Cover image for Operation just cause : Panama, December 1989 : a soldier's eyewitness account
Operation just cause : Panama, December 1989 : a soldier's eyewitness account
Briggs, Clarence E.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Harrisburg, PA : Stackpole Books, [1990]

Physical Description:
xii, 155 pages : illustrations, maps ; 21 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
F1567 .B75 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Who is the enemy? Who is an innocent bystander? When can I use force and how much force should I use? The answers to these questions vary according to the role of the soldier and the rules of engagement under which he is operating at a particular time and in a particular place on the battlefield. We owe the American solder, who for future conflicts must be equally prepared to direct traffic and to close with and destroy the enemy, answers to these questions. But most important, after we determine the answers, we must be willing to train on them.

Author Notes

First Lieutenant Clarence Briggs, a rifle company executive officer, was assigned to the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, at the time of Operation Just Cause. He received his commission as a Distinguished Military Graduate from Ohio State University and holds an associate degree in public policy analysis, bachelor of arts degrees in political science and history, and a master of arts degree in international relations. Briggs is currently stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

This slim but interesting volume tells, from the perspective of an infantry officer, the story of U.S. operations in Panama in 1989. It offers valuable insights into how military theories and political directives may have to be translated on the spot by rifle companies, and it vividly depicts the problem of peacekeeping actions most likely to cause trouble in the future: telling friend from foe and soldier from civilian. For medium or large current affairs and military collections. Glossary, further readings; to be indexed. ~--Roland Green

Publisher's Weekly Review

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.'' Photos not seen by PW. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved