Reagan was right about Grenada
Former special assistant for national security affairs to President Reagan, Christopher M. Lehman, in Philly.com:
'We are going!': Reagan was right about Grenada
Thirty years ago, on Oct. 25, 1983, the United States launched an invasion of Grenada, an island in the eastern Caribbean. This was the first major operation conducted by the U.S. military since the end of the Vietnam War, and it marked a new assertiveness on the part of the United States. The objective was the liberation of Grenada, including the rescue of nearly 1,000 mostly American citizens who were attending the medical school at St. George's University.
Grenada had gained its independence from Britain in 1974, but in the years after had been subjected to active subversion by the Soviet Union and Cuba. In 1979, a leftist group called the New Jewel Movement seized power and set up a Marxist government. Within weeks, the new government had begun to receive arms shipments from Cuba and the Soviet Union, and the second communist takeover of an island in the Caribbean was soon complete.
Four years later, an internal power struggle broke out and Grenada was again involved in a bloody coup. The prime minister was murdered, along with 50 others. The People's Revolutionary Army announced a four-day curfew and confined the medical students to their quarters, with orders to shoot on sight anyone violating the curfew.
There was a very real concern within the Reagan national security team that the Marxist leaders in Grenada were considering taking American citizens as hostages, as had been done in Iran in 1979. Members of the National Security Council staff began planning a rescue operation. Some of the president's senior staff also began work on a plan to restore democracy, using an international security force that would include troops from other Caribbean nations.
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