Operation Just Cause: Panama, December 1989: A Soldier's Eyewitness Account

Clarence E. Briggs, Author Stackpole Books $10.95 (155p) ISBN 978-0-8117-2520-0
This paratrooper's personal account of the invasion of Panama shows g how Operation Just Cause worked--and didn't. Though the author is a gung ho soldier who never questions his purpose, he does disclose mistakes: he narrowly avoids shooting at a friendly platoon; U.S. soldiers nervously kill what turns out to be an unarmed Panamanian drunk; and an American lieutenant guesses that one of his men was killed by U.S. MPs. Also, two unannounced, unmarked helicopters shot down by the Americans turn out to contain U.S. operatives who, surviving the crash, mysteriously remove ``sensitive material'' from Panamanian files. But this is not an expose, and Briggs's blind, unflagging patriotism will be hard to stomach for those who doubt the necessity of the war in Panama. Perhaps the most revealing moment comes when Briggs reprints his favorite Christmastime letter, from a small boy who hopes that Noriega ``is sat on trial with a bullet through both eyes.'' Photos not seen by PW. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1991
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