Panama: A just War?
The US failed to recognize all diplomatic solutions when dealing with Panama in 1989 which then led to war.
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The political position of Noriega was still in the air.
While Noriega, leader of Panama was strengthening ties with the USSR there was no solid connection between the two. He still had positive ties in the US.
After the USA saw that Noriega was developing more ties outside of them and pressured him to stop they became aggressive. Threatening him with indictments pertaining to his criminal activities. The same activities that were once okay'd by the US.
The Panamanian force was outnumbered.
There were 27,000 American soldiers compared to the 16,000 Panamanian soldiers. This is nearly double the force in favor of the US. Also the war was fought on Panamanian land which led to more wounded and dead compared to the US troops. Only 23 Americans were killed compared to a 300 soldier and 500 civilian total.
The U.S. had also used very brutal tactics of fighting. They had burned down many buildings in cities. This over-use of fire had led to many people being displaced. The El Chorrillo neighborhood was burned down, and had left 20,000 people homeless
As America is a larger country it is expected to have a larger military force. Causalities of war are always to be expected and those deaths are always going to be of teh surrounding populace.
Was only asked to step down after exposed....by reporter.
The American government knew all of what Noriega was doing in Panama and did nothing to stop it. Even after he was no longer very helpful as an insight. The government even payed him large amounts of money for his services starting at $100,000 a year to $200,000 per year. Only after his illegal activities were uncovered by a New York Times reporter did the US government ask him to step down from power.
Up until the point of conflict, Noriega had provide information to the U.S. that was helpful to our war on drugs, and we had to make sure we could get that vital information. We could be in a very different spot without Noriega's information on the drug trade system.
We attacked them first.
While there were talks going on the US government staged and attempted two different coups in an attempt to overthrow Noriega. There had been no aggression from Panama and the talks had a chance of working.
Noriega's general assembly, however, had called a state of war between the U.S. and Panama, stopping all further chances of diplomacy between the two countries.
We were not fighting an official opponent.
During his reign, Noriega was very unpopular with the people of Panama. During the election of 1989, Noriega was to lose to his opponent, Guillermo Endara. Before he could lose the election, Noriega annulled the election using his control of the army, taking complete control by force. He used his power to influence other government elections, including representatives, with threats.
Even though Noriega had not won the election, he still claimed control of Panama. It was important that we had removed him, because Panama had still declared war on the U.S. He was a very threatening and scary leader, even in the eyes of Panamanians, and it was important to defend them and the rest of Panama.
The War on Drugs.
The CIA and DEA were very aware of Noriega's character, his history, his crimes, and his actions. Even though he supplied information to the government, the government decided to continue to work with him instead of apprehending him, preventing him from furthering his possible crime spree. Noriega worked with the Medellin Cartel, who besides drug trading, was also considered by some a terrorist group, who had assassinated the president of Colombia and other government officials. The U.S was aware of this but never took the steps to prevent Noriega's actions.
Noriega had given a lot of important information to the CIA and DEA on the drug trade. He provided vital information on that so that we could continue the war on drugs successfully, that no one else could provide.
What do you think?
A just war is a war that is only implemented as a final resort. There are seven different principals that have to be followed for any war to be considered as a just war and if you look at the reasons that have been provided through history many of these have not been followed.
- All of the non-violent options must have been executed.
- It must be waged by a legitimate authority, individuals or groups do not count.
- Can only be fought as a redress to a wrong, for instance self defense is counted as a just clause.
- It must have a reasonable sense of success, deaths that occur in a hopeless cause can’t morally be accepted.
- Must be used as a way to reinstate peace.
- There must be a distinction between combatant and civilian. Civilian casualties are NEVER a good thing.
- Violence should only be in proportion to the injury suffered.
The panama invasion did not follow these principals on the side of the United States. Here are the reasons why.