The Invasion of Panama
The U.S. invasion of Panama on December 20, 1989 was a mark of excellence on the behalf of the U.S. armed forces ability to effectively use the principles of war. The years leading up to the invasion set the climate for conflict; drug trafficking became a major problem between Panama and the U.S. in the 1980's, as well as Manuel Noriega's interference with the Panama canal employees rights under the Panama Canal Treaty; the final action that sparked the invasion was Noriega's attempt to fix the national election and the military enforcement of the fix after the election. Once this took place the U.S. began to make a plan for the invasion. The overwhelming success of this mission stemmed from the U.S. military's competent use of the principals of war.
The primary success of a mission is the ability to define an overall attainable objective for the mission. In the formulation of the mission to invade Panama, the U.S. military set out four main objectives of the mission. First, they wanted to "protect American lives" (Watson 69). This meant they wanted to protect the lives of the 35,000 U.S. citizens in Panama from attacks by Noriega's Panama Defense Force or PDF; they also wanted to protect the lives of Americans at home by attempting to eliminate drug trafficking. Second, they wanted to "protect American interests and rights under the Panama Canal Treaty" (Watson 69). This could be done by abolishing Noriega's control of the workers who operate the canal, and his control of the canal itself. Third, they wanted to "restore a democratic and freely elected government to Panama" (Watson 107). Here, the U.S. would gain control over the country and ensure a fair election. And, finally, they wanted to "apprehend Noriega" (Watson 69) for prosecution in the U.S.. This would ease the difficulty of restoring democracy and eliminating drug trafficking, as well as giving Americans a feeling that justice was being served. These...
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Westview Press, Boulder, CO, 1991.
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