Panamanian businesses that suffered millions of dollars in looting damage after the United States invaded in December 1989 may not recover damages from the U.S. government, a federal judge says.

U.S. District Judge Stanley S. Harris on Wednesday dismissed 16 lawsuits that sought at least $80 million in damages. He said courts do not have the power to second-guess government decisions on use of military forces.The judge rejected the plaintiffs' claims that the United States is responsible for property damage because it dismantled Panama's only police force - Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega's Panama Defense Force - and left Panamanians virtually unprotected.