“While we ran the place it was Paradise. (For us, anyway.)”
Quite an interesting experience. My notes on a few items that seems to have made that “paradise”.
Was it primarily the Dept of Defense in charge not the entire US federal government working “together”? (If the feds had such talent, the US Post office would have put FedX and UPS out of business, as one example most people experience.)
That country you experienced had the benefit of US $, goods, services, and materials flowing into it. In other words, there was a wealth creating machine, industrial engine somewhere else making it all possible. For us today, other than printing fiat money which will have long term consequences, federals have led the charge to shut down our economy - there is no external “benefactor”.
That country probably didn’t have 300 million people, of which ~30% are leftists.
Finally, I would guess the average citizen back then was going from a bad situation to a better one. In our case, we seem to be going in the opposite direction.
Noriega handed out 10,000 AK 47s to the occupants of the Ghetto and told them on the radio, Those people have stuff (the middle class), this is YOUR country, too. I met those middle class people and they heard the mob coming blocks away as thy fired their new toys in the air.
To accomplish our mission our military killed about 600 soldiers, we allowed the rest to shed their uniforms and slink back to their homes. Yet there were 6,000 bodies in the streets when the shooting finally stopped. So who killed them? Those middle class people were ARMED and they lit the mob up. Panamanians killed those 6,000.
IOW everybody who hated Americans was dead by the time we really finished all the missions required in the first three days. Literally. Dead and rotting in the streets. Which is why all the survivors LOVED us.
Obviously Noriega did that to his own people to sow the chaos he needed to hide for 4 days.
The logistics supply for our troops continued as it was before. In fact the logistics burden during the war was a fraction what it had been 6 months previously because they sent all dependents home months before the war. Noriega was just stupid when he banged his machete on the podium. He had been taking a little TOO much of his friends (Pablo Escobar) product.