Indifferent to genocide.Byline: The Register-Guard
While Republican leaders in Congress were preening their fiscal responsibility feathers last week, the death spiral Death Spiral
A type of loan investors lend to a company in exchange for convertible debt, which, like a convertible bond, typically has provisions that allow the investors to convert the bonds into stock at below-market prices. deepened in Africa's largest and most troubled country.
United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. lawmakers on Tuesday shrugged off a request from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for $50 million in U.S. aid for African Union African Union (AU), international organization established in 2002 by the nations of the former Organization of African Unity (OAU). The AU is the successor organization to the OAU, with greater powers to promote African economic, social, and political integration, peacekeeping forces in Darfur, the war-torn region in western Sudan. One day later, 500 members of the Arab militia called the Janjaweed swept through the village of Abu Sorouj, slaughtering 20 civilians, including women and children, and looting and burning their houses.
Abu Sorouj was one of a number of villages that have been attacked and destroyed in recent weeks. Since 2003, the Janjaweed militias have killed as many as 400,000 and driven more than 2 million Darfuris from their homes, including another 5,000 in the most recent attacks.
The AU peacekeepers, which operate with logistical help from NATO NATO: see North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
in full North Atlantic Treaty Organization
International military alliance created to defend western Europe against a possible Soviet invasion. , offer the best hope for stopping the killing. But the 7,000-strong force has inadequate equipment and too few troops to cover a region the size of Texas. In recent weeks, peacekeepers have been kidnapped and killed, and the vital aid convoys they escort attacked and looted. The few remaining relief agencies are considering pulling out, a move that would embolden em·bold·en
tr.v. em·bold·ened, em·bold·en·ing, em·bold·ens
To foster boldness or courage in; encourage. See Synonyms at encourage. the Sudanese government and its puppet militias, and hasten the pace of the killing.
In a letter last week, Rice asked lawmakers negotiating a major defense spending bill to include money for the deployment of additional AU troops. A spokesman for the House Appropriations Committee In the United States government, the Appropriations Committee can refer to either:
If this bureaucratic parsing See parse.
parsing - parser and unconscionable Unusually harsh and shocking to the conscience; that which is so grossly unfair that a court will proscribe it.
When a court uses the word unconscionable to describe conduct, it means that the conduct does not conform to the dictates of conscience. lack of urgency and commitment to halting genocide sounds familiar, it's because it's the same response that Congress and the Clinton administration exhibited in response to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.
Despite all the solemn pledges of "never again," a genocide is once again occurring in full view of the United States and the rest of the world, and no one seems willing to take the necessary steps to stop it.
To her credit, Rice at least is beginning to show the same concern about Darfur as her predecessor, Colin Powell. It was Powell who last year broke ground by formally declaring the situation in Darfur to be genocide. However, President Bush is saying little and doing even less to stop the killing.
All it would have taken is a few phone calls by Bush to the Republican leaders in Congress, and lawmakers would have swiftly approved additional funding for the AU's struggling force. The same is true of the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act The Darfur Peace and Accountability Act (H.R. 3127/S. 1462) or DPAA restates the United States government's position that the Darfur conflict constitutes genocide, asks the government to expand the African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur (AMIS) and give the force a , which has already been approved by the Senate would apply much-needed sanctions against Su- dan.
Similarly, all it would take is a news conference by Bush to announce the appointment of a special envoy, perhaps a high-profile statesman such as Powell or even Bush's father, to forge a peace accord between Sudan's government and Darfur's rebel groups.
The United States is standing by as the killing continues in Sudan. If it does not act soon, it will be too late.