped his nuclear development.  He agreed, and, enveloped in the arms of Britain’s Tony Blair and our own President George Bush, the Libyan dictator was warmly welcomed back “to the family of nations” in the UN, with representation even on the Human Relations Council.  You may wish to refer to an earlier article titled:  “Ransoming Truth and Responsibility.”

* Then we decided not to like him any more and spent a fortune and our reputation to help finance a group called “rebels” to overthrow Qaddafi, with that battle still raging.  What we could not foresee was that the so called rebels fighting for democracy would also show their  prejudice by imprisoning people with black skins and other ethnicity.  Apparently democracy had various meanings to the rebels and to our own government that had financed their efforts.

These are but a few examples of how government, whether led by Democrats or Republicans, has so confused us Americans.  And now we learn that, after a nasty invasion of the Israeli embassy in Cairo by thugs who not only threatened the lives of the people there but also routed the papers, both administrative and sacred, that were housed there.  Even that resulted in a raging governmental and media silence!

Will we find out we also  helped to finance and arm those rebels as we have elsewhere while ignoring really bad dictators in Syria, Yemen, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia where disagreements with the kings and/or dictators carry extreme punishments?

So what are we poor citizens to think?  Do we need  printed programs or e-mails to know whom to like or dislike?  And what does any of this say about the quality of leadership from either political party that seeks to govern our nation?

What is most damaging, difficult as it may seem anything could be, is we have no guidance how to translate this egregious lack of intelligible or intelligent government policies to our children…and those in uniform we keep sending all over the place to destroy people and places, hoping surviving veterans can return home and block out the memories of their missions.

In the end,  and that may be closer than expected, it is imperative that those who proclaim themselves as committed to real concerns for American principles start shedding their political partisanship and start acting as if their commitments are honest.

Honick is an international consultant to business and government and writes for many publications, including
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