Archive for Vietnam War

Bombs on Laos

Posted in Countries, Latest of Asienreisender with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 20, 2014 by Thim Kwai

The American Vietnam War

The American Vietnam War (1964 – 1975) was the third biggest war in the 20th century. 3.000.000 million Vietnamese lost their lives during the war, while 75.000 GI’s American GI’s were killed. There was also a lot of unrest in America itself, for millions of Americans were mobilizing against this war, and further millions of people in other western countries. There are a lot of documentaries and movies about this war – Apocalypse Now and Rescue Dawn are just two examples.

Not many people know that the war did not only happen in Vietnam, but also in Cambodia and Laos. That is because the war against Vietnam’s two smaller neighbours has never officially been declared. But it caused more destruction there than in Vietnam itself. The consequence in Cambodia was the total breakdown of civil society and the four years lasting rule of Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge terror regime, which committed a genocide against the Cambodian population, killing two of the eight million Cambodian people. Before the American intervention Cambodia was among the most peaceful countries in the world.


The Secret War in Laos

The American Secret Service CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) infiltrated Laos already after the French Indochina War. The CIA initiated from 1960 on a secret war here with a huge impact on the Laotian people in long term. Military air bases were built, among them infamous Long Cheng and others as e.g. the one in Vang Vieng. The Secret War was one of the biggest CIA operations in history and it’s official target was, among others, the destruction of the Ho-Chi-Minh-Trail, who was leading through parts of the Laotian-Vietnamese border region in the jungle. The Ho-Chi-Minh-Trail was the supply line for the north-Vietnamese troops leading to south Vietnam. The Secret War also targeted the Laotian communist resistance movement ‘Pathet Lao’.

Although also the USA accepted Laos on the Genevaer conference of 1962 being a neutral country, President Kennedy ordered in the same year a grand operation there. The CIA built the huge air force base in Long Cheng / Laos, what was growing up quickly. Long Cheng, built inmiddle of the jungle somewhere northeast of Vientiane, became with 40.000 inhabitants the second biggest city in the country, after the capital. It was the largest airport in Southeast Asia at the time. The starting and landing of up to 400 bombers and air freighters per day made it for a time the most busy airport in the world – although it didn’t appear on any map, was never mentioned in the news and was even a secret kept against the US congress. This war, officially seen, didn’t exist. The CIA led it’s own war here.

For it’s shadow war the American Intelligence recruited a bizarre mixture of mercenaries, anit-communists, arms dealers, extrem right-wing adventurers, veterans of the pigbay invasion (Cuba), Laotian military and – drug dealers. They recruited also big parts of the Hmong people, a mountain people of the region, as soldiers in a secret guerilla armee. The Hmong lost thousands of people in the fights against Laotian communists and Vietcongs. Their war continued for several more decades after the Americans left the region, while they were now under attack of the Laotian army. Laos’ war against the Hmong is another dark chapter of the American Vietnam War. It’s another genozide and a direct result of the American intervention.


This is only a part of the richly illustrated article ‘Bombs on Laos’. Read here the whole article on Bombs on Laos.

Asienreisender is completely non-commercial. You’ll find no adds on the website and it’s not following any other purpose than reporting independently.

Keep yourself up-to-date

Check the list of recently published articles on a great variety of Southeast Asian themes. All of them are richly illustrated: Asienreisender