May 30, 2017

"Then on Dec. 16, 1989, Panamanian troops shot and killed an unarmed American soldier in Panama City, wounded another and arrested and beat a third soldier whose wife they threatened with sexual assault."

"'That was enough,' President George Bush said in announcing the invasion, which included more than 27,000 troops. A White House statement as the invasion got underway said the United States had acted 'to protect American lives, restore the democratic process, preserve the integrity of the Panama Canal treaties and apprehend Manuel Noriega.' Political commentators at the time assigned other motives, including a way for Mr. Bush to shake off perceptions of weakness; his poll numbers rose significantly after the invasion.... Panamanian forces were quickly overwhelmed as Mr. Noriega escaped into hiding, surfacing days later on Dec. 24 at the Vatican Embassy in Panama City.... American troops descended on the embassy, and a standoff followed. For a time, American forces blasted heavy metal music (including Van Halen’s 'Panama') to torment Mr. Noriega and prevent reporters with directional microphones from hearing conversations between military and Vatican officials. He surrendered on Jan. 3, 1990...."

From the NYT obituary for Manuel Noriega, who has died at the age of 83, after all these years in prison.

13 comments:

Kevin said...

To copy and paste from another Althouse post today:

"The visceral instinct to physically attack a person who has just attacked you is strong; the surge of adrenal hormones makes it feel possible and necessary. That circuitry is increasingly vestigial, but overriding it and playing the longer game requires an active decision...."

rehajm said...

Musical torture techniques have been improved since then

Robert Cook said...

He was a murderer and a drug runner and one of our loyal allies and a CIA asset...until he offended America and was deemed a liability to be disposed of. He was the pre-Saddam Hussein Saddam Hussein.

St. George said...

So, if Noreiga kills one American soldier, and we invade, does that mean if the North Korean regime kills one American soldier, we invade?

If not, what would it take--the downing of a surveillance aircraft? Shooting down a fighter? Attacking a warship?

Big Mike said...

Political commentators at the time assigned other motives, including a way for Mr. Bush to shake off perceptions of weakness

Of course they did. Mind you, the "perception of weakness" was something those commentators created out of thin air.

The Cracker Emcee said...

There are Red Lines of American interest that even Obama would have had to enforce. The Panama Canal is one of them. The whole gunboats-to-the-legation casus belli was the same excuse used by powers for centuries.

Graham Powell said...

A friend of mine from college was a paratrooper in the assault. He came down a little off-course, in a Panamanian's backyard. Apparently they were very happy to see him.

Larry J said...

My oldest son was involved in that invasion. He admitted to being scared going in but had no real problems. When I visited Panama in 2014, the people I met were quite happy to be rid of rule by dictators.

JAORE said...

I was in Panama last year on vacation. Friendly people, motivated, no doubt by money, the canal remains an engineering marvel.

Gospace said...

One of the little reported stories out of the invasion was that only one American unit faced Panamanians who wouldn't surrender. A small all female MP unit assigned to take over a dog kennel- now the stories say a concealed weapons storage facility- received armed resistance and had to call in back-up. The Panamanian soldiers refused to surrender to women. They fled after back-up showed and started firing, but never did surrender.

The story has changed somewhat since I first heard about, and is now paraded about as an example of the prowess of women in combat.

Etienne said...

We orbited off the coast with our radar. It was a lot of work, but no one was shooting at us, so we only complained about the toilet.

They didn't give us any medals...

"No soup for you!"

Bob R said...

Knopfler's reaction to the story (among other things)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1axx2FJUTg

rcocean said...

That happened almost 30 years ago, yet seems like yesterday.