Our Interests And Our People" (Lessons From Panama)
By Mickey Z.
19 December, 2006
Close your eyes. Try to visualize
a nation whose people are ruled by a despot, a tyrant allied with none
other than the U.S. government. Keep your eyes closed and now imagine
that same autocrat falling out of favor with his American patrons. Picture
him demonized in the press. Envision his country invaded. In your mind's
eye, you can see him arrested and forced to stand trial. Finally, conjure
up an image of the man behind all this...a man named Bush.
Open your eyes. If you thought you were dreaming of Saddam and Iraq
and Dubya, think again because we're coming up on the seventeenth anniversary
of another American intervention in a little place David Lee Roth likes
to call Panama.
On December 20, 1989 Wall 25,000 troops into Noriega's Panama. Called
Operation Just Cause (sic), the foray would have been deemed a "surprise
attack" if any other nation had initiated it.
"That invasion, less than eight months before Iraq invaded Kuwait,
was condemned by the UN General Assembly," explains former U.S.
Attorney General Ramsey Clark. "No action was taken, although the
United States violated all the international laws later violated by
Iraq when it invaded Kuwait, plus a number of Western Hemisphere conventions
and the Panama Canal Treaties."
Utilizing a classic spin technique, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Thomas
Pickering defended the invasion by claiming that Article 51 of the UN
Charter "provides for the use of armed force to defend a country,
to defend our interests and our people." Pickering argued that
Bush was compelled to invade because Panama was "being used as
a base for smuggling drugs into the United States." Since such
durable disinformation tactics never seem to fail, the long reliable
CIA asset General Manuel Noriega fell from grace in record time.
Estimates range from 500 to 3000 dead Panamanian civilians killed during
the invasion and the fighting afterwards. Bush the Elder was later asked
if getting Noriega was worth all those deaths. As if to confirm the
unspoken tenet that some lives count more than others, the president
replied: "Every human life is precious, and yet I have to answer,
yes, it has been worth it."
Can you visualize that?
Mickey Z. can be found on the Web at http://www.mickeyz.net.
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