By Deb Riechmann
May 29, 2007 (WASHINGTON) — It has taken President Bush nearly three years to match his impassioned rhetoric about what he decries as genocide in Darfur with tougher U.S. action against some of those blamed for the suffering.
When Bush announced sanctions on Tuesday, advocacy groups and lawmakers wished the president had been harsher and wondered whether it was a case of too little, too late for Darfur. The violence has killed 200,000 people and forced 2.5 million more from their homes since it began in February 2003.
The sanctions target three people with suspected links to the violence as well as about 30 companies in Sudan.
"Three people? After four years? And not one of them the real ringleader of the policy to divide and destroy Darfur?" asked John Prendergast, policy adviser to ENOUGH Project, an advocacy group to prevent genocide and mass atrocities. "This will not build multilateral pressure, and this will not end the crisis in Darfur."
Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, also faulted Bush. "They could have sent a stronger message months ago and saved many lives from being disrupted or lost," he said.
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