It is time to pull America’s secret war in Laos from the shadows and
acknowledge the suffering and sacrifices in Laos during the Vietnam war.
Mr. Obama, the first sitting American president to visit Laos, recalls that the United States
dropped more than two million tons of bombs on the country during the height of the
Vietnam War, more than it dropped on Germany and Japan during World War II. The
punishing air campaign on Laos was an effort to cut off communist forces in neighboring
Vietnam, and was a C.I.A.-directed expansion of the war against the Communist North
Vietnamese. The bombings made Laos, per capita, the most heavily bombed country in
“Villages and entire valleys were obliterated,” Mr. Obama said during his visit to Laos,
September 2016. “Countless civilians were killed. That conflict was another reminder that,
whatever the cause, whatever our intentions, war inflicts a wrenching toll, especially on
innocent men, women and children. For the last four decades, Laotians have continued to live
under the shadow of war," Obama said. The war did not end when the bombs stopped
falling." Some 20,000 people have been killed or wounded since the war ended.
Thanks to global cleanup efforts, casualties from bombs that still litter the Laotian
countryside have plummeted from hundreds to dozens per year. But aid groups say far more
help is needed. Of all the provinces in landlocked Laos, only one has a comprehensive system
to care for bomb survivors. Obama announced that the US will give 30 million extra for three
years to cleaning up the undetonated bombs. The total of $90 million follows $100 million
the U.S. has committed in the past 20 years.
Even though the US is 40 years late in fixing the devastation it put on Laos, we at Aay’s
Village are positive about Obama’s visit to our country and hope that the global cleanup
efforts will make Laos safe for everyone, especially our children running around and explore
the nature around them.
They deserve to have a safe playground.