Passing The Manhood Test Operation

Just Cause was a triumph for American soldiers

"It was probably the best-conceived military operation since World War II," declared retired Army Chief of Staff General Edward Meyer. Insisted a veteran enlisted man in Panama: "From a professional military point of view, this operation will go down as a brilliant success." For the U.S. military, said a senior Pentagon officer who had no doubt that the G.I.s had passed the exam with flying colors, "the Panama invasion was a test of manhood."

Although the judges were hardly impartial, few military experts dissent from their glowing assessments of Operation Just Cause. The praise was a welcome shift. Except for the...