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America's and Africa's duty in Darfur

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A voice of conscience is on a tour of American cities. Former Marine captain Brian Steidle, who saw firsthand the results of Darfur's black Arab Muslims killing black African Muslims, is one of thousands of Americans trying to end that genocide in Sudan.

Mr. Steidle was assigned to help the meager 7,000 soldiers from the 53-nation African Union (AU) operating in Darfur, a province the size of France where 180,000 people have been killed and 2 million more forced to flee their villages by marauding bands backed by Khartoum.

His eyewitness accounts and photographs have helped generate more American interest in Darfur than any other global humanitarian issue, according to the US State Department. From campuses to churches, Darfur has become a rallying cry over the problems of Africa's many ethnic wars, a global indifference to mass killings, and the perverse power politics of big nations in putting other interests ahead of such moral atrocities.

Americans like Steidle are making a difference by pushing the Bush administration to act tougher on the regime in Sudan. Last month, President Bush called for United Nations troops, perhaps with NATO assistance, to replace or supplement the ill-equipped African forces. The Senate, too, passed a resolution urging Bush to improve Darfur's security. And UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has cited the UN Charter in justifying intervention in Sudan.


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