Thursday, September 20, 2012

the last book I ever read (Rachel Maddow's Drift, excerpt seven)

from Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power by Rachel Maddow:

The toll in the end was this: 19 American servicemen killed (17 from friendly fire or accidents), 120 Americans wounded, 300 Grenadians killed or wounded, including those 18 mental patients killed in their beds. And also, precedent: operational secrecy justifying flat-out lying to the press corps and therein to the public. Secrecy, again, and the blunt assertion of executive prerogative justifying a cursory dismissal of the constitutional role of Congress in declaring war, and even of the need to consult them.

Whatever the costs, the Reagan White House reaped the benefits: in the American mind, the toll and humiliation and political inexplicability of Lebanon was now "closely related" to this much more satisfying rescue mission. And for a president who had traded on the emotional potential of American military strength and glory for his political aims, it was a chance to put taxpayer money where his mouth had long been, to let the US Armed Forces flex their arguably atrophied muscles.

"For all of its shortcomings, for all of the derisive commentary about the pathetic stature of the enemy against which American power was hurled, the invasion of Grenada was a victory," Marine Corps chronicler Rick Atkinson wrote in The Long Gray Line. "Armies fight with morale and esprit as much as they fight with tanks and bullets; after Grenada, soldiers walked a little taller, not because of their battlefield exploits but because of the huzzahs from the rescued students and an appreciative citizenry at home. The United States Army, its self-esteem battered in Southeast Asia, needed to win a war, any war. That slender campaign streamer from Grenada buried beneath it the seventeen preceding ribbons from Vietnam."

No comments:

Post a Comment