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Operation Just Cause: The Storming of Panama Hardcover – December, 1991

ISBN-13: 978-0669249750 ISBN-10: 0669249750 Edition: First Edition
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Drawing on hundreds of interviews, the authors describe the invasion of 26,000 U.S. troops against the Panama Defense Forces, and the toppling of Manuel Noriega. In addition to crisp accounts of conventional firefights during the brief campaign--December '89-January '90--the book describes a wide variety of military situations, affording readers a close look at how U.S. troops make war in the post-Vietnam era: Capt. Linda Bray becomes the first female to lead American troops into battle; an American civilian is rescued from the Model Prison by Delta Force commandos; U.S. and Panamanian forces fight hand-to-hand in an airport women's restroom. As the authors make clear, Operation Just Cause marked a significant change from Washington's concentration on the Soviet menace. With the protection of American citizens abroad becoming increasingly important in the face of terrorism and hostage-taking, we can expect the smaller U.S. Army to be oriented toward a different variety of threats, note the authors. The book offers a sharp examination of how the Army went into action on a new kind of front. Donnelly and Roth report for Army Times , Baker for Defense News.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

Three editors of Army Times offer a minutely detailed--and adulatory--narrative of Operation Just Cause, the US invasion of Panama in December 1989. Despite Gen. Noriega's intelligence services to the US about Cuba and the Marxist forces in Central America, the authors say, it was clear to the White House that the Panamanian strongman had to be deposed. According to Donnelly, Roth, and Baker, Noriega and his henchmen had stolen elections, looted the Treasury of Panama, murdered, kidnapped, beat, and tortured rivals, built a ruthless military force, dealt in lucrative drug trafficking, detained and beat Americans, and, finally, killed a US marine officer. The general had also worked with Cuba against US interests, endangering Canal security and American citizens. Finally, President Bush, his patience exhausted, gave go-ahead orders to the planners of Operation Just Cause, Generals Powell and Thurmon, who, the authors note, had learned in Vietnam the high price of the piecemeal application of deadly force--a price not paid again in Panama as, under the unified command of General Carl Stiner, elite American units from all service branches swept away the well-armed forces of Noriega in eight hours. The authors see the kind of small, splendidly trained and equipped all-volunteer army that defeated Noriega as well suited for the role of possibly stabilizing other countries in order to buy time to allow democratic societies and free economies to develop. Starting with Carter, they argue, American policy has begun to promote democracy and human rights in Latin America, replacing the old image of ``Yankee imperialism.'' Recent revelations about the high number of Panamanian casualties during the invasion leave some doubt as to exactly how efficient American forces were. Still, an unusually upbeat military history of the war that served as a training ground for Operation Desert Storm. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 454 pages
  • Publisher: Lexington Books; First Edition edition (December 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0669249750
  • ISBN-13: 978-0669249750
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,119,915 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Joel R. VINE VOICE on October 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover
In the late 1980s, Manual Noriego engaged in a game of political cat and mouse with the United States government. In 1989, he pushed it too far when his Panamanian Defense Forces murdered 1st Lt Robert Paz, USMC. In December, the United States responded by deploying armed forces in an operation named "Just Cause". "Operation Just Cause: The Storming of Panama", by Thomas Donnelly, Margaret Roth, and Caleb Baker, is a compilation of stories of the men and women who were there.

The book begins with a cursory introduction to the modern history of Panama, specifically on the rise to power of Manuel Noriega. Readers discover that under his leadership, the Panamanian Defense Forces perpetuated a pattern of harassment and violence of Americans who lived in the country. This violence culminated with the murder of Lt Paz on December 16, 1989.

On the American side, readers are introduced to the Army generals who would be leading the ground operations during the liberation of Panama. Under their leadership, US Southern Command developed multiple iterations of war plans to respond in the event that combat operations were necessary. Also under their leadership, US military forces conducted numerous command post exercises, and field training exercises in both the United States and Panama. The exercises in Panama, codenamed `Sand Flea', familiarized US forces with some of the key targets and terrain that would be assaulted during the operation.

The balance of the book tells the story from a tactical level of the men and women who fought on the ground, as well as perspectives of American citizens who lived in the country at the time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John B Gregg on July 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
VERY detailed. They leave NOTHING out. Also VERY well written; especially for so complex a subject. It was a steal at $ 4.74, for any professional soldier, active OR retired.
John B Gregg. LTC USA, Ret
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By FCH on May 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am somewhat biased as my husband participated in OPERATION JUST CAUSE (and I am retired military, to boot.) My husband will not talk about Panama at all, so for me, this book helps fill in the gaps. Now that we have children, this is something I can pass on to them in terms of history and their father's place in the event.
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0 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Hogan_62 on September 18, 2011
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