While sitting at a park bench in New Orleans I engaged in conversation with a Vietnam veteran who sat quietly feeding pigeons. His views on the U.S involvement in Iraq and the Civil Rights movement where clear from the start of our conversation. For the past ten years he had been teaching at a local elementary school, using what he called "historical parody" to explain events that are difficult to rationalize (such as the war in Iraq)...
February 1, 1964, at the height of segregation in the United States, the British send a military force taking control of the south of the United States deploying forces across Alabama, Tennessee Mississippi, Louisiana and Florida.
Following repeated warnings voiced in the United Nations and through media outlets, the British rally the support of Spain to create a "coalition of the willing" to oust the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson, who was seen as directly responsible for not fully supporting legislation to implement a Civil Rights Act, in strict violation of the Magna Carta.
The British draft an extensive dossier which highlights the abuses to large portions of the African American population including state sponsored lynching, unlawful imprisonment and execution. The dossier adds the actions of the United States government violate the principle of habeas corpus, the legal action by means of which detainees (in this case African Americans) can seek relief from unlawful imprisonment. The British dossier presented Mississippi as an example of the dire situation. In 1960, 42% of the population was black but only 2% were registered to vote. Lynching, executions and jailing was still employed as a method of terrorizing the local black population. The last section of the dossier included testimony from the families of Denise McNair (11), Addie Mae Collins (14), Carole Robertson (14) and Cynthia Wesley (14) who died at the Sixteen Street Baptist Church on the 15th September,1963. An additional twenty-three other people were also hurt as a result of the bomb placed by Robert Chambliss, a member of the Ku Klux Klan following the end of Sunday school classes at the church.
While President Lyndon B. Johnson was a strong ally of the British and the Civil Right Movement before taking office after the assassination of President Kennedy, British intelligence revealed of his intention to increase US involvement in Vietnam and veto the Civil Rights legislation.
The British where emphatic the action, dubbed as "Operation Jim Crow" was also taken as a pre-emptive action against the continued spread of the Ku Klux Klan, a group that threatened through the use of force, the freedom and principles of equal rights in the region. Spain reluctantly joined the British, in spite of domestic protests, in the fear their lack of involvement would leave them outside of the new political order. The British placed tremendous pressure on the Spanish as government officials recognised Spain would be an effective partner given its historical ties in the south of the United States; dating back to the colonial days when Spain occupied parts of Louisiana (Spain purchased Louisiana from the French in 1763). Furthermore, and behind closed doors, the British feared the spread of the Ku Klux Klan across the Caribbean and the Gulf Coast, compromising their fragile sphere of influence in the region and the vast oil supplies in the Gulf of Mexico.
Following a rapid invasion of the Southern states, which saw small number of British and Spanish causalities, officials called for an amnesty and following pressure from other members of NATO and the United Nations, defined a timeline for the withdrawal of forces. However, the invasion of the south triggered an internal battle between the Christian Coalition of America and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The 1.2 million members of the Christian Collation and close to 5 million members of the Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints began an armed struggle for control of the Southern states, given the reluctance of the federal government to commit further military resources as these where stretched given the large troop deployments in Vietnam.
While the military operation of the British and Spanish was a resounding success, they failed to realize the underlying historical tension between both groups - rooted on very different biblical interpretation of the Sonship of Christ. More concerning, the African American population, the British and Spainish where meant to liberate, became increasingly militant, frustrated by lack of progress in establishing a democratic system in the region.