Saturday, April 26, 2008

Arm Zimbabwe opposition

from the WSJ

In short, Mr. Mugabe's opponents need weapons soon. This is not to effect regime change, but for simple self-defense.

Critics of American support for dissidents abroad often cite how such backing, once it becomes public, could endanger the dissidents' cause and credibility. This critique might make sense in the Middle East, but it does not carry much water in Africa.

There, as a well-publicized Pew poll last year found, widespread majorities count the U.S. as their nation's "most dependable ally," and fault the U.S. for not doing more to stop the genocide in Darfur.

Thanks to regime-induced famine, Zimbabwe has had one of the world's lowest life expectancies, and a death rate higher than Darfur's for well over a year. The mere existence of Mr. Mugabe's rule is a continuing crime against humanity. Lest that not serve as a wake-up call to the world, last week the MDC's secretary general, Tendai Biti, bluntly announced: "There is a war in Zimbabwe being waged by Mugabe's regime against the people."

America has chosen a side in this war. Perhaps it's time we help it fight back.

Mr. Kirchick, an assistant editor at The New Republic, reported from Zimbabwe in 2006.

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