*A Great Place to Have a War*

The author is Joshua Kurlantzick and the subtitle is America in Laos and the Birth of a Military CIA, here is one excerpt from a book I read through to the end:

It was, in fact, common knowledge among CIA clandestine officers, and surely in the embassy of Vientiane, that bombers sometimes dropped ordnance on Laos because they wanted to unload it on the way back from North Vietnam, or because they needed target practice, or because there were communists somewhere near villages in central and northern Laos, and destroying the towns might possibly kill some soldiers of Pathet Lao sympathizers.  Ronald Rickenbach, a former USAID official in Laos during the height of the bombing called it “an indiscriminate bombing of civilian population centers.”  A classified 1969 United States government survey of the effects of the bombing, the results of which were circulated among officials working in Laos, found that after interviewing people from villages across the kingdom, 97 percent of the Laotian civilians surveyed had witnessed a bombing attack, and most had witnessed more than one.  And 61 percent of the Laotian civilians interviewed for the survey had personally seen someone killed by the bombing.

By 1969, U.S. bombers were flying more missions to Laos than to Vietnam.  So, in this country, all sorts of outcomes are possible.


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