how many years did we toss money at anyone who was 'fighting the communists' without thoroughly checking their resumes or having enough forethought to think what these whackjobs might one day do with their power and position, that, ironically, was funded by US tax dollars?
Decades, and why? Because there was a greater enemy to face than what these were at the time. We live now with the cold war as history precisely because they did that. Its pretty easy to second guess with the benefit of hindsight, but at the time the USSR was rolling across western Europe and SE Asia pretty much unopposed. It was no small part the CIA played in Afghanistan that turned the momentum back on communist expansionism and finally out spent them and buried their economy that was not designed to produce. That resulted in a victory. Despite what they said and recent revisionism, their actions proved they were a threat. In the proccess, we used people who were dangerous with the knowledge that they would have to be dealt with in the future. But when the time came to deal with them, we simply ignored them and left.
Saddam was a special case in that we used him specifically against Iran, when he turned attention way from Iran, we turned our attention to him. Frankly I am not finding much wrong with that. We have had neutral or even hostile entities that we have supported before against other threats that I would not call allies, Russia being a prime example.