President Bush is currently in Africa. I commend him for the visit, and the One Campaign is pushing for the presidential candidates to pledge to visit the continent once in office as well. Thankfully, this trip seems to have finally brought Bush around on the genocide in Darfur. That brings two thoughts to mind: on the one hand, Darfur is an important issue and it's good to have the Executive Branch aboard, but on the other hand... what the hell took you so long???
When New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof visited Dartmouth last year, he said Bush cares very much about Darfur and frequently asks his aides about it, but that they have convinced him there is nothing he could realistically do. I suppose, then, that I should be grateful for today, as it's certainly better another year of neglect.
"One of the lessons of the genocide in Rwanda was to take some of the early warning signs seriously," Bush said at a news conference with Rwanda's President Paul Kagame on the third stop of his five-nation African tour...
Bush called attention to the conflict in Darfur, which he has labeled genocide, and criticized the United Nations for moving too slowly to send more peacekeepers. He said it "seems very bureaucratic to me, particularly with people suffering."...
Bush also announced the United States was making available $100 million to help train and equip peacekeepers for Darfur, including $12 million to Rwanda."
Early warning signs?? EARLY WARNING SIGNS??? I recall talking to State Department officials about this issue myself four years ago! Mr. President, if you are so keen on early warning signs, why wasn't this $100 million freed up back then? And as for the UN, if you had made Darfur one of our most visible and consistent foreign policy issues four years ago, I guarantee you the UN wouldn't be so slow! You're just as bad as they are!
But like I say, we should be grateful. Bush's actions today may well save lives - not as many lives as had he taken these steps four years ago, but certainly more lives than if he continued to sit on his hands puzzling at BBC World. I really do believe that the President is the compassionate conservative Christian he claims to be; the problem is he just doesn’t know how to properly act on those principles. So, just this once I say, grumbled under my breath, thank you.