On January 31, 1990, the US invasion of Panama - dubbed Operation Just Cause - officially came to a close. While the US military has consistently lowballed the Panamanian death count of the short-lived affair, other observers have put the number of fatalities at several thousand.
As media watch group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) noted at the time, Just Cause saw the impoverished Panama City neighbourhood of El Chorillo pulverised to the point of being referred to by ambulance drivers as "Little Hiroshima". In other words, no surgical strikes here.
Indeed, the foray into Panama was the largestUS combat operation since the Vietnam War. The US government trotted out various noble justifications for the operation, such as improving the lot of the Panamanians by hauling their dictator, General Manuel Noriega, off to the US to face drug trafficking charges.
This was the same Noriega, of course, who had for years been a US favourite, occupying a prominent position on the CIA's payroll despite common knowledge of his involvement in the international drug trade.
When the general began to show signs of less-than-obsequiousness to US regional designs, however, he was rendered persona non grata by the self-appointed chaperones of the hemisphere. READ MORE AT AL JAZEERA ENGLISH.