Thursday, July 21, 2005

Is Congress caving on Darfur?

I wanted to pass this along. It is a comparison of a proposal in the House to stop the genocide in Darfur, and another, weaker bill that has been introduced more recently.
Dear friends:

I have managed to get a copy of the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act or DPAA [a.k.a. the Watered Down Darfur Accountability Act [HR 3127], introduced by Henry Hyde on June 30, on the heels of N.Y. Times reports that the Bush Administration had circulated a letter to Congressional reps, asking them to kill the Darfur Accountability Act or DAA [HR 1424]...

In reading it over, it is easy to see how this could easily slide by. The bill begins with a series of findings, etc., that give the impression that its authors care the utmost about Darfur. (The July 2004 resolutions are all there, as are quotes from the 2005 U.N. report.)

When you get to the meat of it however, the bill is remarkable for what it does __not__ say, particularly when juxtaposed against the Darfur Accountability Act. The most remarkable things, which you may already know, are:

1. The DPAA deletes the provisions for use of force
set forth in the DAA.

2. The "no fly zone" is also omitted.

3. Oil sanctions and trade restrictions are omitted.

I'm having trouble at this late moment parsing the differences between two bills. And I'm not sure why the new bill was necessary. The earlier HR 1424 has 120 co-sponsors. According to THOMAS, the last action on it was on 4/7/05, when it was referred to committee. Perhaps it couldn't get out of committee, so its supporters are introducing it again in a new form and bringing it to a different committee. Or there is the more troubling possibility that the President asked them to kill it because it might interfere with soliciting Sudan's help in the war on terror.


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