Thursday, December 15, 2011

Our Days of Weakness Are Over - The U.S. Invasion of Grenada

After the United States called its loses in Vietnam the morale of the country was down. President Reagan was looking for an easy victory and in the Grenada located in the Caribbean was Reagan's perfect chance. There had been previous conflict between Grenada and the United States after Prime Minster Maurice Bishop who was a moderate Marxist-Leninist began to associate the country with Communist countries. Bishop had felt threatened by the United States and in fear of invasion became allied with the Soviet Union who supplied them with millions of dollars worth of military supplies for free. Grenada was seen as a threat to democracy but the United States did not have an valid reason to invade this reason. Vice President George. H. W. Bush along with a Special Situation group that was set up to handle the Grenada crisis began to articulate what form of military action was going to take place.

The perfect opportunity arose when Prime Minister Bishop had been overthrown by a supposed comrade Bernard Coard. Coard despite his lack of public support became the new Prime Minister of Grenada and arrested Bishop. Bishop was found by his supports tied to his bed along with the Minister of Education Jacqueline Craft and released. Shortly after Bishop's rescue he was again captured. Jacqueline Craft, Bishop and six others were executed. This execution was the leading factor to the United States invasion in Grenada.

The United States needed legal justification for the invasion. Secretary of State Charles Gillespie persuaded six Caribbean Prime Ministers from the Organization of East Caribbean States to sign on board with the United States invasion. These prime ministers signed for they wanted the United States "to take action for collective defense and preservation of peace and security against external aggression."

The U.S.S. ship Guam was told to change its root from it original destination in Lebanon. The United States will ill prepared for the invasion having little to no knowledge of who was in charge and how equipped their military was. Despite the set back in lack of information the United States was well equipped militarily with troops of soldiers, planes, munitions and jeeps. "The mission, code-named Operation Urgent Fury, was to 'protect and evacuate U.S. and designated foreign nationals from Grenada, neutralize Grenadian forces, stabilize the internal situation, and...assist in the restoration of a democratic government on Grenada."

Operation Urgent Fury was successful not only in Grenada but in restore the morale back on the home front. The reasoning behind this invasion is similar to other invasions that have taken place in the Caribbean such as Cuba, the Philippines, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic.

The End of the Warsaw Pact

The Soviet Union moved with fear in response to the anti-communist formation NATO . The soviet Union concluded the Warsaw Pact with its satellites in May 1955. It included all communist states in Europe - Soviet Russia, Albania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Czechoslovakia and East Germany. The Pact spoke of peaceful intentions and defense. It allowed its members to participate in any other coalition or alliance but it assured members of immediate assistance, including the use of armed force, in the event of armed aggression from other countries. To provide for military assistance, a Russian Supreme Commander was appointed to lead the combined armed forces of its members. A committee was established to foster political understanding of its members.

In the Late 1980's the anti-soviet and anti communist movements through eastern Europe began to crack to the war saw pact. Members from the pact started to leave because they wanted to get away from communism.

The Soviet Union gave up their control of the war saw pact. A few months later the committee met one last time and they talked about what they accomplished. After that meeting the Warsaw pact was ended.

On March 31st, 1991 the Warsaw pact ended.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Address to the Nation on the Iran Arms and Contra Aid Controversy

Between 1980 and 1988 Iran and Iraq were involved in a war with each other also known as the Persian Gulf War. During the war Iran found it difficult to find nations in which to supply them with weapons in which they needed to win the war. Between 1982 and 1992 the Islamic fundamentalist group, later identified as the Hezbollah, kidnapped over 100 hostages from multiple nations and killed 230 Americans in the Embassy Bombings in Beirut. This was known as the Lebanon Hostage Crisis. The reason for the hostages may very well have been to protect themselves from retaliation of the United States or other countries. The Israeli government supported the Iraqi’s during the war and was willing to supply them with weapons as long as they could be reimbursed from the United States. The controversy began when the Reagan administration officials began to secretly sell weapons to Iran. The plan was that Israel would ship weapons to Iran and then the United States would reimburse Israel and receive their payment. When the Iranians were receiving the weapons they promised to attempt to do everything in their power to get the American hostages released from a terrorist group that was tied to Iran. This changed to an arms-for-hostage scheme in which the government sold weapons to Iran for the release of American hostages. The hostages were sparatically released when the Iranians received the weapons in which they wanted. When America received their payments proceeds of the money went to funding Anti-Sandinista and anti-Communist rebels in Nicaragua. This part of the plan was created by Oliver North who was a member of the National Security Council. Funding the Contras in Nicaragua was illegal as part of the Boland Amendment.

On March 4th, 1987 President Ronald Reagan made a speech to the American public about the controversy with Iran and the release of the hostages held by the Hezbollah.
“But I’ve had to wait, as you have, for the complete story. That’s why I appointed Ambassador David Abshire as my Special Counsellor to help get out the thousands of documents to the various investigations. And I appointed a Special Review Board, the Tower board, which took on the chore of pulling the truth together for me and getting to the bottom of things.”
Reagan discusses how he believes that America deserves the truth about the tragedy with the hostages and the controversy of selling weapons to Iran. Reagan was said to not have known a
bout this controversy until it was shown to the public.
“First, let me say I take full responsibility for my own actions and for those of my administration. As angry as I may be about activities undertaken without my knowledge, I am still accountable for those activities.”
While trying to regain trust from the American people with this statement he admits to lying to them about not trading arms for hostages. The entire controversy revolves around this concept along with the money that was sent to fund another war that we weren’t actually part of. He believed that selling the Iranians arms was a strategy in order to accomplish other goals but in fact it turned into an arms-for-hostage strategy, which is not what they had in mind.
“It’s clear from the Board’s report, however, that I let my personal concern for the hostages spill over into the geopolitical strategy of reaching out to Iran.”
This was critical because of this scandal the United States needed to make sure they did everything possible to release these hostages but in a legitimate way. Reagan also promised the loved ones of these hostages that they would explore every possible avenue to rescue these hostages. On the other hand, suspiciously though the Board was unable to find any information about the money controversy.
“The Tower board wasn’t able to find out what happened to this money, so the facts here will be left to the continuing investigations of the court appointed Independent Counsel and the two congressional investigating committees.”
Though he is willing to again take responsibility for these actions in which occurred it is strange to see that they were unable to find any information about the money. It is possible that Reagan did know what was happening and told the officials in his administration to destroy the evidence, but we will never know. Unfortunately American hostages were killed though many were released it is a great lose for the American people that we were unable to save our hostages from harm. The last American hostage was released on December 4th 1991; while the sad return of the last two deceased American hostages were returned late in December of 1991.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Edward R. Murrow vs. McCarthyism

By the year 1954, in America, McCarthyism had begun to run its course and the Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy who was once an extremely influential voice in America was coming under fire. McCarthy was at the time the face of the House of Un-American Activities Committee.

This Committee was created in 1937 mostly in response to the Ku-Klux-Klan. However, as the Cold War came the focus had shifted to fighting communism on the home front. By 1937 the committee had compiled names of people in Hollywood and accused them of being affiliated with the Communist part. The list was known as the Hollywood Ten and it was the mark of the beginning of the Communist hunt in America.

McCarthy joined this scene on Feburary 9th 1950. He made a speech to the committee claiming to have a list of 205 names of members of the State Department who were involved in the Communist Party. Although this list was not a secret and was not soley based on members of the Communist Party, his speech contained the right amount of shock value to catch the attention of the American public. For the next few years McCarthy began crusading against many members of the State Department and created what many call a modern day witch-hunt.

McCarthy's rhetoric was not just about homefront protection against Communism. He was a member of the Republican party and many of his attacks happened to be people that fell into the left-wing. Many believe that his attacks against the Democratic party was influential in the election of Eisenhower. He was tough on what he called "liberal media" also. He wanted to make it seem that the left-wing was attacking him instead of the other way around.

On March 9th, 1954, respected journalist Edward R. Murrow took to his CBS show See It Now and refuted many of McCarthy's claims. Murrow basically exposed the Senator's lies and did it in a way that used McCarthy's own words against him. He began the report by revealing two contradicting quotes made by the Senator in regards to his beliefs on starting trouble between the two political parties. In one quote he believes it would be detrimental to our society to eliminate the two-party system and in another quote he believes that it is inevitable and that the democratic party is guitly of treason. These two conflicting views allow Murrow to illustrate McCarthy as a flip-flopper who does not hesitate to divulge misinformation.

The Report than continues on to reveal comments McCarthy had made about Eisenhower who just so happened to be the candidate he was backing. McCarthy had critisized Eisenhower for expressing hope that Communism would become a thing of the past and not at the forefront of our political concerns. McCarthy clearly believed Communism was the largest threat to our society and he made many strides to ensure the issue would not just fade away. Murrow then moves on to reveal a statement McCarthy made in regards to a respected member of our army General Zwicker. Although this type of behavior was not uncommon of McCarthy it struck a chord with many American's that were uncomfortable with seeing the soldiers that protect our Country attacked. This was a huge reason for McCarthy's downfall.

An important piece of McCarthy's claims is that he was not the attacker and the liberal media was performing a smear campaign on him. In an effort to be forthcoming with that information Murrow lists certain headlines from newspapers around the United States on the subject of McCarthy's attack on the American army. Murrow than moves the subject along to McCarthy's campaign against Aldai Stevenson. Stevenson was the Democratic candidate up against Eisenhower the both times he was elected. The report reveals a statement made by McCarthy accusing Stevenson of connection to a communist hide-out in a barn in Massachusetts. McCarthy begins his statement by saying "Strangely, Alger -- I mean, Adlai." This reference is too Alger Hiss, a government official who was convicted of being a spy for the Soviet Union. This already sets the tone for where McCarthy is going with his statement. Once the statement is finished Murrow brings out a piece of information that cuts completely at McCarthy's argument. His claim that Stevenson is named on a piece of paper in this Soviet hide-out is irrelevant because he does not expose that there are also three others from the state department that just so happened to be Republican were named in the capacity.

Lastly, Murrow reveals a hearing the McCarthy headed against a man named Reed Harris. Harris was a writer and United States government official. He was accused by McCarthy because of a statement he made in a book he wrote in 1932. After hearing the testimony of Harris and the accusations of McCarthy it becomes clear that McCarthy is really just fighting views that oppose his own rather than fighting for American safety. At the close of the report you know where Murrow stands on the subject and you are made aware of many of Senator McCarty's blunders. McCarthy's response to Murrows clear message was to disregard it as "liberal-media" and then go at Murrow personally and accuse him of ties to the Communist Party. Shortly after that McCarthy was completely exposed for what he was. His continued attacks on members of the American army crossed the line and McCarthyism came to an end.

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