The Grenada Invasion: 'Use Force When You Should, Rather Than When You Must'
NATIONAL WAR COLL WASHINGTON DC
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On October 25, 1983, a U S. task force consisting of Navy and Marines, together with Army Rangers and the 82nd Airborne, was tasked with rescuing hundreds of U S medical students who were being held on the island of Grenada by the hard-line communist forces that had just executed Grenadian Prime Minister Maurice Bishop. Eventually, the task force was also charged with eliminating the communist Cuban presence from Grenada, thereby securing the island. This was Operation Urgent Fury. After four days of sometimes intense combat, mostly against Cuban forces, the students were rescued and all other U S objectives were secured. What mix of factors shaped the U S decision to choose military force in Grenada, and why didnt the U S national security policy process give greater consideration to the usual sequencing of policy instruments, such as the economic and political pressure advocated by British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher Former Secretary of State George Shultz offered a short, but not so simple answer The use of force obviously should not be taken highly, but better to use force when you should rather than when you must last in other words, the use of force as a last resort means no other, and by that time the level of force and the risk involved may have multiplied many tunes over.
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