Day 3: Mass Destruction in the Liberated Country


Devastation for Salvation?

SBNP December 23, 1989

“Noriega said to be directing fighting

‘The country [Panama] appeared on the verge of anarchy as looters and roving gunmen moved through the city. ... Panamanians who had opposed the Noriega government began to complain about results of the American invasion. – hospital confirmed 51 civilian deaths.. and 835 civilians had been wounded ... At the UN Security Council .. Belavita asserted that 6000 to 7000 people had been killed in the fighting so far. … In the first hours of the invasion US forces destroyed Noriega’s headquarters in a poor section of the capital and ... touched off fires that ravaged houses and stores in a radius of several blocks. More than 1200 people were left homeless, American officers said, many of whom are now huddling together on an open soccer field.”

Dune: “Wow Harry! The people of Panama really got hit hard! ‘Looters and roving gunmen throughout the city’. Possibly thousands killed & homeless.”

Harry: “Whadaya mean? The headlines just reported that they hadn’t captured Noriega yet. Why are civilians homeless and dead?”

Dune: “Remember that dramatic attack that they mentioned on the first day – the one against military bases. Well the attack hit the heart of the city instead – where the poor were crowded together.”

Harry: “Thousands of civilians killed to catch a drug trafficker? Hmmm?” As his voice drifts off he begins to cry, then brightens, “The wages of crime, I guess.”

Dune: “So because of Noriega’s drug dealing thousands of innocent people are dead & a few billion dollars worth of damage done. Does that seem just?”

Harry: “Wrong place at the wrong time. Why was Noriega in the heart of the city where the poor were?”

Dune: “That’s where his support was. Evidently he felt safe in the poor section of town.”

Harry: “But I thought everyone hated him.”

Dune: “Mainly the rich. They love Americans worldwide.”

More Troops?

SBNP December 23, 1989

“2000 additional troops from US. sent to Panama

WASHINGTON-With violence flaring anew in Panama, the United States sent 2000 more troops to the Central American nation and announced that the American occupation would be extended .... in order to establish order in the capital of Panama City. The reinforcements bring US. troop strength to 24,000.”

Dune: “Hey Harry. How come they sent 2000 more troops to liberate Panama? I mean really. There is only 2.37 Million People in the whole country. We had to use 22,000 + 2,000 = 24,000 men to conquer Panama. One trained soldier per 100 civilians was not enough. Those Panamanians must be tough.”

Headline Harry: “Listen first of all we did not conquer Panama. We liberated them from a military dictator and drug runner. Remember ‘$Million Bounty’ – ‘US Vs Noriega’. We love Noriega it’s just the Panamanians that we hate. Oops. Got that mixed up.”

Dune: “By the way, Panama City, where the major amount of our troops attacked and are stationed only has 439 thousand people. This turns out to be about one soldier per 20 civilians in the city. Why wasn’t this enough for a small country that we were liberating? Why did we have to send 2000 more troops? I thought they would be welcoming us with open arms; not armaments.”

Bush: “America just defending itself from Panama”?

More SBNP December 23, 1989

“Bush said the assault was legal under Article 51 of the UN. Charter – allowing use of force in self-defense and it was welcomed by the new government in Panama City, whose leaders were sworn in at a US. military base just before the invasion commenced.

Meanwhile, public knowledge of conditions in Panama was confused partly because the US. military restricted about 300 American reporters to a US. base there ... The military said conditions did not allow it to protect many journalists in the field.... US. Army Gen. Maxwell Thurman told reporters that he was surprised by the strength of forces that remain loyal to Noriega.”

Dune: “Hmmm? ‘Use of force in self-defense’ huh. One American soldier is worth 2000 Panamanians? Was Panama attacking us? A single death warranted bringing 24,000 heavily armed troops into this country of 2 million. ‘Self-defense’ George? I wish you could’ve come up with something a little more plausible than that. A country of 2 million attacking a country of 200 million? Right! ‘Sworn in at an American army base prior to the invasion.’ Does this mean that any invasion attains legitimacy if you crown a puppet before the invasion? ‘Public knowledge confused because 300 American reporters are restricted to an American military base due to conditions in the field’ Three days after the ‘liberation’ conditions hadn’t stabilized enough? What don’t they want us to know about conditions in Panama? ‘Forces loyal to Noriega stronger than we thought.’ Sounds like these marauders & looters are a little more than that. Maybe ‘Forces loyal to Noriega’ are an armed resistance movement.

The Whole World Condemns the Invasion.

Why & So What?

More SBNP December 23, 1989 (Last paragraphs of 24 paragraph article)

“At the United Nations Friday ....Country after country denounced the US. invasion. Some speakers said Noriega’s misdeeds as a dictator did not justify such a massive US. attack. White House aides shrugged off a 20-1 vote Friday by the Organization of American States (OAS) condemning the US. invasion and calling for an immediate withdrawal.”

Dune: “Harry did you read that ‘country after country denounced the US. invasion’. And the OAS by a 20-1 margin condemned the invasion and called for an immediate withdrawal’.

Harry: “You know, I only read headlines, mainly on the front page, and I certainly wouldn’t have read the last paragraph of a long article on Page 3. Why didn’t they mention that in the headline? It must not be that important.”

Dune: “So our whole hemisphere is condemning our invasion and White House aides shrugged it off . I guess it was so insignificant that it only took an aide to dismiss it. Evidently the President & Cabinet level politicians don’t care about the opinions of the rest of the hemisphere. Only the aides cared enough to shrug it off.”

Dune: “‘Country after country denounced the US. invasion’ Sounds like the rest of the world wasn’t so happy either.”

Harry: “I thought the world leaders were split. That’s what the first day headlines said. I wonder what are they so upset about?”

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