Bush Orders Invasion of Panama

1989

President George H.W. Bush orders the invasion of Panama on Dec. 20, 1989. He notifies congressional leaders several hours prior, but does not invoke the War Powers Act. He cites as goals: to topple leader Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega, to protect Americans, to restore democracy and to protect the Panama Canal. The United States installs a government of leaders whose election earlier in the year had been nullified by Noriega. The misson ends Jan. 3, 1990, with Noriega’s surrender and extradition to Miami for trial on U.S. drug-trafficking charges.