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The American invasion of Grenada: a note on false prophecy

Wendell Bell (Professor Emeritus of Sociology, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA and a member of foresight's Editorial Board.)

Foresight

ISSN: 1463-6689

Article publication date: 30 May 2008

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the reasons, especially the assertions about the future, given by the US administration under President Reagan, to justify the decision to attack and invade the Caribbean island of Grenada.

Design/methodology/approach

The methodology is analysis of existing records and reports on the assertions, events, and decisions leading to the invasion.

Findings

The Reagan administration gave three main reasons for the invasion. They claimed that Americans on Grenada, particularly the students attending the St George's University Medical School, would be harmed from continuing social disruption on Grenada; that the militarization of Grenada was intended as a means for the future export of terrorism or revolution to its Caribbean neighbors; and that the planned international airport at Point Salines was intended to be a future Soviet‐Cuban military base. Each was false.

Research limitations/implications

Decision making includes assumptions about the future and invites the use of foresight. Such foresight, of course, can be presumptively true and, thus, useful. But also it can be wrong, sometimes deliberately manipulated, leading to wrongheaded actions and devastating consequences.

Practical implications

An analysis of the 1983 American invasion of Grenada illustrates the power of authority to distort the truth and corrupt morality, processes that re‐occurred 20 years later with much greater consequences in the case of the 2003 American‐led invasion of Iraq.

Originality/value

The case study of the American invasion of Grenada can be used by decision makers and others to improve future decision‐making situations. Before doing violence to other people, we need to ask what violence we are doing to truth.

Keywords

Citation

Bell, W. (2008), "The American invasion of Grenada: a note on false prophecy", Foresight, Vol. 10 No. 3, pp. 27-42. https://doi.org/10.1108/14636680810883107

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited