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United States invades Grenada

United States invades Grenada


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President Ronald Reagan, citing the threat posed to American nationals on the Caribbean nation of Grenada by that nation’s Marxist regime, orders the Marines to invade and secure their safety. There were nearly 1,000 Americans in Grenada at the time, many of them students at the island’s medical school. In little more than a week, Grenada’s government was overthrown.

The situation on Grenada had been of concern to American officials since 1979, when the leftist Maurice Bishop seized power and began to develop close relations with Cuba. In 1983, another Marxist, Bernard Coard, had Bishop assassinated and took control of the government. Protesters clashed with the new government and violence escalated. Citing the danger to the U.S. citizens in Grenada, Reagan ordered nearly 2,000 U.S. troops into the island, where they soon found themselves facing opposition from Grenadan armed forces and groups of Cuban military engineers, in Grenada to repair and expand the island’s airport.

Matters were not helped by the fact that U.S. forces had to rely on minimal intelligence about the situation. (The maps used by many of them were, in fact, old tourist maps of the island.) Reagan ordered in more troops, and by the time the fighting was done, nearly 6,000 U.S. troops were in Grenada. Nearly 20 of these troops were killed and over a hundred wounded; over 60 Grenadan and Cuban troops were killed. Coard’s government collapsed and was replaced by one acceptable to the United States.

A number of Americans were skeptical of Reagan’s defense of the invasion, noting that it took place just days after a disastrous explosion in a U.S. military installation in Lebanon killed over 240 U.S. troops, calling into question the use of military force to achieve U.S. goals. Nevertheless, the Reagan administration claimed a great victory, calling it the first “rollback” of communist influence since the beginning of the Cold War.


Operation Urgent Fury: The 1983 US Invasion of Grenada

In 1983, the Cold War was rather hot: Ronald Reagan was elected President of the United States and the relations between East and West deteriorated. In 1983, the world once again felt the fear of an all-out nuclear war, like during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

Reagan emphasized the rise and of the influence of the Soviet-Cuban alliance, as numerous left-wing guerilla groups and military coups began to appear all over Latin America and the Caribean. On 25th of October 1983, the US together with its allies from the Eastern Caribbean Defense Force invaded Grenada, in the response of the coup d’etat that occurred only nine days earlier.

The situation was boiling, as the invasion of Grenada took place only two days after the 1983 Beirut Barracks Bombing which claimed the lives of 220 US Marines, 18 sailors, and three soldiers. The attack was conducted on the Lebanese joint peacekeeping force and resulted in an additional death of 58 French paratroopers and six civilians. But first, what is the background of the small island state in the Caribbean that led to the invasion?

The state of Grenada had its share of political turmoil since its declaration of independence from the British Crown in 1974. The man responsible for their independence was Sir Eric Mathew Gairy. After he was elected Prime Minister of the country for the second time, in 1979, the political opposition began violent clashes against his supporters. A gang war was raging in Grenada between the Mongoose Gang (which was the private army of Eric Gairy) and the New Jewel Movement who opposed them.

The New Jewel Movement managed to oust Gairy from his position and establish a government led by Maurice Bishop in 1979. But a lot of scores were left unsettled. In 1983 a political fraction within the New Jewel Movement organized the murder of Bishop. His deputy, Bernard Coard assumed the role of the Prime Minister.

An aerial view of the approach to Point Salines Airport, taken during Operation URGENT FURY.

The US reacted with a military intervention, at the request of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), as well as the nations of Barbados and Jamaica. It became apparent that a dangerous power struggle was happening in America’s backyard, and the US couldn’t afford another Cuba.

The US justified the invasion through a series of arguments, even though the United Nations, Canada, and Great Britain saw the action as an unprecedented violation of international law. The main reason for the dispute was the way the US justified their decision to invade. The United Kingdom and Canada had contributed to the construction of an airport in Grenada, the Point Salines International Airport, which the United States considered being a cover for a Soviet-Cuban airstrip.

This claim was fueled by the fact that Cuban workers and engineers were involved in the construction. Earlier in 1983, a fact-finding mission was conducted by then-member of the US House of Representatives Ron Dellums, who concluded that the airfield was made exclusively for commercial purposes and that there was no hidden military agenda behind it.

Members of the Eastern Caribbean Defense Force.

Despite the objections, the US continued with their plan. Ronald Reagan garnered his support in the 1980s by warning the public of the “Soviet-Cuban militarization of the Caribbean” and gave the invasion a sense of global significance, as he was convinced that the airfield was indeed a Soviet forward base for the future invasion of the continental United States.

Navy SEAL teams were already on the ground two days before the invasion, gathering intelligence. Due to stormy weather four SEAL operatives drowned before reaching dry land. The others were forced to abort their mission with very limited information on enemy positions.

At midnight, on 24th October 1983, a joint invasion of the island commenced. The 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment took off from an airfield in America in an attempt to take control over the disputed Point Salines airport, with the help of the Navy SEAL-s that were already on the ground. They parachuted near the airport, seized it and waited for the elements of the Caribbean Peace Force to arrive. Later elements of the 82nd Airborne began landing on the now secured airfield.

An air-to-air right side view of an AH-1 Cobra helicopter firing its 20mm cannon during a mission in support of Operation Urgent Fury.

On the first day of the invasion, the US forces ran into moderate resistance which included DShK machine gun fire, ZU-23 anti-aircraft guns and BTR-60 APC-s, together with small arms fire by Cuban and Grenadian soldiers. Besides from Cuban military presence, evidence exists that confirms that elements of Soviet, Bulgarian, East German, North Korean and Libyan armies were involved in the conflict.

The main objectives of the US-led coalition were securing the 233 US students who were in Grenada at the time and liberating Governer General Paul Scoon who was an American-backed politician under house arrest in Grenada. His mansion was besieged by US forces and after a small skirmish with the Grenadian Army, he was evacuated together with his family.

U.S. Marines in Grenada, 3 November 1983

The US students were also successfully evacuated from the Grand Anse campus, after facing light resistance. Additional 20 students would be rescued on the third day of the invasion.

By 27th of October, there was practically no resistance on the island whatsoever. The coalition forces continued to sweep the island, cautiously seizing it, bit by bit. There were several cases of friendly fire reported during the operation. An A-7 airstrike called by an Air-Naval Gunfire Liaison team accidentally hit the command post of the 2nd Brigade at Grand Anse, wounding 17 troops, one of whom died of wounds.

Another case of friendly fire happened after a Blackhawk crashed-landed during a drop. Two helicopters behind it collided with it, killing three and wounding four US servicemen. In total, there were 19 US soldiers dead and 116 wounded. This was the first time the UH-60A Black Hawk helicopters were used in combat.

American students are waiting to be evacuated from Grenada.

Besides from military casualties, 24 civilians lost their lives during the invasion, 18 of them after the US Air Force bombed a Grenadian mental hospital by mistake.

Even though the invasion proved to be a solid demonstration of power, these incidents highlighted the lack of efficient strategic planning and flawed intelligence in the US Army.

Following the US victory, the American and Caribbean governments quickly reaffirmed Queen Elizabeth II as Grenada’s lawful ruler and recognized Governor General Paul Scoon as her only lawful representative in Grenada.


US Invasion of Grenada- Successes and Failures

The United States’ invasion of Grenada commenced in earnest on 25 October 1983, on the orders of President Ronald Reagan. The invading force was made up of the 1 st and 2 nd Ranger Battalions and the 82 nd Airborne Division, along with other Marines, Delta Force, and Navy SEALs, altogether numbering 7,600 troops drawn from both the U.S. and Jamaica.

Operation Urgent Fury successes

Their main objectives were to capture the Point Salines International Airport and Pearls Airport, and rescue U.S. students and Governor General Paul Scoon. The 75 th Ranger Regiment was tasked with the responsibility of capturing and securing Point Salines International Airport, to allow the 82 nd Airborne Division and subsequent reinforcements to land without incident. The 8 th Marine regiment was assigned to the capture of Pearls Airport and rescue of the U.S. students at St. George’s University.

A U.S. Marine Corps Sikorsky CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter hovers above the ground near a Soviet ZU-23 anti-aircraft weapon prior to picking it up during “Operation Urgent Fury”, the U.S. invasion of Grenada in October 1983.

Two attempts had been made by U.S. Navy SEALs to do a bit of reconnaissance two days prior to the invasion, but unfortunately both attempts had failed owing to rather harsh weather conditions and poor visibility, and four navy SEALs were lost in the attempts.

At midnight on 24 October, soldiers of the 75 th Ranger Regiment prepared to perform an air assault landing on Point Salines International Airport, but discovered while in mid-air that the runway was blocked, so they changed tactics and performed parachute landings instead.

An aerial view of the approach to Point Salines Airport, taken during Operation Urgent Fury.

On the ground they met some resistance from Cuban forces, but the Cubans were outmatched and the Rangers quickly moved into position, securing the airfield. The runway was cleared for airplane landings of the 82 nd Airborne Division and 325 th Infantry Regiment, who quickly arrived with reinforcements. Soon, over a hundred Cubans at the airport surrendered in the face of unarguable defeat.

The soldiers went on to their next objective of securing the U.S. students at St. George’s University, but were surprised to learn from the 140 students they secured at True Blue Campus that not all the U.S. students resided there. The remaining students were reported to be at the other campus in Grand Anse. The Rangers lost a patrol jeep in the frenzied search for the U.S. students at True Blue campus, and it was later discovered that the jeep had been ambushed and four of its Rangers killed. In all, they lost five soldiers in the rescue but succeeded in accomplishing their objective.

Meanwhile a group of Navy SEALs led by Lieutenant Mike Walsh were the first to get to Pearl Airport. Reconnaissance showed that the area was relatively unguarded but simultaneously unsuitable for amphibious landings. This they communicated to the 2 nd Battalion of the 8 th Marine regiment, which then landed south of Pearl Airport using helicopters. The Marines encountered only minimal resistance and succeeded in capturing the airport.

Bombardment of Point Calivigny

On the mission to rescue Governor General Paul Scoon in his mansion at Saint George, Grenada, a SEAL team set out from Barbados but were oblivious that they were walking into an ambush. The Grenadian soldiers were already aware of the U.S. invasion by that time, so they cleared the entrance into the mansion so that after the SEALs got in to secure the governor, they would be trapped in it with him.

This siege situation went on for 24 hours in a deadlock, but eventually U.S. Marines from G Company of the 22 nd Marine Assault Unit landed on Grand Mal Bay and rescued the SEALs, evacuating the governor and his household on 26 October.

On the same day, U.S. Rangers of the 2 nd Battalion embarked on their next mission to rescue the U.S. students at Grand Anse. They launched an air assault from their helicopters and although the campus guards tried to resist, they were outnumbered and outgunned, so they eventually fled. The 233 U.S. students there were all successfully evacuated. Only one Ranger was wounded in this mission, and one chopper crashed into a palm tree and was lost.

UH-60A Black Hawk helicopters over Point Salines. The conflict saw the first use of the UH-60 Blackhawk.

The invasion continued on multiple fronts and on 27 October there was very little resistance left to overcome. The 325 th Infantry Regiment did another sweep of Grand Anse and discovered another group of twenty U.S. students they had missed the previous day.

In the town of Ruth Howard, U.S. troops encountered Grenadian resistance and called in an airstrike, but the shots accidentally hit the command post of the 2 nd Brigade, wounding 17 soldiers and killing one.

Leaflet distributed during the invasion by 9th PSYOP Bn

Meanwhile, as the 2 nd Battalion of the 75 th Ranger Regiment prepared to make an air assault to crush the final wave of Grenadian soldiers at the Calivigny Barracks, which was just over 3 miles from the Point Salines airfield, one of the helicopters approached too fast and crashed into two other choppers, wounding four soldiers and killing three.

Finally, after combined sea and helicopter landings on Carriacou Island on 1 November, the People’s Revolutionary Army of Grenada surrendered, bringing an end to the invasion.

American students waiting to be evacuated from Grenada

Failures

The invasion showed flaws in the U.S. communication system. Soldiers were sent into battle with little to no information, and whatever little information they had can best be described as supposition. They did not have sufficient information about the terrain, as the invading soldiers were given old tourist maps of Grenada that had zero detail regarding topography and other important strategic information.

As another example, soldiers did not know that the U.S. medical students were actually at two different campuses that were about thirty minutes apart. Also, during an operation in Ruth Howard, a U.S. support aircraft mistakenly fired upon and killed U.S. ground forces because there were discrepancies in location coordinates in their maps.

A VA-87 A-7E from USS Independence over Port Salines airfield

There was another incident during the operation in which U.S. aircraft targeting anti-aircraft guns unintentionally bombed a mental hospital, killing 18 people and adding unnecessarily to civilian casualties. These mistakes occurred largely due to lack of verified ground intelligence.

The U.S. suffered 125 total casualties, of which 19 were killed and 106 were injured. After the operation, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) adopted the Goldwater-Nicholas Act which reworked the command structure of the U.S. military, thereby making some of the most important changes to the DoD since its establishment in the National Security Act of 1947.

Reagan meeting with Congress on the invasion of Grenada in the Cabinet Room,

Some may argue that the U.S. victory was based on its overwhelming number of soldiers relative to that of the poorly trained and unprepared Grenadian-Cuban coalition, but a fair point remains that the opposition had ample room to prepare against the invasion and they also had detailed knowledge of the terrain, both of which could have been used to their advantage.

U.S. Army soldiers, October 1983


The US invasion of Grenada, 1983 - Howard Zinn

Historian Howard Zinn's account of the American invasion of the small Caribbean island of Grenada, ostensibly to 'protect' US citizens, but in fact to re-assert US military and financial dominance over the region.

In the autumn of 1982, President Reagan sent American marines into a dangerous situation in Lebanon, where a civil war was raging, again ignoring the requirements of the War Powers Act as the government did with Cambodia in the Mayaguez affair. The following year, over two hundred of those marines were killed when a bomb was exploded in their barracks by terrorists.

Shortly after that, in October 1983 (with some analysts concluding this was clone to take attention away from the Lebanon disaster), Reagan sent US forces to invade the tiny Caribbean island of Grenada. Again, Congress was notified, but not consulted. The reasons given to the American people for this invasion (officially called Operation Urgent Fury) were that a recent coup that had taken place in Grenada put American citizens (students at a medical school on the island) in danger and that the United States had received an urgent request from the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States to intervene.

An unusually pointed article in the New York Times on October 29, 1983, by correspondent Bernard Gwertzman demolished those reasons:

The formal request that the U.S. and other friendly countries provide military help was made by the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States last Sunday at the request of the United States, which wanted to show proof that it had been requested to act under terms of that group&rsquos treaty. The wording of the formal request, however, was drafted in Washington and conveyed to the Caribbean leaders by special American emissaries.

Both Cuba and Grenada, when they saw that American ships were heading for Grenada, sent urgent messages promising that American students were safe and urging that an invasion not occur&hellip There is no indication that the Administration made a determined effort to evacuate the Americans peacefully&hellip Officials have acknowledged that there was no inclination to try to negotiate with the Grenadian authorities&hellip &ldquoWe got there just in time,&rdquo the President said. A major point in the dispute is whether in fact the Americans on the island were in such danger as to warrant an invasion. No official has produced firm evidence that the Americans were being mistreated or that they would not be able to leave if they wanted.

The real reason for the invasion, one high American official told Gwertzman, was that the United States should show (determined to overcome the sense of defeat in Vietnam) that it was a truly powerful nation: &ldquoWhat good are manoeuvres and shows of force, if you never use it?&rdquo

The connection between U.S. military intervention and the promotion of capitalist enterprise had always been especially crass in the Caribbean. As for Grenada, an article in the Wall Street Journal eight years after the military invasion (October 29, 1991) spoke of &ldquoan invasion of banks&rdquo and noted that St. George&rsquos, the capital of Grenada, with 7,500 people, had 118 offshore banks, one for every 64 residents. &ldquoSt. George&rsquos has become the Casablanca of the Caribbean, a fast-growing haven for money laundering, tax evasion and assorted financial fraud&hellip"

After a study of various U.S. military interventions, political scientist Stephen Shalom (imperial Alibis) concluded that people in the invaded countries died &ldquonot to save U.S. nationals, who would have been far safer without U.S. intervention, but so that Washington might make clear that it ruled the Caribbean and that it was prepared to engage in a paroxysm of violence to enforce its will.&rdquo He continued:

There have been some cases where American citizens were truly in danger: for example, the four churchwomen who were killed by government- sponsored death squads in El Salvador in 1980. But there was no U.S. intervention there, no Marine landings, no protective bombing raids. Instead Washington backed the death squad regime with military and economic aid, military training, intelligence sharing, and diplomatic support. The story in Panama, Nicaragua, Guatemala and South East Asia was tragically similar.


This article was taken from Howard Zinn&rsquos excellent A People's History of the United States. We heartily recommend you buy A People's History of the United States now. OCRed by Linda Towlson and lightly edited by libcom - US to UK spelling, additional details, clarifications and links added .


The Invasion of Grenada Was Planned Using a Tourist Map

Think of it as "Improvise, Adapt, Overcome" on a grand strategic scale.

When word came down that U.S. Army troops would be shipping out soon after the U.S. Marine Corps barracks in Beirut were blown up Oct. 23, 1983, by the Islamic terrorist group Hezbollah, killing 241 service members, military leaders assumed they were invading Lebanon.

But they soon learned that "Operation Urgent Fury" meant a U.S. invasion of Grenada, a tiny Caribbean island tucked away between Puerto Rico and Venezuela. They were forced to pivot.

The U.S. military knew so little about the country, it had to plan the invasion using maps normally sold to tourists.

Grenada had secured independence from the United Kingdom nine years earlier. At the time, no one imagined it could end up as the staging area for Soviet military operations in the Western Hemisphere.

Grenada's independence didn't bring unity and peace in the streets. There was widespread unrest in the island nation after the United Kingdom granted its independence, and the first government was overthrown by Marxist-Leninist dictator Maurice Bishop.

After he took power, the country's relationship with communist Cuba grew closer. Yet Bishop made friendly overtures to the United States -- which would prove to be part of his downfall.

Not long after Bishop took power, the Cuban government helped him build a large airfield in Grenada, a project that raised a lot of eyebrows, especially in Washington. Port Salines Airport, on the southern tip of the island, had runways just big enough to support the largest of the Soviet Union's aircraft.

It seems strange to assume that an airport designed by a Canadian firm on a tiny island would be the object of suspicion to the western powers, but American intelligence immediately deemed it a national security threat.

Then, Bishop was hunted and executed by a hard-line faction of his own party Oct. 19, 1983. For the island's democratic neighbors and U.S. President Ronald Reagan, that was just too much.

Reagan had other reasons to be concerned about Grenada. In the aftermath of the bloody coup, 600 American medical students were known to be on the island. With the memory of the Iran Hostage Crisis still fresh, he wanted to ensure there would be no repeats.

The U.S. military knew very little about the island or its geography. According to "The U.S. Invasion of Grenada: Legacy of a Flawed Victory" by author Philip Kukielski, Army personnel had to go to downtown Fayetteville, North Carolina, to purchase tourist maps of the island so planners could outline the invasion after drawing military grid reference lines over them. Photocopies of the maps were handed out to troops after coordinates and even the airport were hand-drawn on them.

These pre-internet war planners also had to buy issues of "The Economist" so they could get some kind of intelligence on the country.

Invading Grenada, a communist country, wasn't without risk. The government was supported by America's Cold War rival, the Soviet Union, and its allies. Cuban troops were already stationed on the island. But in the end, no one was coming to help the new Grenadian government.

The murdered Bishop and Cuban dictator Fidel Castro had been more than political allies -- they were friends. And Moscow wasn't willing to risk World War III over an island with no strategic value.

With the exception of a handful of Cuban "citizen soldiers" and some Eastern Bloc advisers, Grenada was pretty much on its own against the United States.

And the U.S. military, still smarting from the failed "Desert One" operation to rescue the hostages in Iran, as well as the lingering specter of Vietnam, was ready for a swift show of force.

Operation Urgent Fury was pretty much like pitting the Harlem Globetrotters against a junior high school team.

Navy SEALs reconnoitered Port Salines with Air Force combat controllers. The 75th Ranger Regiment conducted an air assault to capture the newly constructed airport and anti-air guns and neutralize Cuban special forces. The U.S. Army's Delta Force helped liberate political prisoners, while U.S. Marines made an amphibious landing on the other side of the island to relieve pressure on the SEALs.

That was just the first day.

The 82nd Airborne landed to secure the airfield's perimeter and rescue the medical students, as Army infantry fought to capture the main Cuban compound on the island. Marines and soldiers rolled up any remaining resistance on the coasts as the last defenders of the island deserted or surrendered.

Despite its overwhelming success, the invasion was not without its faults. Aside from the lack of planning capability and intelligence, communication issues between the services were apparent. Artillery, naval gunfire and close-air support missions killed friendly forces throughout the three-day invasion.

Other issues included Navy SEALs getting lost at sea, Army Rangers being left behind, and a general lack of coordination between forces.

The result was the Goldwater-Nichols Act, which reorganized the Department of Defense and military forces, streamlining the chain of command.

Instead of the service chiefs independently reporting to the secretary of defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff now report through the chairman or a unified combatant commander.


Issue#3 HISTORY: United States invasion of Grenada (1983)

Grenada is an island in the Caribbean known for producing nutmeg.

Grenada was populated by Carib natives until the French took control in 1649.

Grenada was under French rule from 1649 until 1763.

Grenada was under British rule from 1763 until 1974.

1974 = British rule officially ends and Grenada becomes an independent nation. Grenada remains in the British Commonwealth of Nations with the British Monarch as Head of State represented on the island by a British Governor-General.

1974 = The Grenada Labour Party won the last election and their leader Eric Gairy becomes the first Prime Minister. The main opposition party becomes the Marxist New Jewel Movement.

1979 Revolution = While Prime Minister Gairy was out of the country address the United Nations, the Marxist New Jewel Movement took over the government through a revolution. The Marxist leader, Maurice Bishop, became a dictator. A popular dictator who attempted to do business with both the Western nations and the Soviet Union. Bishop kept Grenada in the British Commonwealth and the Governor-General remained in place.

General Hudson Austin = leader and general of the People’s Revolutionary Army of Grenada. Becomes leader of the 1983 Coup.

General Austin wanted Grenada to cut off ties with the West and only be associated with the Communist nations.

Bernard Coard = Deputy Prime Minister under Maurice Bishop, he originally leads the Coup but is replaced by Hudson Austin

1983 Coup = Coard puts Bishop under house arrest and is supported by Austin. Bishop is executed along with other top government officials.

After Bishop is executed, the British Governor-General on the island appeals to America and the Regional Security System.

Regional Security System = Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

600 American medical students are on the island when the Coup begins.

The American invasion began on October 25, 1983 and was codenamed Operation Urgent Fury.

The goal of the invasion force is to rescue the medical students and capture the government leaders.

General Austin’s defending force included 1,200 Grenada troops and 780 Cuban troops under Colonel Pedro Tortolo.

Most of the Cuban troops were construction workers working on the airport, but they were also trained as soldiers.

The American invasion force included 7,300 American troops and 353 Regional Security System troops.

The invasion lasted 8 days with all the major fighting over by the 2nd day.

The defenders were completely overwhelmed by the invasion force and resistance crumbled quickly.

Day 1 = over half of the medical students rescued, General Austin captured along with his top officials, airport captured, Governor-General is rescued.

Day 2 = remaining medical students rescued, main Cuban forces surrender.

19 American troops killed, 116 wounded

45 Grenada troops killed, 337 wounded

25 Cuban troops killed, 59 wounded

The American invasion violated international law according to the UN General Assembly. Action against the USA by the UN was vetoed by the USA in the UN Security Council.

Since the American invasion, Grenada has been a Democracy with centrist governments.

The Grenada 17 = The 17 people convicted in the death of Maurice Bishop. All have since been released from prison including Bernard Coard and Hudson Austin.

October 25 is national holiday in Grenada known as Thanksgiving Day in commemoration of the American invasion.


Establishment of Diplomatic Relations, 1974 .

Diplomatic relations were established on November 29, 1974, when Grenadian Ambassador Marie J. McIntyre presented her credentials to President Gerald R. Ford .

Establishment of American Diplomatic Mission to Grenada, 1975 .

An American diplomatic mission to Grenada was established on February 25, 1975, when Ambassador Theodore R. Britton presented his in St. George’s , Grenada. He also was Ambassador to Barbados, and was resident at Bridgetown.

Establishment of the American Embassy in Grenada, 1984 .

The American Embassy in St. George’s was established on February 2, 1984, with Charles A. Gillespie as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim . The American Ambassador to Grenada is resident in Bridgetown, Barbados and the Embassy in Grenada is staffed by a Chargé d’Affaires who reports to the Ambassador in Bridgetown.


The island has equable temperatures, varying with altitude and averaging 82 °F (28 °C). Rainfall is adequate, except in the Point Salines area in the southwest it varies from an average of 60 inches (1,500 mm) in coastal districts to more than 150 inches (3810 mm) in the mountainous regions. The rainy season lasts from June to December. November is the wettest month, but showers occur frequently during the other months. Grenada lies south of the usual track of hurricanes, but when they do occur, as in 1955, 1979, and 1980, they often cause extensive damage.

The island is verdant, with a year-round growing season and a wide variety of tropical fruits, flowering shrubs, and ferns. There are also forests of teak, mahogany, saman (known as the rain tree), and blue mahoe (a strong-fibred tree) in the interior.

The animal life is varied and includes such wild animals as the mona monkey (a small, long-tailed, West African species that was introduced by slaves), the manicou (a species of opossum), the agouti (a rabbit-sized rodent, which is brown or grizzled in colour), the iguana, the mongoose, and a variety of turtles and land crabs.


The Reagan Administration and Lebanon, 1981–1984

From 1981 onward, the Reagan administration feared that conflict between Lebanese factions backed by Syria and Israel, along with clashes between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), could escalate into an Arab-Israeli war. Yet American policymakers differed over how to prevent such a conflict, especially over whether to commit troops for that purpose. Following Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon, the advocates of military intervention won out. But by 1984, terrorist attacks, a lack of diplomatic progress, and congressional opposition led President Ronald Reagan to withdraw U.S. forces from Lebanon.

In April 1981, the Israeli Air Force attacked Syrian forces in Lebanon to prevent them from seizing the strategic Sannin ridge. Syria responded by deploying surface-to-air missiles into the Biqa‘ Valley, threatening Israel’s ability to monitor PLO forces in Lebanon. To avert war, Reagan sent emissary Philip Habib to the Middle East, but he failed to persuade the Syrians to withdraw the missiles. When fighting escalated between Israel and the PLO that July, the Reagan administration feared that Israel would invade Lebanon. Ultimately, Habib managed to negotiate a de facto ceasefire between Israel and the PLO.

The ceasefire, however, merely postponed a larger crisis. The Lebanese remained at odds, Syria refused to withdraw its missiles, and Israel chafed under the restrictions of the ceasefire, which allowed the PLO to strengthen itself and did not prevent terrorist attacks from the West Bank and Gaza Strip or against Israeli and Jewish targets in Europe. In London on June 3, 1982, Palestinian assailants shot Shlomo Argov, Israel’s ambassador to the United Kingdom. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) invaded Lebanon on June 6.

The Reagan administration was divided over how to respond to Israel’s invasion. Secretary of State Alexander Haig argued that the United States should not pressure Israel to withdraw without demanding that the PLO and Syria do likewise. Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger , Vice President George Bush , and National Security Advisor William Clark wanted the IDF to withdraw immediately and to sanction Israel if they did not. The debate sharpened when the IDF destroyed Syria’s missiles in the Biqa‘ on June 9, raising the specter of a wider war. President Reagan sent Habib to Israel to demand a ceasefire. The IDF halted its advance into the Biqa‘ but continued to the outskirts of PLO-controlled West Beirut.

With the Israeli-Syrian confrontation defused, Reagan adopted Haig’s strategy of helping the Lebanese Government take over West Beirut, then negotiating Israeli and Syrian withdrawal. By July, the PLO informed Habib that they would leave Beirut if an international force deployed to protect Palestinian civilians. Against Weinberger’s advice, Reagan agreed to contribute Marines to a multinational force (MNF), alongside French and Italian troops. However, the Palestinian withdrawal did not begin until August 21. The United States could not convince any Arab country to receive all PLO fighters from Beirut they were ultimately dispersed to several states. Initially, the Israelis refused to let the MNF deploy until the PLO left, instead intensifying their attacks on Beirut. The PLO completed its withdrawal by September 1. Though the MNF was supposed to remain for thirty days, Weinberger announced that the Marines would leave on September 10.

On September 14, Lebanese President-elect Bashir Gemayel , whose election had been backed by the Israelis, was assassinated. Citing a need to prevent civil disorder, the IDF entered West Beirut. By September 18, it became clear that the Israelis had allowed Maronite militiamen to enter the Sabra and Shatilla camps and massacre Palestinian civilians. An international outcry ensued, and Reagan decided to commit Marines to a new MNF. On October 28, Reagan signed National Security Decision Directive (NSDD) 64, calling for the United States to work toward the withdrawal of foreign forces from Lebanon, help rebuild the Lebanese Army, and contribute to an expanded MNF if necessary. In April–May 1983, Secretary of State George Shultz helped Israel and Lebanon negotiate an agreement that ended the hostilities between the two countries and provided a basis for normal relations once Israel withdrew. For Israel to withdraw, however, Syrian and Palestinian forces would also need to leave Lebanon.

The Israeli-Lebanese agreement was opposed by Syrian President Hafiz al-Asad , who claimed that it would enable Israel to dominate Lebanon. Asad refused to remove his troops and encouraged Lebanese opposition to President Amin Gemayel . Meanwhile, the Israelis, facing guerilla attacks in the Shuf, decided that they would unilaterally withdraw from the area.

The Reagan administration feared that an Israeli pullback could lead to the partition of Lebanon and expose the MNF to shelling from the Shuf. New emissary Robert McFarlane attempted to soften Syria’s position, delay Israeli withdrawal, and help Gemayel and his opponents reconcile, but without success. The IDF pulled back on September 3, and fighting erupted between Maronite Lebanese Forces and pro-Syrian militias led by Walid Jumblatt’s Popular Socialist Party. To prevent Lebanese troops from intervening, Jumblatt and his allies attacked them as well, leading McFarlane to warn that they might reach Beirut and topple Gemayel’s government.


The US invasion of Grenada, 1983 - Howard Zinn

Historian Howard Zinn's account of the American invasion of the small Caribbean island of Grenada, ostensibly to 'protect' US citizens, but in fact to re-assert US military and financial dominance over the region.

In the autumn of 1982, President Reagan sent American marines into a dangerous situation in Lebanon, where a civil war was raging, again ignoring the requirements of the War Powers Act as the government did with Cambodia in the Mayaguez affair. The following year, over two hundred of those marines were killed when a bomb was exploded in their barracks by terrorists.

Shortly after that, in October 1983 (with some analysts concluding this was clone to take attention away from the Lebanon disaster), Reagan sent US forces to invade the tiny Caribbean island of Grenada. Again, Congress was notified, but not consulted. The reasons given to the American people for this invasion (officially called Operation Urgent Fury) were that a recent coup that had taken place in Grenada put American citizens (students at a medical school on the island) in danger and that the United States had received an urgent request from the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States to intervene.

An unusually pointed article in the New York Times on October 29, 1983, by correspondent Bernard Gwertzman demolished those reasons:

The formal request that the U.S. and other friendly countries provide military help was made by the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States last Sunday at the request of the United States, which wanted to show proof that it had been requested to act under terms of that group&rsquos treaty. The wording of the formal request, however, was drafted in Washington and conveyed to the Caribbean leaders by special American emissaries.

Both Cuba and Grenada, when they saw that American ships were heading for Grenada, sent urgent messages promising that American students were safe and urging that an invasion not occur&hellip There is no indication that the Administration made a determined effort to evacuate the Americans peacefully&hellip Officials have acknowledged that there was no inclination to try to negotiate with the Grenadian authorities&hellip &ldquoWe got there just in time,&rdquo the President said. A major point in the dispute is whether in fact the Americans on the island were in such danger as to warrant an invasion. No official has produced firm evidence that the Americans were being mistreated or that they would not be able to leave if they wanted.

The real reason for the invasion, one high American official told Gwertzman, was that the United States should show (determined to overcome the sense of defeat in Vietnam) that it was a truly powerful nation: &ldquoWhat good are manoeuvres and shows of force, if you never use it?&rdquo

The connection between U.S. military intervention and the promotion of capitalist enterprise had always been especially crass in the Caribbean. As for Grenada, an article in the Wall Street Journal eight years after the military invasion (October 29, 1991) spoke of &ldquoan invasion of banks&rdquo and noted that St. George&rsquos, the capital of Grenada, with 7,500 people, had 118 offshore banks, one for every 64 residents. &ldquoSt. George&rsquos has become the Casablanca of the Caribbean, a fast-growing haven for money laundering, tax evasion and assorted financial fraud&hellip"

After a study of various U.S. military interventions, political scientist Stephen Shalom (imperial Alibis) concluded that people in the invaded countries died &ldquonot to save U.S. nationals, who would have been far safer without U.S. intervention, but so that Washington might make clear that it ruled the Caribbean and that it was prepared to engage in a paroxysm of violence to enforce its will.&rdquo He continued:

There have been some cases where American citizens were truly in danger: for example, the four churchwomen who were killed by government- sponsored death squads in El Salvador in 1980. But there was no U.S. intervention there, no Marine landings, no protective bombing raids. Instead Washington backed the death squad regime with military and economic aid, military training, intelligence sharing, and diplomatic support. The story in Panama, Nicaragua, Guatemala and South East Asia was tragically similar.


This article was taken from Howard Zinn&rsquos excellent A People's History of the United States. We heartily recommend you buy A People's History of the United States now. OCRed by Linda Towlson and lightly edited by libcom - US to UK spelling, additional details, clarifications and links added .


Watch the video: US Invasion of Grenada. 3 Minute History (July 2022).


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