The Hypocrisy of War and Politics . . .

(Health warning:  this is not one of my normal upbeat posts.  This post is born of sadness and frustration.  But when I started this blog a year plus ago I made a deal to express my feelings as honestly as I could.  Mostly I am a believer in optimism and human values.  But this time I just need to tell it like I see and feel it.)

 A hypocrite is the kind of politician who would cut down a redwood tree, then mount the stump and make a speech for conservation.  -Adlai E. Stevenson

The older I get the less politically correct and more direct I become.  Life’s too short to beat around the bush. Like nearly everyone on the planet I have been reading about the killing of innocent civilians in Afghanistan by a US Army sergeant.

There is no doubt that this is a human tragedy on many fronts. The poor civilians who were killed.  The loss of innocent children. The grieving family members. The family of the soldier accused. National pride.  Military professionalism.  International relations. This senseless incident has wounded us all.

No one can bring back the dead or immediately stop the grief, but we do need to root out the truth.  I am certain that the guilty party will be dealt with according to the rule of law and steps will be taken to make certain that additional safeguards are put in place. And President Karzai and the Afghan people have a right to be upset and angry and demand both justice and explanations. I have no problem with that.

But here’s what really bothers me.

Almost daily in some city or village in Afghanistan, a suicide bomber detonates his or her hellish package in a crowded market, at a wedding celebration, near a school, in a police station, and dozens of innocent civilians are murdered.  And the Afghan government doesn’t even blink, let alone demand justice or accountability.

They don’t vociferously decry the slaughter, they don’t demand the guilty be brought to justice.  They don’ t even seem to notice. Nor do the do very much to protect their own people from these attacks.  Where are the plans and funds for more and better trained police?  Where is the protection for their own people?  And how could such a large terrorist organization operate so freely inside a country?

The answer is very easy.  Many Afghan officials are working both sides!  Taking money from the coalition governments helping to protect them, and taking money from the Taliban and al Qaeda as well.  Great job if you can get it.  The money goes into big Mercedes, fancy villas, lavish dinners; not into protection for their people.

And it’s the innocent civilians that suffer the most.  From horrific mistakes by a US soldier and from the almost daily suicide bombings. If the leaders of Afghanistan won’t help their own people, then it’s time for us to leave.  More money, more deaths (terrorists, innocents, military and civilians) won’t fix a country whose leadership is only concerned about their own bank accounts.  It’s time to pull out.  Time to bring our troops home. It’s time to use our hard-earned tax dollars to fix our own countries (America and Britain especially). We need to reinvest in our own country, in our own people. People who want to work hard, to help things improve. Not people who cry for handouts then bite the hand that feeds them.

What do you think?

Tight Lines . . .

John R Childress

About johnrchildress

John Childress is a pioneer in the field of strategy execution, culture change, executive leadership and organization effectiveness, author of several books and numerous articles on leadership, an effective public speaker and workshop facilitator for Boards and senior executive teams. In 1978 John co-founded The Senn-Delaney Leadership Consulting Group, the first international consulting firm to focus exclusively on culture change, leadership development and senior team alignment. Between 1978 and 2000 he served as its President and CEO and guided the international expansion of the company. His work with senior leadership teams has included companies in crisis (GPU Nuclear – owner of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Plants following the accident), deregulated industries (natural gas pipelines, telecommunications and the breakup of The Bell Telephone Companies), mergers and acquisitions and classic business turnaround scenarios with global organizations from the Fortune 500 and FTSE 250 ranks. He has designed and conducted consulting engagements in the US, UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa, China and Asia. Currently John is an independent advisor to CEO’s, Boards, management teams and organisations on strategy execution, corporate culture, leadership team effectiveness, business performance and executive development. John was born in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and eventually moved to Carmel Highlands, California during most of his business career. John is a Phi Beta Kappa scholar with a BA degree (Magna cum Laude) from the University of California, a Masters Degree from Harvard University and was a PhD candidate at the University of Hawaii before deciding on a career as a business entrepreneur in the mid-70s. In 1968-69 he attended the American University of Beirut and it was there that his interest in cultures, leadership and group dynamics began to take shape. John Childress resides in London and the south of France with his family and is an avid flyfisherman, with recent trips to Alaska, the Amazon River, Tierra del Fuego, and Kamchatka in the far east of Russia. He is a trustee for Young Virtuosi, a foundation to support talented young musicians. You can reach John at or
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2 Responses to The Hypocrisy of War and Politics . . .

  1. Frank Ryan says:

    You make an excellent argument. I don’t pretend to understand all of the thought process and politics that get us involved in these skirmishes. It does seem to me though that we greatly underestimate the power of culture. Human rights violations that shock us and drive us to want to help. do not equally motivate the people and governments of these countries. When one of our own makes a terrible decision, it shocks the world because we are held to a higher standard. Until they start holding themselves to the same standard, change will never truly be realized.


  2. Anonymous says:

    I got so moved with the thought you started speaking about hipocrisy. We do have a same situation in organizations, people say they want to change, they need to change but when you invite them to a new mind set they give up. Leaders’ Hipocrisy, society’s hipocrisy? We do need to go back to noble values if we want to turn ourselves in better persons to live in this world.

    Cleo Wolff


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