Sens. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) are correct in their call for a more resolute U.S. policy to end Sudan's ethnic cleansing of its Darfur province ["It's Happening Again," op-ed, June 23]. However, the sort of sanctions and diplomatic action they call for alone have never halted an incipient genocide. To stop the killings, rapes and expulsions, force must enter the equation.

France maintains a substantial air base at N'Djamena in Chad, including Mirage fighter aircraft. This base should be the launch pad for a "no-fly" zone over Darfur province, akin to what the U.S., British and French maintained over northern Iraq from 1991 on.

American and other allied powers could augment the French contingent with European-based air assets. Khartoum would be warned that any sorties over Darfur would be shot down and that the bases from which they are launched, such as that at El Fasher, would be struck decisively, with an emphasis on eliminating Sudanese air power.

Furthermore, Janjaweed militia formations should face airstrikes if they continue operations. With this air umbrella firmly in place, humanitarian access and peacekeeping force deployment could move forward. The French garrisons in Chad and Djibouti, along with the American task force in Djibouti, could form the nucleus of a Darfur safe area force, to be followed by troops under U.N. or other auspices.

The summoning by Mr. DeWine and Mr. McCain of the shameful example of Rwanda a decade ago was apt.

There is still just enough time to prevent another African genocide. To do so, the United States, France and other capable states must act now.

KURT BASSUENER

Washington