Sowing Dragon's Teeth

How Operation Just Cause "decapitated" Panama's Defense Forces, then bogged down in scattered, and surprisingly tough, street fighting

Operation Just Cause was less than eight hours old, but General Colin Powell was all but declaring victory. As Defense Secretary Dick Cheney looked on approvingly, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff boasted that a 24,000- man U.S. force had "decapitated" Manuel Antonio Noriega's army and seized control of strategic facilities along the Panama Canal. Though the crafty dictator was still on the loose, Powell said that it was only a matter of time before U.S. soldiers tracked him down. The only bad news in Powell's rosy report was the uncertain fate of a dozen American hostages, seized by...

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