An experienced journalist tries to make sense of the 1989 Panama invasion by putting it into its immediate context, concentrating on the five years prior to Manuel Noriega's ouster by 24,000 U.S. troops. The intriguing links between Noriega, the drug cartel and the U.S.-supported Nicaraguan contras are explored, though many elements of "the whole story"-especially the many decades of U.S. dominance in Panama-are not adequately treated. One point emerges clearly from this account: the Panama invasion will not look as positive in the light of history as it seemed to so many in the first days after Noriega's capture.
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