Essay: Who Wants Another Panama?

Who Wants Another Panama?

We don't want another Vietnam, everyone says, squinting into the desert sun. We want something swift and decisive, short and sweet -- a Panama perhaps. For these are the two poles of our collective military memory: on the one hand, the quicksand of Vietnam; on the other, the "brilliant success" of Panama, ; or so it was heralded at the time -- a military action so flawless, so perfectly executed that, as one of the generals responsible for carrying out the invasion boasted shortly afterward, "There were no lessons learned."

On Dec. 20, 1989, you will recall, the U.S. Army invaded...

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