IN OTHER WORDS : Darfur crisis

President Bush will face a tough, and in many cases hostile, crowd when he addresses the UN General Assembly on Tuesday. The mayhem in Iraq, his flouting of the Geneva Conventions, the hectoring tone of his previous appearances will all make it much harder for him to elicit the respect or even the full attention that any American president should command.

Still, Bush could make a difference if he threw aside his usual script, devoted this speech to the horrors of Darfur, and committed himself personally to stopping the genocide. The tally of human suffering should make even the most jaded listener take notice: at least 200,000 dead and two million more driven from their homes by three years of rape and mutilation led by Sudanese troops and their proxy Arab militias.

The news on Sunday that Bush would name a special envoy for Darfur was a good start. That message would be even stronger if Bush said the US would take the lead in soliciting troops for the UN and recommended making NATO planners available to help draw up contingency plans for a possible forced entry.

Last week, Bush said he was frustrated with the lack of action in Darfur, calling it an example of why “a lot of Americans” are frustrated with the UN. He has a chance to change that. — The New York Times