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.