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imperialism & war | legacies

(documentary) Bombies: Legacy of Secret U.S. Campaign on Laos

(55 minutes)  http://vimeo.com/25923268

Between 1964 and 1973 the United States conducted a secret air war, dropping over 2 million tons of bombs and making tiny Laos the most heavily bombed country in history. Millions of these cluster bombs did not explode when dropped, leaving the country massively contaminated with 'bombies' as dangerous now as when they fell 30 years ago.

Bombies examines the problem of unexploded cluster bombs through the personal experiences of a group of Laotians and foreigners and argues for their elimination as a weapon of war.

Unfortunately they are still a standard part of the US arsenal and were dropped in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq.
A movie about the illegal US bombing of Laos for 9 consecutive years during the Vietnam war.

The Americans dropped 250 million bombs on Laos, 30% of which did not detonate. 70 million bombs still lie in the ground, on the ground, in trees, etc. and have killed hundreds of people every year for the past 4 decades.

The Film:
Between 1964 and 1973, the United States conducted a "secret" war, dropping more than two million tons of bombs on the mountains and jungles of Laos. Many of these bombs especially bomblets from a newly developed weapon called a cluster bomb failed to explode when they hit the ground, leaving the landscape littered with millions of unexploded bombs, as dangerous today as when they fell from the sky three decades ago. Dubbed "bombies" by Laotian villagers, these eye-catching but deadly orbs, as brightly colored as exotic fruit, are still found by children playing in shallow dirt, in the clefts of bamboo branches, or in the furrows of fields where farmers still till the soil by striking the earth with a hoe.

The consequences for Lao civilians were devastating. American planes delivered the equivalent of a B-52 planeload of bombs every eight minutes, 24 hours a day, for nine years. More bombs were dropped on Laos at that time than on Germany and Japan combined during World War II.

Bombies (2002)

See also:



homepage: homepage: http://www.itvs.org/films/bombies

scenario please 03.Sep.2013 17:52


At the risk of my sounding like a Hawkish type- I'm not- Don't you think a small dose of the actual situation in that theatre of WAR would help clarify the point you are trying to make? Many Viet Cong and NVA forces took refuge among the hill tribes of non-combatant Laos and Cambodia to avoid detection. Sort of chickenshit, but it was war. They're the ones that originally brought combat to that area in the first place. There were plenty of POW camps established there also. Vietnam was a proxy war between the U.S. and China that spread like wildfire over almost all of S.E. Asia for over a decade. Our tactics were defined by massive overkill, it's true. But it's also true that the USA was not really prepared for a jungle war defined by tunnels and boobytraps and an enemy that lived beneath ground like human moles- disappearing after attacks like Houdini. With unlimited personnel to spare. It was a very deadly Asian battle situation we hadn't experienced since WWII & Korea- tropical commando style warfare in the worst imaginable environments. Frustration crept in and LBJ and Nixon ordered saturation bombings and massive mine dispersal in a desperate attempt to keep the so-called "Ho-Chi-Min Trail" border areas impossible to use by enemy troops. There are no good wars. They're all evil as hell when you come right down to it. But for some mystical reason, humans insist, (metaphorically), on settling big issues by cracking the other guy's skull with a stick. Eisenhower and Patton both despised war, but rose to the occasion when the sh+t hit the fan. They both HATED Nazis. Then they warned us about the NWO upon retirement. But The Devil was really in charge back in Vietnam days.

RE: scenario 03.Sep.2013 19:36


(although I do not believe it was the intent of these filmmakers -- who had a specific focus on bombing/UXO and its effect on the people of Laos, here -- to concentrate on the entire backdrop to the Laotion situation within post-WWII Indochina)

you're correct rAT,

the entire Indochina 'theater' (imperialist-term) was a complete clusterf**k especially after the French had left, with all sorts of underhanded allegiances and motivations across borders of the small nations -- and their diverse constituent cultures -- involved.

U.S. ramped up circa 1958-59 with the covert Operation White Star (look it up on Wiki); then there was the multi-signatory Laos neutrality agreement.

A complex and multifaceted historical topic indeed. (One can learn much more, particularly as an American seeking the full/real context of the 'Vietnam war', by close study of it) Start here, perhaps: