Is supporting dictators a necessary evil for the U.S.?

Posted Feb. 08, 2011, at 11:47 a.m.
Many Americans were dismayed to learn that the U.S. has supported Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak for decades, primarily because his government has been loyal to the U.S. and not joined other Middle Eastern nations in threatening Israel. Other dictators or corrupt governments have had similar relationships with the U.S.
Is this a necessary evil? Or should the U.S. refuse to back and send financial aid to nations that refuse basic humans rights, such as free speech, to citizens?