After a Visit, Some Second Thoughts in Congress
A bipartisan delegation of 14 House members-including invasion critics as well as backers-visited Grenada to assess President Reagan's decision to move against the ruling Marxist regime. What they found changed the minds of most skeptics among them. Some of their impressions
Thomas Foley (D-Wash.). A very large majority of the delegation feels that the President acted correctly to protect American lives. It is also true that the overwhelming percentage of Grenadian people we talked to strongly support the intervention. I hope all our forces can be out of there in significant numbers at least in 60 days. But if you just rushed for the transports and pulled our forces out, you'd create an enormous security vacuum. Everything from ordinary civilian crimes to the possibility of some renewed terrorism or retaliation or reprisal is a matter of concern to people there.
Robert Michel (R-Ill.). There was a threat to our citizens. Witness after witness-students and local people-made clear to us that on that ground the rescue operation was absolutely justified. The students saw the deployment of machine guns and digging in of positions around the housing development in which they lived. They had real reason to be fearful. You couldn't help but be impressed with the appreciativeness shown by the Grenadian people. As we drove around the island, they waved to us with "V" signs It reminded me of when U.S. troops arrived to liberate France and Belgium in World War II.
Bill Alexander (D-Ark.). I found the aftermath of a bloody revolution with the fires of war still smoldering about the island. I attended worship services on Sunday, after which an old woman clasped my hand with both of hers. She looked up at me with tearful brown eyes and said, "Thank you for saving my life." That statement characterizes the attitude of the Grenadian people toward the American action.
Michael Barnes (D-Md.). I have reluctantly concluded that U.S. military action was justified in this very unique instance. It is imperative that we now withdraw our troops as quickly as possible. The 60-day limit set by the War Powers Act should be the outer limit. On the economic side, we need to restore water-supply and health services and rebuild roads. Beyond that, we have to fill the gap left by the Cubans, who were doing a lot of work in the area of basic human needs, especially health and education. We also have to finish the airport. If there is anything all Grenadians seem to agree on, it is that the airport is an old Grenadian dream.
Ronald Dellums (D-Calif.). The American students were not the
primary objective of this mission. Officials at the medical school told
us it took three days for our invasionary forces to reach the second school
campus at Grand Anse. If this mission was dedicated to the safety of the
students, why didn't they go after them the first day? Public opinion is
riding very high in favor of the invasion. But what public opinion says
at any given moment is what is popular and not necessarily what is right.
At some point, we have to reject the madness of war.