January 21st, 2004, 07:33 AM
WI the US had fully supported the coup by Panamanian Defence Force officers against Manuel Noriega in Oct 1988 ? OTL, these anti-Noriega officers, pissed off at his abrogation of promised democratic elections, and with some covert US support, arrested him, but were foiled by loyalist PDF elements who rounded up and executed or imprisoned these coup participants. Accordingly, Noriega became more brazen in his authoritarian dfisregard of the Panamanian ppl's democratic wishes, and of the US, which eventually led to Operation JUST CAUSE to kick him out in Dec 1989 after his incitement of the Dignity Bns to harass American personnel and their dependents in Panama. However, what about if Pres Bush had more actively supported the PDF coup plotters against Noriega and his rival presidential hopeful Erdara (?) ? Could the US have reasonably gone to the extent of providing armed support from among the Southern Command forces stationed in-country, for the coup ? Would a successful ousting of Noriega have negated the need for a fullscale invasion of Panama thru JUST CAUSE ?