As a world power, we must realize there are times to use our military power, but as a democracy, we cannot afford to make that our first response.

I am happy and relieved that our students have been safely rescued in Grenada. But that shouldn't distract us from the same question we should ask ourselves in Lebanon. What is our mission?

If our aim was to ensure the safety of American in Grenada, fine. We should have tried to exhaust diplomatic avenues before invading. Military action should be our last resort, not the first.

If our aim is to go further to set up a new government, then the Reagan administration is going too far. We have no right to invade and take over a country just because others want us to. We are right to be concerned about the Cuban buildup. But we should have first tried to work with our allies before resorting to military aggression.

By shooting first and asking questions later, we have violated the charter of the Organization of American States and angered our friends in Latin America and around the world.

We can ill afford to go around the world looking for thugs to beat up on. We didn't have to go 1,300 miles to Grenada to find thugs. We've got Marxist thugs 90 miles off our coast in Cuba.

We have the resources to conduct sensible foreign policy, we're just not using them. With this type of gunboat diplomacy, all we do is destroy our foreign policy consensus at home and our credibility abroad.

We worked long and hard to establish this credibility in Latin America. We pursued it with the Panama Canal treaty. We pursued it by not invading Nicaragua after Somoza fell. And we are pursing it with the Caribbean basin initiative.

Now we've gone and destroyed the credibility we worked so diligently to achieve. The Reagan administraiton likes to criticize the Soviets for Afghanistan and Poland but now it is we who stand denuded in the eyes of world public opinion.