The Washington Post yesterday invited the seven announced Democratic presidential candidates to comment on the American intervention in Grenada and, if they wished, American policy in Lebanon in the wake of last Sunday's bombing of the American Marines' headquarters in Beirut. Their responses follow. Reubin Askew
Under the circumstances, I don't think the president had any alternative but to act to secure the safety of the American citizens in Grenada.
And assuming the intiative for this multi-national action truly originated with the eastern Caribbean countries, then I believe we were justified in acting in concert with them to avoid further bloodshed on the island.
We should look now to the OECS Organization of Eastern Caribbean States countries to restore order and assist the people of Grenada in achieving democracy.
The president should define and limit the mission of our troops in Grenada and he should withdraw those troops as soon as practical.
I am not unmindful of the possible implications and consequences of the president's actions.
But we must also be mindful of the possible implications and consequences if he had not acted.
This collective action should send a strong message to Fidel Castro.
I also join all those around the world in grieving for the brave men who have lost their lives while trying to keep the peace in Lebanon.
As I have done repeatedly in recent months, I urge the president to tell the Congress and the American people exactly what he hopes to achieve by keeping our Marines in harm's way.
Because the president has not offered a satisfactory explanation of our national goals in Lebanon, I have refused to support the Congressional Resolution authorizing an extended commitment of our Marines to that country for 18 months.
I agree with Sen. Sam Nunn that the best alternative is a phased withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Lebanon.
Our Marines are more a target than deterrent. Certainly any significant buildup of U.S. forces would be unwise because we wouldn't know who to fight.
Along with this phased withdrawal, we should look toward placing a U.N. peace-keeping force in Lebanon comprised of troops from countries other than those that have had a historical influence in that region.
Given the history of sectarian strife in Lebanon, no country that has had any visible role there over the years can hope to be sucessful as part of a peace-keeping force trying to bring stability to that country."