My previous post about Cambodia and the looming danger there prompted me to take a look at its neighbour Laos. It is 50 years since America committed a heinous war crime by illegally bombing Laos. The so-called ‘Secret War’ has not been a secret for decades. The unexploded bomb clean up is still going on while innocent civilians continue to risk their lives farming the land. The tragic history of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia since America’s flawed intervention has bothered me for years, particularly as it has never owned up to its crimes.
The following article by Erin Blakemore is well worth watching as is the video below it.
The statistics are staggering: nine years, 2.5 million tons of bombs, 580,000 bombing missions. It all added up to one secret war—a clandestine, CIA-led attempt to cut off North Vietnamese communist forces by bombarding neighboring Laos. The war may have been covert, but its scars run deep. And now, reports the Associated Press, President Obama has pledged $90 million to help clean up the physical legacy of that conflict.
America’s moral obligation
Citing a “moral obligation” to help Laos heal, reports the AP, the president announced this week that the United States would double previous spending on its attempts to help clean up unexploded bombs in the landlocked country. An estimated 30 percent of the bombs dropped on Laos never exploded, and Laotians continue to die when they discover or accidentally run across the unexploded ordnance.