|Invade Grenada, Again
To the Editor
On Sunday, October 23, 1983, the Detroit News editorialized, "Invade Grenada," saying that, "invading other countries isn't something the US is supposed to do any longer," as the world had become more civilized. The News urged that Grenada would be a "good place to begin," to halt communist aggression, to smash a "hard-line Marxist," regime.
You will remember that the US followed the News' urging and invaded Grenada on the pretext of protecting medical students, on assuring the freedom of Grenadians, and to stop the establishment of a jet airport which, we were told, would be a MIG base. The invasion was denounced by many free nations, including Margaret Thatcher's, and the UN, but the US moved unilaterally, claiming support from the Caribbean nations. The press was locked out of the invasion completely. Thousands of US troops attacked an island smaller than Kalamazoo.
As things turn out, nearly none of the stated reasons for the invasion were true. The medical students were in no real danger. There was civil strife on the island, serious strife, but none of the government leaders involved were hard line Marxists, indeed they were following a path that any small nation leader would likely follow; trying to build an educational system that could fit into a technology based world, to control the manufacture of goods taken from the countries natural resources, etc. The airport was indeed a jetport and it was necessary to bring tourists who were landing into a mountain airbase on twin engine planes.
However, the idea of pre-emptive strikes was put into practice, establishing current policy, and some of those involved in the Grenada operation, Urgent Fury, are now working on the invasion of Iraq, and calling for the invasion of Iran.
The day the News printed the editorial, the State Workers Organizing Committee (SWOC) issued a statement, "Invade the Detroit News, " criticizing the News for their call for an invasion. Along with one other person, I was detained by the Detroit police for handing out the flyer.
Now, 21 years later, Grenada is in far more serious trouble than it was in 1983. The hurricanes that hit the island have destroyed at least 40% of the existing shelters, probably more. The government that was installed following the US invasion is proving inadequate to the crisis, having recently been embroiled in scandals about off-shore banking and selling passports. Immediately following the hurricane, top government officials left the island for a British warship, for their safety.
The 17th century Richmond Hill Prison, where the former leadership of the Grenadian government, innocent of the charges against them, are still held, is in a shambles and stories of abuse of all prisoners abound.
The key to the Grenadian economy, fragile tourism, is likely to be in ruins for some time, and the tradition means of support, nutmeg trees, are knocked over, taking a decade to grow again.
Today, there is no Soviet Union to fear. But the 90,000 people on Grenada could use a hand from the US.
Today, invade again, for good reasons.
College of Education
San Diego State University