Operation "Just Cause" Collection



An adult collection of English-language books for a public library that offers information about Operation Just Cause, a United States Military Intervention which took place in 1989 in the Republic of Panama.  This collection will include general information about this intervention and it will not include books of military strategy.


Behar, David S. Invasion: the American destruction of the Noriega regime in Panama. Los Angeles: Americas Group, 1990.


Briggs, Clarence E. Operation just cause: Panama, December 1989 : a soldier's eyewitness account. Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 1990.

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." (from Publisher’s Weekly)


Buckley, Kevin. Panama: the whole story. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991.

The author, a former Newsweek correspondent, vividly describes events leading up to the "Just Cause" invasion of Panama by U.S. troops. His book covers the complexities of Panamanian political intrigues, the corruption, the political culture, the involvement of the United States with Manuel Noriega, and the interaction between Noriega and the major domestic and international actors from 1986 through January 1990. Using details and anecdotal information, Buckley fleshes out the motivations and actions of each character, maintaining throughout a sense of suspense and mystery, even for the specialist familiar with the events. Highly recommended for all libraries. (from Library Journal)


Donnelly, Thomas, et al. Operation Just Cause: the storming of Panama. New York: Lexington Books, 1991.

Drawing on hundreds of interviews, the authors describe the invasion of 26,000 U.S. troops against the Panama Defense Forces, and the toppling of Manuel Noriega. In addition to crisp accounts of conventional firefights during the brief campaign--December '89-January '90--the book describes a wide variety of military situations, affording readers a close look at how U.S. troops make war in the post-Vietnam era: Capt. Linda Bray becomes the first female to lead American troops into battle; an American civilian is rescued from the Model Prison by Delta Force commandos; U.S. and Panamanian forces fight hand-to-hand in an airport women's restroom. As the authors make clear, Operation Just Cause marked a significant change from Washington's concentration on the Soviet menace. With the protection of American citizens abroad becoming increasingly important in the face of terrorism and hostage-taking, we can expect the smaller U.S. Army to be oriented toward a different variety of threats, note the authors. The book offers a sharp examination of how the Army went into action on a new kind of front. (from Publisher’s Weekly)


Donnelly, Thomas, Margaret Roth, and Caleb Baker. Operation Just Cause: The Invasion of Panama. New York: Lexington Books, 1991)

Various accounts of what actually occurred in Panama in December 1989, told by correspondents who offer us a soldier's point of view. (from Books in Print)


Flanagan, Edward M., Jr. Battle for Panama: Inside Operation Just Cause. Herndon, VA: Brassey’s Inc.,  1993.

On the morning of December 20, 1989, US Army, Navy, Air, and Marine forces attacked Panamanian forces commanded by Manuel Noriega. Operation Just Cause was a lightning strike that had many of the characteristics of Desert Storm more than a year later. This book examines in detail the planning and execution of the operation. The author had access to all basic action reports and intelligence. (from Books in Print)


Harris, David. Shooting the Moon: The True Story of an American Manhunt Unlike Any Other, Ever. New York: Back Bay Books, 2002.

Harris's smartly rendered, admirably detailed exploration of the bizarre, violent road from Iran-Contra to the prosecution of Panamanian General Manuel Noriega synthesizes three distinct stories involving everyone from the Medellin cocaine cartel to CIA Director William Casey, Oliver North, and assorted generals, federal agents and state's attorneys. During the Reagan-era cocaine wars, ambitious DEA agents went after Noriega for allowing cartels to ship drugs from and launder money in Panama. On the other hand, the autocratic, ruthless Noriega had long been the go-to man for CIA and covert military operations against Central American communism. Veteran author Harris (The League, etc.) persuasively argues that the dictator's cartel business overlapped with CIA incursions, primarily against the Nicaraguan Sandinista government. Finally, Iran-Contra's rapid 1986 unraveling caused Noriega's American protectors to betray him. Following George Bush's election , unprecedented U.S. military action into Panama costing 28 U.S. and numerous Panamanian lives deposed Noriega, who then faced a Florida grand jury. (DEA executives, horrified by this pursuit of their onetime asset, nearly derailed the responsible agents' careers.) Harris portrays Noriega as the ultimate grifter and certain key American players as quasi-heroes: DEA agents struggling against bureaucracy, the dictator's sleazy legal team and former partners who turned state's evidence and Canal Zone military authorities with the unwelcome task of enforcing the State Department's capricious demands. Although his sometimes purple prose relies too much on unnamed sources, Harris's investigative epic of governmental malfeasance and retribution reads like an international thriller. (from Books in Print)


Independent Commission of Inquiry. The U.S. Invasion of Panama: The Truth Behind Operation 'Just Cause'. Cambridge: South End Press, 1991.

Includes legal commentary by former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark and the Commission's report on the widespread civilian deaths, political repression, and property destruction caused by the U.S. invasion and occupation of Panama. (from Books in Print)


Jones, Kenneth. The Enemy Within: Casting Out Panama’s Demon. El Dorado, Panama: Focus Publications, 1990.

This book gives an overview of Operation Just Cause and uses 320 photographs to help tell the story of the causes leading up to the intervention, the events during the invasion, and the results for civlians and Panamanian-American relations because of it.


Katz, Samuel. Operation Just Cause. Hong Kong: Concord Publications, 1998.


Kempe, Frederick. Divorcing the dictator : America's bungled affair with Noriega. New York: Putnam, 1990.


Lenahan, Rod. Confrontation Zone: The Story of the 1989 U.S. Intervention into Panama : Operation Just Cause. Charleston, S.C.: Narwhal Press, 2002.

The Panama Intervention saw the largest use of strategic airlift assets, to introduce tactical forces into combat, since World War II. The objective was to arrest dictator Manuel Noriega and bring him to trial on drug charges, and to restore democracy in Panama, a country with historic close ties to the United States. The author helped to organize the Special Operations Joint Task Force that carried out the mission. (from Books in Print)


Lenahan, Rod. Operation Just Cause: The U.S. intervention in Panama. Washington, D.C.: National Defense University Press, 1995.


McConnell, Malcolm. Just Cause: the real story of America’s high-tech invasion of Panama. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1991.

McConnell presents a compelling, crisply narrated account of America's 1989 invasion of Panama. Unlike other recent historians of the invasion (e.g., Kevin Buckley in Panama, p. 575), McConnell does not dwell on the political and diplomatic background of the conflict between General Manuel Noriega and the Bush Administration. Instead, after he concisely sums up the atmosphere of tension in Panama City in the days immediately before the invasion (and paints a demonic portrait of Noriega and his defense forces), McConnell plunges into the military mechanics of the invasion itself. In taut, snapshot-like accounts of the surprise attacks of SEALS, Rangers, and other elite troops at Paitilla Airport, the Canal, and additional vital points in Panama City, the author excels in rendering clear what must have been highly confusing combat situations. McConnell emphasizes the sophisticated technology of the invasion, and his account is replete with military acronyms and technobabble reminiscent of a Tom Clancy thriller--although his clear and fast-paced narrative captures well the atmosphere of the invasion. While his admiration for the brilliant execution of the American military is evident, the author balances his account with descriptions of the tragic ``friendly fire'' episodes that needlessly caused a number of American casualties, and the farcical use of rock music to harass Noriega after he took refuge in the Vatican embassy. An excellent narrative of the invasion, and a superb education in American military technology. (from Kirkus Reviews)


Phillips, R. Cody and John S. Brown. Operation Just Cause: The Incursion into Panama. Darby, P.A.: Diane Pub. Company, 2004.

Operation Just Cause (OJC), one of the shortest armed conflicts in Amer. mil. history, is also one of the most relevant to campaigns as we anticipate them in the 21st cent. Launched in Dec. 1989, it was extraordinarily complex, involving the deployment of thousands of personnel and equip. from distant mil. installations and striking 2-dozen objectives within a 24-hour period. OJC represented a bold new era in Amer. mil. force projection: speed, mass, and precision, coupled with immediate public visibility, concern for collateral damage, and anticipation of post-combat mandates. Here is a concise discussion of OJC; lessons learned from this experience will undoubtedly prove useful in future mil. operations. (from Books in Print)


Rottman, Gordon. Ronald Volstad, ill. Panama 1989-90. Oxford: Osprey Publishing, 1991.

In December 1989 US Army forces, supported by the US Air Force and US Navy, participated in Operation 'Just Cause'--the invasion of Panama. A combination of airborne, helicopter and ground assaults quickly secured key objectives and eliminated organized resistance. Beginning with a brief history of US-Panama relations and the development of the Panamanian Defense Forces, this book focuses principally on the military aspects of Operation 'Just Cause', and ends with a summary of the conflict's aftermath. Numerous photographs, and detailed color plates depict the actions of the armed forces units that executed this difficult, and controversial, operation. (from Books in Print)


Schaller, Jane, et al. Operation "Just Cause": The Human Cost of Military Action in Panama. Cambridge: Physicians for Human Rights, 1991.


Watson, Bruce W. and Petr G. Tsouras. Operation Just Cause: The U.S. Intervention in Panama. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1991.

Evaluates such factors of the US intervention in Panama as intelligence accuracy, the effectiveness of the military operation, medical services, legal aspects of the fate of Noriega, and the effect on US-Panama relations and US foreign relations in general. Most contributors are with the US defense establishment. (from Books in Print)