Unexploded Ordnance in Laos - UXO LAO

A US-B1 Lancer dropping cluster bombs
A US-B1 Lancer dropping cluster bombs
American soldiers during the Secret War. Courtesy library.thinkquest.org
American soldiers during the Secret War. Courtesy library.thinkquest.org
Hmong soldiers who were trained to fight Communism. Courtesy library.thinkquest.org
Hmong soldiers who were trained to fight Communism. Courtesy library.thinkquest.org

The Secret War in Laos

For over twenty years after the fall of Saigon in 1975, the US had vehemently denied allegations that they spearheaded the most ruthless bombing campaign the world had ever known. Not until 1994 would the United States admit to the fact that such an event occurred unbeknownst to the rest of the world in Laos between 1964 and 1973 during what is now dubbed as the Secret War in Laos.

So why was the US Military in Laos in the first place? The main reason is because at the time, Laos was undergoing a Civil War between the Communist Pathet Lao who were receiving support from the Viet Cong and Soviets) and the Royal Lao Government. During the Vietnam War and In an effort to conquer South Vietnam, the Viet Cong ran supply lines through Northern Laos, which is known today as the Ho Chi Minh Trail. In truth, there were dozens of these so called supply lines running through Xiang Khuang, the Plains de Jarres, and the rest of Northern Laos. Of course the US Military knew this and so concentrated its firepower towards probable areas of such with the help of Thai and Hmong forces led by General Vang Po. The famous "Domino Theory" dictated that should Laos fall to Communism, that Thailand, Cambodia and Burma were sure to follow. In essence, the Royal Lao Government and the US Military shared a common enemy in the Pathet Lao and the Viet Cong. It's believed that the lives of thousands of American troops were spared due to this Secret War. However, over 50,000 Lao were compromised and killed in the process.

Barrel Roll strategy employed by the US Military in an effort to obliterate supply lines to South Vietnam (I apologize for this pic as it's off-center).
Barrel Roll strategy employed by the US Military in an effort to obliterate supply lines to South Vietnam (I apologize for this pic as it's off-center).

Inside the Numbers

It is estimated that out of the 2 million tons of bombs, including 250 million cluster bombs that were dropped on Laos between 1964 and 1973, approximately 30 percent did not detonate. At least 13,000 people in Laos were killed by the remaining 30 percent of these cluster bombs which are now referred to as UXOs or unexploded ordnance and many more were either maimed or injured (areas in which UXO LAO are not present cannot yet be accounted for). The Northeastern Lao province of Xiang Khuang with its capital of Phonsavanh was a central target as the U.S. military believed this to be a Communist Pathet Lao hotspot during the Secret War in Laos. Despite the fact that the Geneva Convention in 1962 declared Laos a neutralist country, its Secret War would see to it that it became the most bombed country the world has ever known—more so than Germany and Japan during World War II combined, as a total of 580,000 deadly bombing missions were conducted for nearly a decade. So what does that equate to? That’s one bombing mission every eight minutes around the clock for nine years. Being that this war was in fact kept secret hinders the exact numbers, but in 1994, the US Military did acknowledge that 1.36 million metric tons of bombs were indeed dropped on Laos.

A live baseball-size bomblet or "bombie"
A live baseball-size bomblet or "bombie"

Bombies

It's estimated that 30% or 250 million of all the bombs that were dropped during the Secret War did not explode, which lends credence to the name UXO or unexploded ordnance. Over 50,000 Lao were killed as a result and thousands more were injured and/or maimed.  The vast majority of the bombs used at the time was a new and lethal bomb called cluster bombs. Typically, cluster bombs (BLU-26) weigh between 1,000 and 2,000 pounds which open up in mid-air and release between 650 and 670 sub munitions called "bombies." Within each of these bombies are upwards of 200 pieces of shrapnel which rip and maim its unsuspecting victims. One of the nicknames for these bombies are "Evil Bombs" as they continue to plague the entire countryside of Northern Laos forty years after the Secret War. It's estimated that over 9 million bombs have still yet to be found and disposed of which will take roughly 100 years.

UXO A Growing Problem

To this day, UXO is still very much a problem to the rural countrysides of Northern Laos as it is a constant and lethal threat to indigenous farmers and especially children who are not aware of the dangers it imposes (bombies look very much like baseballs or oranges). UXO continue to kill and maim its many unsuspecting victims today when clearing the countryside for farming and house building. In addition to this scrap dealers pay 600 KIP (6 cents USD) per kilo in which they sell for $2,000 KIP in Thailand. Diffusing of UXO pose another problem and with the scarcity of food and supplies, Northern Laos' inhabitant's penchant to locate UXO with metal detectors is very enticing, as one "big bomb" can in turn easily feed an entire family.

Please Watch! Bombies Documentary

Bombies - An Award Winning Documentary

Set in the countryside of Laos, this documentary highlights the extreme dangers that cluster bombs illegally dropped by American war planes during the Vietnam War still pose to the civilian population in Laos. This is the first nine minutes and thirty-three seconds of the film. If you'd like to purchase the entire film, you may do so by CLICKING HERE

Cluster Bomb Facts

  • Cluster munitions severely disrupt the lives and livelihoods of 400 million people worldwide
  • 85 percent of cluster bomb casualties are civilians and 23 percent are children
  • One cluster bomb contains hundreds of bomblets (or submunitions) and typically scatters them across an area the size of 2-4 football fields
  • Bomblets are small, often the size of a 'D' battery or a tennis ball and have a failure rate of up to 30 percent; unexploded bomblets become de facto landmines
  • At least 75 countries around the world stockpile cluster munitions and 34 are known to have produced more than 210 types of cluster munitions
  • Cluster bombs impede economic development, restrict access to water and deprive children of safe access to education
  • Cluster munitions have been used in at least 30 countries and territories
  • The global stockpile of cluster bomb submunitions totals approximately 4 billion, with a quarter of these in U.S. hands
  • Unexploded bomblets were responsible for the death of nearly 10% of the U.S. fatalities in the Gulf War
  • The United States dropped 19 million in Cambodia, 70 million in Vietnam and 208 million in Laos
  • The U.S. executed over 580,000 bombing missions over Laos, dropping, on average, an entire planeload of bombs every eight minutes, around the clock, for nine years.
  • The most cluster contaminated areas are in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Iraq, Laos, Kosovo and Vietnam.

Source: unausa.org

What Your Donations Pay For

The following is a breakdown of where your contributions go in accordance with the MAG Lao Visitor Centre. Please have a look:

Visitor Centres - donation guidelines

Amount

Pays for...

$12

Clearing 10 square metres of contaminated land

$25

500 metres of Danger! marking tape

$55

One week’s salary for a Lao UXO technician

$100

Stretcher for medic

$200

GPS unit for Community Liaison Teams to mark UXO location

$450

Electronic exploder unit for controlled destruction of UXO

$1,000

Firing cable (5,000 metres)

$3,700

One month’s salary for a 14-person UXO Clearance team

$4,500

Deep search UXO detector

Courtesy of MAG

UXO LAO and MAG: A Look To the Future

It's estimated that it will take another one-hundred years or so to rid Xiang Khuang and the Plains de Jarres region of Laos completely of UXO. With the enduring support of MAG (Mines Advisory Group) the length of time in which Northern Laos will be free of such a threat may be shortened.

In 2008, MAG located and destroyed 98,061 items of UXO. 3,763,582 square metres of land were cleared. Sixty-five per cent of this land was for agriculture, with the remainder cleared for schools, access roads, bridges, irrigation canals and toilets or water supply.

UXO LAO is making strides in eradicating UXO and other threats by not only clearing and demolishing them to prevent potential harm but are also helping to educate and raise UXO awareness to the populace. On a yearly basis, UXO LAO clears roughly 200 to 300 hectares of land to enable safe farming and house building to residents of Northern Laos.

Ironically, the US military spent approximately $250,000 million a day between 1964 and 1973 bombing Northern Laos, yet are spending that much annually to Laos in reparations. There is still much to be done in order to stop the production, trade, and especially the utilization of cluster bombs. Hopefully the rest of the world can learn the travesties that have and will plague Laos for generations to come.

Courtesy of MAG
Courtesy of MAG

UXO ready for demolition

UXO demolition site

A big bomb grave site in Laos

A UXO risk awareness session

A community awareness member and her puppet

A puppet show conducted by members of UXO LAO raises awareness to villagers in Northern Laos

UXO containment site. Translated, it actually says: Be careful! Bomb!

Apparently, bombs make good fences rather than good neighbors.

A bomb-converted flower bed

Please vote

Were you aware that there was a Secret War in Laos?

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Comments 89 comments

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

dohn, That is such a shameful part of US history and so sad for the people of Laos. I know military units had to go into Laos and Cambodia to fight after taking off their dog tags so the CIA could have plausible deniability if any died and were left behind. A sad state of affairs. Good hub.


livewithrichard profile image

livewithrichard 6 years ago from Charleston, SC

Great awareness article here Dohn. I was aware of the heavy bombings of Laos and Cambodia but no idea as to the numbers of ordinance that was dropped. I know you said it was the Secret War but was it just a US secret? Is it likely the rest of the world did not know what was going on or that they knew that it was thought to be a necessary act to stem the expansion of communism?

In no way am I trying to detract from the travesty that happened and still happens there. But as an American,a veteran, and a history major I cannot condemn or judge my country for their actions when I could not be privy to their knowledge or ultimate goals at the time.

As a humanitarian effort, I applaud your call to awareness of the great and ambitious mission of MAG and if more people became aware the effort to clear the UXO's from Laos will save countless lives. I'm tweeting this to my 1900 followrs maybe we can raise just a bit more awareness.


Petra Vlah profile image

Petra Vlah 6 years ago from Los Angeles

The Laos Tragedy is one more bloody and shameful page on the history book of “democrat” America. From your story I quote:

“It is believed that lives of thousand of American troops were spared do this secret war. However, 50.000 Lao lives were compromised and killed in the process”

Am I surprised? No I am not. America has always had 2 sets of rules and an American life is by far more precious than anybody else’s in this planet. It has been like this for a long time and it still is today.

For America to take 30 years to admit (1964-1994) to dropping just a fraction of the bombs they actually dropped in Laos, is another of the many way America has been creative with the truth.

When will the powers of the world learn that ideas can’t be stopped with bombs or by building fences? I am not holding my breath.


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

Oh Dohn, it is like after how many years it is still posting a risk to the Laotian people, what a shame,

thanks for the links in the documentary film,

I could imagine the fear of parents such as these traps could kill children too,

Thanks so much Dohn for a beautiful hub and shedding the light to this crazy US intervention about communism too, after so many years the RUSSIA fell in 1992,and communism crumbled but the negligence of US happened already, what a waste of lives, this should be a lesson to US. as they could have never done that, compromising and killing some 50, 000 Lao people in the process and the bombs are still detonated ---- BE CAREFUL BOMB,

Kudos to UXO LAO, they need all our support, Thanks Dohn, Maita


VioletSun profile image

VioletSun 6 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

Dohn: This made me sad, to think of the danger on innocent citizens. Thanks for shedding light on this! Imagine is my favorite song.


William "eL-NinO" profile image

William "eL-NinO" 6 years ago

Sadly to say, i don't aware of this war myself. :(


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago

A real eye opener and of course well written. I cannot fathom how devastating the bombing process must have been. Then to still be living with the constant threat of all those other landmines so many years later.

I hope you get lot of donations for them through this hub.

Tammy


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

@Pamela99-Thank you so much for commenting, Pamela. Yes, many Americans who died in combat there were denied of having ever been there. Their loved ones were simply told that somehow or way that they were,"Lost in Southeast Asia." I just hope that this never happens again. Thank you again.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

@livewithrichard-Thank you so much for not only reading this, but for helping to spread the word via Twitter. Writing this was not an easy task, from a physical and emotional standpoint. I do love America and it really is the only country I know, as I've been living here for most of my life. I take comfort in the knowledge that strides are in fact being made to stop the use of cluster bombs, but apparently it's not enough as Iraq and Afghanistan may be suffering a similar fate. More countries need to sign on to agree NOT to use such an inhumane weapon in war (wars are of course inhumane to begin with).

Concerning your question, I'm not sure that the world knew of such travesty. The US were clever enough to fund and train the Hmong and Thai mercenaries to fight the Vietnam War for them (at first) but when that wasn't enough, they stepped in, but I'm sure that they themselves had no idea what they were really up against. I think that for the most part, the world was unaware of the Secret War. The Americans did not want to provoke the Soviets into nuclear war (e.g. Cuban Missile Crisis) and so wanted to be as discreet as possible.

I thank you for reading this as it really does mean a lot to me. If I can just raise one person's awareness of UXO and the Secret War, then I did my job.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

@Petra Vlah-Hello, Petra. Yes, when first I found out as a child that Laos was in fact bombed heavily during the Vietnam War, I went into a complete state of denial: "How can the country that saved us from Communism do such a thing?" I was very confused until I began studying the facts.

I don't like war and would never do anything that would condone the killing of human lives. With all wars and fights, whether on a domestic or global scale there is always one consistent reason behind all of it: Disagreement. After French rule dissipated from Laos entirely, three parts of the royal Lao family were in disagreement with one another as to who had the right to rule. Each side had a good argument and when neither sides could decide on who should rule, a fight broke out that split Laos into three warring factions. So why am I saying this? Because in war, no one is ever right.

I do have hope for a better tomorrow and a better Laos. We cannot change the past, but we can certainly change the future. By writing this hub, I hope to do just that and raise awareness to those who took the time to read this hub, which is perhaps the most important hub I've written thus far.

Thank you so much for sharing your comment. With awareness, there is hope.

Dohn


Petra Vlah profile image

Petra Vlah 6 years ago from Los Angeles

The reason for war (any war) is not disagreement, Dohn, IS MONEY AMD POWER

Do you think for a moment that America went to Iraq because it desagreed with Saddam ( a monster created by America itself for that matter)?

You don't believe it was a humanitarian matter I am sure. Darfur was a humanitarian tragedy, but since Sudan does not have enough oil, America let tham be or let them be "taking care" by Hollywood celebrities.

NO America went to Iraq because of oil (money) as we all know or should know.

Principles DO NOT start wars, economic interest DO


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

@prettydarkhorse-Thank you so much for reading this, Maita. It really does mean a lot to me. To this day, people continue to become effected by UXO while farming and living day-to-day. The eradication of UXO is a long and arduous process, but with the help of the UN, UXO LAO, MAG, UNICEF and others, there is hope for a Laos that is free of UXO. I just hope that there isn't another Secret War or any war for that matter. Thank you so much for your concern, Maita.

Dohn


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

@Petra Vlah-Yes, I do agree with you. Money and power is certainly why there is disagreement. I fear that the same truth is behind the scandal that is now Afghanistan and Iraq.

You are right on many levels. People need to wake up to the realities of the world. We are not outnumbered, only unaware of what is really going on.

Thank you again, Petra.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

@Violet Sun-Thank again for reading me as it means a lot to have shared this with the HP community. In many ways, John Lennon got it right.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

@William "eL NinO"-Thank you for reading this. I'm glad that I was able to make this aware to you.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

@Tammy Lochmann-Thank you so much for reading this, Tammy, as it really does mean a lot to me. I do hope that I can get some of us in our community and abroad to donate some money to this very important cause. The American dollar is very valuable in Laos and can help tremendously. I really must say that this is one of the most important hubs I've written so far. Thank you again, Tammy.

Dohn


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 6 years ago

This is a very interesting, albeit sad read. To think that the people of Lao had to endure such atrocities and are still suffering the effects. Thank you for shedding light on this issue and it is especially sad to see that picture with 2 men with missing legs--innocent victims still striving to thrive in the face of adversity. Great work, Dohn!


wavegirl22 profile image

wavegirl22 6 years ago from New York, NY

glad to see you get back to your roots. . i couldn't take another naked hub . .well if i had to you know I would have but this one was not only interesting and informative.. i actually like to read thngs like this .. but the pictures and videos were also good . .

thanks for sharing this one . .more people should be aware and hubs like this get the message out!


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

@anginwu-Thank you so much for reading this. Yes, this is still very much a harrowing problem today. Innocent civilians continue to become maimed and killed due to senseless and irresponsible acts of warfare from over 40 years ago. I actually had some very disturbing photos that I chose not to share. Thank you again for your support.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

@wavegirl22-LOL, Hey Shari! The funny thing is that I think both of us were reading each other's hubs AT THE SAME TIME. How funny is that? I said this once before to my buddy IslandVoice, but if I ever start doing Porn Hubs, feel free to crack me over the head with a baseball bat :D

I'm glad that you were able to learn of this hub and that a difference is made somehow. This was perhaps the most important hub I ever wrote.


Truth From Truth profile image

Truth From Truth 6 years ago from Michigan

Good work Dohn, this is a sad story that needed to be told. It is a terrible situation that bombs are still being found and hurting or killing innocent people. I definitely hope things improve through better assistance from the U.S. and other countries. I was never a fan of John Lennon, but I must admit Imagine is an incredible song. Thanks for making me aware of this story.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

Thank for sharing your thoughts and for reading this, TFT. This is still an ongoing problem in Laos, which is one of the poorest countries in the world. Things are improving there, but much more can be done, especially for UXO LAO. Hopefully, by writing this hub, I'll raise awareness to others to help with the cause. Thank again, my friend.


Philipo profile image

Philipo 6 years ago from Nigeria

Very explosive hub. I was actually carried away with the pictures. Thanks for the education.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

Thank you, Philipo. Interesting choice of words, my friend. As always, I appreciate your reading this. It means a lot.


Tatjana-Mihaela profile image

Tatjana-Mihaela 6 years ago from Zadar, CROATIA

I am so glad you wrote this article Dohn. If people do not know what was/is going on, they cannot react. I hope you will write about this topic again (do not hesitate next time to put those photos you did not want to put here). People of Laos did not deserve such sickness because of political interest of USA.

Cluster bombs were used in the war in my country and together with mines they bring long term danger for many people.

From my point of view, this is the best Hub you ever wrote.

Well done, Dohn.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

Hi, Tatjana-Mihaela. Thank you so much for commenting. I was just thinking about writing a separate hub on the Laotian Civil War or the Secret War and Air America after finishing this hub yesterday. I'm sorry to hear that cluster bombs were used in your country as well. It's perhaps the worst kind/is the most evil as it continues to kill and maim years after it's initially dropped. About the photos, I will post a couple of more here and will create a link in which to view another gruesome photo.

Thank you so much for that comment! To me this is the most important hub I've written since joining HubPages.

Dohn


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

nice information. you put interesting topic. I liked the old picture. Thanks for share Dohn. good job.


juneaukid profile image

juneaukid 6 years ago from Denver, Colorado

A very enlightening article, Dohn121! Yes, I was aware of this secret war--in fact I happened to meet a former GI who had a secret mission in Laos. He described to me in graphic detail his being in a bunker and hearing someone on the other side--he quickly discovered a most beautiful Laotian girl staring into his eyes. He noticed that she had a grenade under her armpit and he blew her away. To this day he wakes up screaming at his killing such a beautiful woman.


wannabwestern profile image

wannabwestern 6 years ago from The Land of Tractors

Thanks Dohn for another superb article on a difficult topic. People need to be aware of this Secret War. I didn't know about this, and I was an Air Force Brat in the 80s. So much is done under the cover of secrecy. The US, with so much military and financial power, will always struggle with issues of abuse. I am bookmarking this and stumbling it.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

Thanks, prasetio30. Writing this article meant a lot to me as I've been wanting to do so for a long time now. Thank you for reading this.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

Thank you, juneaukid for sharing your that story. The girl was no doubt a Pathet Lao soldier. It's my belief that the most intelligent people in this world realize that war on any scale is wrong. I hope to enlighten any and all those that were previously not aware of the Secret War to become aware. Thank you so much for reading this.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

Thank you so much for doing that, wannabwestern. I hope that many more people will come into the realization of the atrocities of war and the shameful acts of warfare of the entire world. The first casualty of war is indeed the Truth and this is the perfect example of such. It's so good to hear from you again. Thank you for reading this. It means a lot.


Peter Dickinson profile image

Peter Dickinson 6 years ago from South East Asia

Dohn - Both interesting and frightening. As they say "War is hell"...but in Laos it still is in places. Thank you.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

You are correct, Peter. Although Laos is indeed progressing, it still has a long way to go. Thank you for commenting.


Rose West profile image

Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan

Wow, I had never heard of this history! It is so tragic that something like this is still hurting the people of Laos today. The things our government has done that we're not told about...it's a shame. Thanks for making me aware of the Secret War!


Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 6 years ago from London, UK

This is a sad story. Innocent people suffering. Maybe there could be enough money to even relocate the families.

It's good you raised the awareness - something I'd love to support.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

@Rose West-Yes, this is still an ever present problem. Much land is still unsuitable for farming and much support is still very much needed. Thank you for reading this. I really do appreciate it.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

@Lady_E-Thank you so much for commenting. That's so good to hear. Laos is still among the poorest countries in the world and still relies on it's agriculture as a means of living. I really like your idea to relocate the affected families. Thank you for reading this.


Rebecca E. profile image

Rebecca E. 6 years ago from Canada

as always dohn something to think about bookmark and share, I am not up to US history as I should mostly since I don't live there, but this is shameful.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

Thank you so much for doing that, Rebecca. The importance of history is so that we don't repeat the mistakes of our forefathers (at least that's my take). Hopefully we can learn from this travesty so future generations don't suffer the same fate. Thank you for reading this.


hypnodude profile image

hypnodude 6 years ago from Italy

Great hub dohn, this knowledge should always be spread around. Victims always need someone to talk about them, otherwise history would be written only by one side. Very good hub, makes to think a lot.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

Thank you so much for reading this hub, hypnodude. Yes, awareness is the key and the voice of the victims of such travesties need to be heard. The Secret War in Laos should never be forgotten. I appreciate your concern and am glad that I was able to showcase this to you.


Jesse-James profile image

Jesse-James 6 years ago

Hello Dohn, very sad but also very insightful hub. I have always wanted to go to Laos and many of the countries in south East Asia. Though there are still so many problems that plague these countries and to think of the amount of undetonated ordinances left in the country decades after the war has ended is killing innocent people. It truly is a shame. However on a bright note as usual your hub was fantastic and I look forward to ones in the future.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

Hey, Jesse-James. Thank you for the comment. I hope that you do get the opportunity to visit Laos one day. If you do, I highly suggest you visit Luang Prabang. I wrote a hub on that as well (shameless plug). I really hope the day comes when none of us have to worry about UXO plaguing our countryside and for as long as it takes, I hope that UXO LAO and MAG continue their mission to make this a reality. Thanks again, my friend.


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

Dohn, I have always "the concern" specially for children and inncocent people, I have a friend before here who is Laotian but she moved with FAVRE hehe, went to Minnesota,

Thanks BTW for your added info on my hub about kiss and you say about the hot hubs, no idea about it, But Thank you, and good day, Maita


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

Hey, Maita. Thank you for reading this. Yes, the lives of so many could've easily have been spared. Sadly, in war, anything goes.

About your Laotian friend...Is she cute? Just curious. BTW, there are A LOT of Laotians and Lao in Minnesota--many of whom are Hmong. Yes, your Kiss Hub made it to at least the Top Five...It may have went as high as #2! Great job on writing that one! TTYS

Dohn


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

Shes older hehe, 5o plus, plus they moved already. We used to share food, her husband is American and the children are good too but they dont live with them. hmmm, Thanks Dohn and where are the hubs of your with pretty ladies??, I will wait, Thanks Dohn and morning,,,Maita


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

Hahaha! That's good to hear, Maita. You know, I've only dated one Lao girl back when I was sixteen and she dumped me! I've dated Puerto Rican girls, Italian girls, and Irish girls, and others but only one Lao girl :( They're tough to find where I lived. Now, all of them are married,lol. Oh well. About those pretty lady hubs, um, I'll being publishing more, as they are doing much better than I thought they were. I do put a lot of effort into to them just like all of my other hubs :D Thanks again, Maita! And a good morning to you too!

Dohn


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin

It's always a sad state of affairs when I hear about people being hurt or even killed by undetonated ordinance of any kind, including old landmines. Granted, going after these things after a war would be daunting, difficult, and very expensive, and keeping ground troops and military operations in former combat zones would create a lot of unrest and suspicion that military might still be conducting operations after the end of a war. Imagine Japan coming to the U.S. Government after Pearl Harbor and the end of the war and saying, "Hey, we want to send troops in there to scour the area for any bombs we dropped that might not have gone off."

Yeah right.

Still, governments need to be actively engaged, I think, in some form or another in the removal of such ordinances used during times of war. I mean, when you talk about it taking up to 100 years to get rid of all of the UXO, that's outrageous.How exactly this gets done is something that's way beyond my scope,and certainly something like MAG could be very effective. But I'm inclined to believe that it could be an even more successful undertaking in the future if the two warring governments, or peoples, could make it part of the peace treaties they sign, for example, that they would cooperate together to participate in post-war undetonated ordinance detection and removal. Of course, that requires honesty and openness about where and if you conducted operations somewhere—like Laos, which they weren't open about. And I say it has to be a collective effort, because it stands to reason that it takes two or more countries to war, and both sides would contend that their either party started it. The U.S., for example, would participate in Vietnam and Laos with the cooperation of France and Vietnam and Laos. Money, troops, and support could be provided to illustrate where operations took place, and there may even be technologies that could be developed to aid in such detection of devices as well.

War is never a pretty thing. There will always, however, be a need for it in some form or another. And as such, there will always be the unfortunate fact that collateral damage will occur during the war AS WELL AS after the war. Collateral damage after the fact, however, to my mind, serves the least bit in the interest of relations between two previously warring peoples, and should be avoided in the further interest of peace between warring countries or peoples, and in the interest of national security.

Like we make friends sometimes with those we fight, so should we too make allys out of those we war against.

Very interesting and informative hub.


TattoGuy 6 years ago

Holy Shit Dohn those stats on the cluster bombs were totally frightening and the photos of the fences made of bombs took me back to some of the surreal things I have witnessed during the worst of the troubles, it's unreal some of the things the mind can blank out.

From chicks to this, you amaze me my friend and I say the word friend with a deep pride !!


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

Thank Springboard. I appreciate your comment as you made some valid points concerning the cooperation of warring nations. However, in this line:

"...for example, that they would cooperate together to participate in post-war undetonated ordinance detection and removal."

This would not at all be necessary if nations would just stop using cluster bombs all together. They are the most brutal of bombs as the probability of them NOT exploding is thirty percent. I think that the US knew this too when they dropped these cluster bombs (BLU-26s) as the UXO would double as land mines for unsuspecting Viet Cong and Pathet Lao soldiers whose mission was to deliver "hard rice" (ammo, guns, etc.) to the awaiting forces in the south. It's not that the US didn't know this--they knew what they were doing--and their methods were very effective considering the fact that they lost the Vietnam War (they were actually winning towards the end of the war, by the way).

One thing that I forgot to mention is that the US sent some 80 mine detectors to UXO LAO 2 years ago in addition to $80,000...I don't think that is nearly enough if you ask me.

Thank you so much for your concern. I just hope that the world benefits from learning from Laos, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Vietnam, and other countries that were/are still affected by UXO. I appreciate your readership.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

Thank you so much, Captain! Yeah, I like to stick my fingers in lots of pies (without sounded like a sicko, mind you) as I found that doing so enables us hubbers to reach out to a wide range of readers. I always try my best in writing my hubs and this is one that I've been meaning to put together for sometime. I'm so glad that this shook you in some way, as it should. I hope something of this magnitude never happens again. Life is simply too precious. I thank you again, my friend and you know that I don't mean that lightly!


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

Thank you for publishing the facts. I wasn't aware of this at all, and I'm appalled that my taxpayer dollars were spent on this destruction. It's unconscionable.


stephensaldana profile image

stephensaldana 6 years ago from Chicago

The misery caused to the people of Laos is really breathtaking. The shameful act of US in the history of mankind. The hub provides very important fact, which will create huge awareness across the globe. It can be regarded as one of the most intriguing hub. Thanks a lot for providing information.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

You're welcome, Paradise7 and thank you so much for reading this. There's a lot still that we are not aware of in our own government and I think that much more still is going to be a shock to all of us. I hope our world bans cluster bombs entirely.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

Thank you again, stephensaldana for your concern. I really do believe that this is the most important hub I've published so far. It's my belief that the world has the right to know of any and all atrocities, especially when such affect mankind. I appreciate the comment, thank you.


andromida profile image

andromida 6 years ago

I must say this is very powerful hub. 250 million cluster bombs were dropped in Laos-and the decision came from the top level leadership knowing that victims will be no one than the civilians.I am glad that the cold war situation is over; indeed the hunger for power make people blind about their human values, including leaders.Thanks a lot Dohn.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

Thank you so much andromida. Nothing ever good comes out of war. It really is amazing how kind and how cruel the human race can be. I just don't see the point in hurting another. It just doesn't make sense to me. Thank you as always, my friend. I'm glad that the point of this hub hit home.


Green Lotus profile image

Green Lotus 6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

War is insanity and the basest form of intelligence. Thanks for putting out this powerful hub dohn. I know you have many readers as you represent a shining light of what is possible. Perhaps some of them will "get it".


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

Thank you for that, Green Lotus! Writing this hub was not an easy undertaking. I'm enamored by the responses it garnered. I really hope it does too!


Ultimate Hubber profile image

Ultimate Hubber 6 years ago

SAD! Thank you for posting about it here. I didn't know anything about it before.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

Thank you for reading this, UH. I'm glad that I was able to bring awareness to you.


G Miah profile image

G Miah 6 years ago from Muslim Nation

My God Dohn, i never heard of the secret war in Laos, and your hub is so educational and written in great detail. It is a great shame when countries go to war for whatever reason, with the technology and weapons at hand nowadays, countries are and it's innocent people are ripped apart because of the want of power.

As you have said, this is the most important hub you have written, and i agree with you. I haven't read them all yet, but it is very hurtful to read about the people being injured by mines and that it would take up to another 100 years to find them all.

So much for world peace! I pray for the people of Laos, and hope one day the culprits pay for their bad deeds.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

I'm so happy that you read this one, G Miah. Like I said before, it was very important to me that I wrote this hub. To be able to bring awareness to people who were otherwise in the dark about the Secret War. Doing so could perhaps prevent such a travesty from ever happening again. I really want to thank you for your concern. I appreciate it.


Ghost32 6 years ago

Dohn, I did know we'd been there, done that...but had not realized the numbers of bombs dropped were even a fraction as high as you've documented.

When I was stationed in the U.S. Army in Germany (1964-65), we occasionally had extensive field exercises (2 to 4 weeks at a time) in the Grafenwoehr area. There were many signs remaining of World War II vintage combat, one of those being unexploded ordnance. I've always been a "slipaway loner" at heart, meaning that of course--when opportunity presented itself during slack time one morning--I slipped away down a steep, wooded slope into a heavily posted Verboten (Forbidden) area.

I clearly remember two incidents from that "Secret Hike". One was coming into a grassy, sunlit clearing at the bottom of the draw...and seeing a magnificent European stag regarding me without much concern. The other event also took place in that same clearing: A rusty, eight inch artillery round was half-buried (nose first, of course) in the earth. That round and many others like it are undoubtedly still waiting, some with unpleasant surprises ready for careless future hikers. Even the bombs from that era are nothing to take lightly.

But cluster bombs in the numbers that were dropped on Laos is another matter entiirely. Kudos for this article.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

Thank you so much, Fred. I can't imagine what you were feeling at that point in time (seeing the the artillery round rather than the stag). I love how you go into such great detail--even in your comments. You truly are a writer, my friend. You and I seem very much alike. Were I in your group, I'd be there right alongside of you, what with my precarious nature and all, lol.

I was very distraught after having found out this information back when I was a teenager. When I asked my dad about it, he just shrugged his shoulders and told me that "War is hell," and that the U.S. military and the Neutralist had a common enemy, which were the Pathet Lao and the Viet Cong. At the time, I couldn't understand really, the concept of a Civil War: How could any nation be split up? For some reason, I just didn't "get it."

Thank you so much for reading this. It means a lot that you took the time to do so and to hear your comment is that much more rewarding to me.

Dohn


Ghost32 6 years ago

Strangely enough (or not), I've always understood war. I also understand those who DON'T understand it and/or stand foursquare against it in any form. But I also grasp "karma and reincarnation", believe in both, and believe in the old maxim touted by many who believe likewise that, "New knowledge easily gained is old knowledge". In other words, that if we have a natural talent in this life, we worked on developing that skill (or understanding) in a past life or lives.

However, a discussion of those aspects would hijack this hub...and this one is DEFINITELY too important to allow any hijacking. Besides which, although I didn't go in-country during my service time, I am a Viet Nam era vet who's been drawn "forever" to Asian girls.

Though, as it happened, never actually hooking up with one...:D


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

Ha! To be honest, I've only hooked up with one back when I was a teenager. I've had limited access due to where I grew up, as there really weren't that many Lao girls and the ones I knew were usually dating some of my best friends!

I do have a better understanding of war--I just don't agree with it. I can understand the cause, just not the greed behind it all :( But I've always admired the soldier that risks and sacrifices more than anyone else. I come from a long line of soldiers.

Thanks for the response, my friend. I hope that you are well.


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

This is such a tragedy. I knew nothing about it!


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

I'm glad to have been able to share this with you Holly. Thank you.


Enelle Lamb profile image

Enelle Lamb 6 years ago from Canada's 'California'

This is definitely a very important hub Dohn, and it must have been a very difficult one to write. I admire your strength for bringing this the attention (to us at least, and hopefully thousands of people on Google,)it deserves. Thank you for sharing this with us my friend.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

Thank you, Enelle for such kind words. My hope is exactly that--to share this work and to make others aware of the atrocity that Laos had undergone so many decades ago and in the present. I hope that I've contributed to notion of my "changing the world" perhaps one hub at a time. Thank you.


Tommy 6 years ago

What a hell American left in Loas.


ken 6 years ago

Thank for sharing, we need to do more to

reach everyone.

I dedicated one page in my site to write

about harvesting bombs in Laos in order

to raise awareness to the people world wide.

See link below:

http://www.laos-travel-guide.com/harvest-bomb.html

Together we can success!

Good job!

Ken


AgesMGMT profile image

AgesMGMT 5 years ago from New York

thanks for this hub.. I assume the "bombies" are kind of like landmines in that they pose a danger when you step on them or otherwise cause them to detonate. So sad, I can't imagine having things like this in my backyard.


Prisana profile image

Prisana 5 years ago from Thailand and Colorado

Excellent hub! I learned of the Secret War in 1993. I was flying in a Russian helicopter to the Plain of Jars, and taking pictures from the open heli-door. From my bird's eye viewpoint, I noticed that there were an abnormal amount of small ponds down below and it took me a moment to realize that they were actually old bomb craters. It was a sobering discovery and was followed by another shocker in 2004. I had heard that there was a Hmong Refugee Camp in Thailand and went to visit the camp mainly because I couldn't believe the camp still existed 35 yrs after the war! What I found was beyond eye-opening but I will save that story for a future hub.

I admire you for your efforts to make the world a better place. The good fight can be heartbreaking but you appear to have the strength and ability that it takes to "change the world" one hub at a time. You never truly know the ripple affect of hub writing and internet writing in general. For instance, the reason I knew about the Hmong refugee camp was due to one sentence that was posted on an internet forum. I doubt the writer had any idea that his lone sentence would have such a huge affect on my life.

Thanks again for writing this hub and for the positive ripple affects that it already obviously has caused.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 5 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

Thank you again Prisana for reading this hub. I means a lot to me that you did as I wanted you to after learning that you read my hub on Luang Prabang. You hub on LP was amazing, especially when you mentioned that the "ponds" you saw while aboard the Soviet helicopter were not ponds at all, but craters left by cluster bombs. It saddens me whenever I think of the atrocities that my homeland endured through the countless wars of its past--foreign and domestic. But like you said about making ripples, that is exactly what I want to do. I want to change the world by spreading the stories of my life and of my countrymen across the world so such atrocities in the future may be prevented.

Right now, I am editing and rewriting a novel that I wrote years ago of my family and our struggles during the Post-Vietnam War era whilst in a Nong Khai Lao Refugee Camp. I hope that I can find a literary agent to pick it up, thus send it to a publishing house for publication. In doing so, I will achieve my dream of becoming a published author.

I thank you kindly for you comments, your readership, and you empathy on such touchy subject matter.

Dohn


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 5 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

@AgesMGMT-Yes, that is exactly what bombies are. 40 years after they were dropped and they are still as deadly as they were the day they were dropped. It's going to take at least another 50 years to completely free Northern Laos of this. Thank you for reading this.


terry 4 years ago

I am very glad that the local and outsides authorities are working to together to clean up the most dangerous threats to humen cause as the world is getting smaller and closer the threats are no longer risks only the local people lives but the tourists as well


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 4 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

Thank you terry for commenting. I completely agree with you that UXO's pose a threat for not only the locals but the tourists as well. Dozens of years after the Vietnam War and we are still feeling the after effects.


Icematikx profile image

Icematikx 4 years ago from United Kingdom, Staffordshire

Thanks for this amazing hub! Check out my new website and give me some feedback fellow hubber :)

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Bejdi 3 years ago

Brandin,I am very excited right along with you! I wish that I could be there with you when you are there! You will have a blast! The time will go very fast, so just try to enjoy every sinlge moment and try to learn AS MUCH AS YOU CAN! Like I said, try to speak Lao and not English as much as you can you will learn it much faster. Well, the mosquitos love me over there, so you might just want to be prepared to be bitten. It is hot, so of course there are plenty of mosquitos, and it is the rainy season so it is even worse. Nonetheless, enjoy! Do not forget to show them your cooking skills too! They will be impressed!Much love and we will pray for your safe travels! Most of all, have fun and enjoy it soak it all in. Life will hit you hard when you come back! ; )


Gerald A. Van Slambrouck 3 years ago

Does anyone have contact information for the group QLA that supports people in Laos effected by cluster bomb UXO's?


nathalia27 profile image

nathalia27 2 years ago

It is very sad to discovered about the secret war in Vietnam. I wish that all those bombs will be removed.


benhungto profile image

benhungto 2 years ago from Vietnam

I hate war, luckily when i was born, the war in Vietnam has been stopped


djrobertjohnson profile image

djrobertjohnson 24 months ago from New Orleans, Louisiana

Wow. The Vietnam war was terrible. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYZXueXw1Q0


LosectinWinders 22 months ago

“It is believed that lives of thousand of American troops were spared do this secret war. However, 50.000 Lao lives were compromised and killed in the process”


stevbonhage 18 months ago

Hi there,

good to see more people picking up on that subject. Can't spread the awareness to much. I recently worked on a simular story with a french colleague, so we went up to Laos to see for ourselfs... this is what came out of it:

http://stevbonhage.hubpages.com/hub/Tainted-Land-T...


Dwight 3 months ago

Sadly this is a modern remnant of war. All wars today are fought for plunder for the banks and corporations. When will society learn to ignore the propaganda box in their living rooms?

https://wildburrocustomtshirts.com

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