Prices Paid for Freedom: Iraq v. Zimbabwe

Some folks on the right like to talk about how liberals just refuse to pay for the cost of freedom in Iraq. (Example: Kudlow.)

Now, question whether Maliki’s government is what free Iraqis would support these days, what with its kleptocratic and authoritarian tendencies and attempts to suppress potential rivals in the upcoming elections, and you’re looked at as if you’re crazy.

But there’s another question I have for such folks – if supporting freedom is so important, why not go for more bang for the buck. For instance, its hard to imagine that it would cost more than what the US spends in two days in Iraq to topple Robert Mugabe, even if GW himself planned the operation. And the aftermath is likely to be a lot cleaner than Iraq.

Clearly, there’s an organized and mostly united opposition, and the guy is clearly an authoritarian, extremely dangerous to his countrymen, and an destabilizing force in the region. Additionally, the locals are not virulently anti-American. So if we do it, and then pull out US forces within a couple of weeks and let the locals run their own show, odds are very high we’ll have a free, eventually prosperous (relative to now), and very pro-American country sitting in the heart of southern Africa. And Zimbabwe is not unique. Give me a bit of time and I could come up with a list of countries whose population far exceeds that of Iraq that we can assist in the same way, all at a total cost of less than we spend in a month in Iraq.

So… to the folks on the right who think the problem is liberals not wanting to pony up the costs, are you with me?