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Operation Just Cause

During the administration of American President George H. W. Bush, Operation Just Cause was the invasion of Panama which deposed Manual Noriega[?] in December 1989.

H-Hour was 0045 hours, 20 December 1989. The Americans used overwhelming force. Over three hundred aircraft moved troops, attacked targets or provided other support. Twenty-four thousand U.S. troops were deployed against the sixteen thousand members of the Panama Defense Force.

The Panamanian force was quickly decapitated. Senior officers were killed, captured, or more commonly abandoned their men. The attack touched off fires and looting by impoverished Panamanians.

The operation quickly lost focus as decentralized resistance, criminal activity and the hunt for Noriega replace clear-cut objectives.

By January, combat forces had begun to withdraw and reconstruction of the Panamanian government began under the name Operation Promote Liberty[?]. The Americans lost twenty-three killed and 324 wounded. Panamanian deaths are more difficult to calculate. The Defense Forces lost 314 dead, and another two hundred civilians are known to have died, although this number may not include people in destroyed buildings whose bodies were never recovered.

Planned under the name Blue Spoon[?] the actual invasion incorporated elements of the Nifty Package[?] and Acid Gambit[?] plans.

See Blade Jewel[?], Nimrod Dancer[?], Purple Storm[?], Prayer Book[?] and Sand Flea[?].

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