Thursday, April 07, 2011

G is for Grenada

is for Grenada.  Grenada is an island in the Caribbean known as the Isle of Spice, and you've never been there before, unless of course you are in the US military, in which case you may have been.  Because a lot of people don't know this, but the US invaded Grenada in the early 80s.
    That's right.  Strung somewhere between Vietnam and Iraq was Grenada.  As often happen with foreign colonies, things did not go well for Grenada after it received its independence from Great Britain.  During the civil unrest that followed independence, a more moderate government was overthrown by a strongly pro-communist government, and that was not acceptable to then-President Ronald Reagan.  Neither were the Cuban construction workers building an abnormally long and strong runway on the island.

A clearly pro-communist Grenadan waterfall.
     So, in an operation named Operation Urgent Fury, world military power Jamaica, a bunch of islands in the Caribbean named after saints, and 7000 United States soldiers invaded the island of 100,000 inhabitants.  They were met by 1500 of Grenada's finest, and about 700 Cubans who weren't really construction workers but who were members of the Cuban Military Special Forces.  As would be expected, the US-led forces of justice prevailed over the evil tropical islanders rather decisively. It was not without cost, however, because 19 US servicemen were killed and 116 were wounded, and oh yeah, we pissed off the rest of the world.
     Especially England, or Great Britain as they should properly be called.  See, while Grenada was an independent nation at the time our first Navy SEAL landed on the shore, it was a part of the British Commonwealth, which mean that it wasn't necessisarily all that independent.  The Queen was still its head of state.  They still drank tea in the afternoon.  The British still appointed all sorts of fancy sounding overseers.  So when they found out that we were justifying the invasion as a way to protect a bunch of rich medical students on the island who couldn't cut it back home, we manages to lose the favor of our best friends - England, Canada, and of course Trinidad and Tobago.  Israel, however, was still no board.  It also gave fuel to the usual suspects like China and the Soviet Union to take ecxeption with us, which is pretty much par for the course.
      Now I am not trying to belittle the operation, okay?  Nineteen men lost their lives on the sandy Grenadan soil, and they and the rest of the 7000 soldiers who fought there deserve the same respect as the solders who have fought in Iraq or Afghanistan or Korea or Vietnam or anywhere deserve, because I don't have any actual proof but I am pretty sure that the Grenadans were using very real bullets.  So we should so honor them.  But when you pull back to a wider perspective like you are rolling an overhead projector away from the screen, it just doesn't look good.  And that's why you probably don't hear a whole lot about it anymore.  But that is just how it goes sometimes, there are lots of things that just sort of get lost in history.  So here is to the brave soldiers who risked their lives in Grenada.  Keep up the good work.

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