Your Jan. 23 editorial, "The long road out of Darfur," lays out the complex and dire situation in the region of Sudan where nearly 400,000 people have died. While Secretary of State Rice has been intimately involved recently in building support for an expanded role for the UN in Darfur, President Bush has remained silent on the subject.
Next Tuesday night, during his State of the Union address, the president has a golden opportunity to break his silence. His speech will be nearly 17 months to the day after his administration labeled the ongoing atrocities in Darfur "genocide," and it is time for the president to speak with moral clarity on this issue to the American public and our friends and allies around the globe.
Darfur is one of those unique issues that lies at the nexus of good policy and good politics. Those pushing for the president to take action include his political base - religious conservatives - but also constituency groups that tend to support more liberal causes: religious progressives and African- Americans.
If the president were to stand up in front of Congress and the American people and articulate a clear moral vision of action on Darfur, he could rise above the political partisanship that grips our nation's capital and promote a real solution to a global problem.
Howard Salter and Raj Purohit
Mr. Salter is director of communications, and Mr. Purohit is a senior fellow, at Citizens for Global Solutions.
Regarding your Jan. 23 editorial: Perhaps you should recall the results of the US's previous attempts to help Africans help themselves. I will only note the most recent effort: Somalia. Remember this disaster?
Hang a National Geographic map on the wall and glance at it. Notice the size of Africa as compared with the United States. Look at the human and natural resources available to the continent. Should we continue to step into Africans' affairs, they will never develop these resources or use the ones they currently have. Why should they when we Americans squander our own resources?
Involving NATO in Darfur is the same as saying that the US should be involved, and this is true when considering UN involvement, too. Instead, let's help our fellow citizens in hurricane-Katrina-affected areas.
Dennis J. McCusker
In reference to the Jan. 23 article, "Across the country, many mobilize against illegal immigration": There seems to be an effort, on the part of some pro-immigration organizations, to blur the definitions of "legal" and "illegal" immigration. This is done by comparing the huge number of current illegal immigrants to previous waves of Jewish, Irish, and German immigrants who came to this country legally. I think nearly all those who oppose illegal immigration are not opposed to those who immigrate to the US legally.
Opponents of illegal immigration are concerned about our nation's security, as well as the problems of increased gang activity, crowded schools, and the added impact on our healthcare system. Additionally, they are worried that the sheer number of illegals will greatly impact the growth of our population. The number of people in the US is already causing air and water pollution, crowded highways, and other problems. At our present rate of population growth, we will have nearly a half-billion people by mid-century and more than a billion by 2100, which is equal to the current population of India.
San Diego, Calif.
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