This video says about itself:
US Cluster Bomb Legacy Costing Lives In Laos
4 August 2014
The Legacy: The Vietnam war‘s dark legacy is still costing lives in Laos. Meet the brave women trying to clear the bomb fields.
Laos is the most heavily bombed country in the world. In the Vietnam War the US dropped 2 million tonnes of explosives there. Now, a brave band of women are finding and destroying the ‘bombies’ left behind.
The women walk slowly through the undergrowth, scanning the ground with metal detectors. Given there are up to 80 million unexploded munitions in Laos the women are doing a job that will take more than a lifetime to complete. “I was excited as well as frightened”, says 46-year-old Phou Vong, recalling the first time she found a ‘bombie’. “I hesitated a bit, but thought I should be glad to see it, because in a sense I was helping my people.”
Phou joined the team 3 years ago, after her husband was killed in a road accident. “There was no-one to help me but myself, and I had no money to support my children’s education.” She now earns $250 a month, that’s better than the average wage in Laos. It’s a special empowerment programme to give much-needed opportunities to local women. But the de-miners are worried their funding will run out. “We won’t be able to clear them all, there are just so many of them.” More than four decades after the American campaign ended, undetonated explosives still contaminate forests and fields. And it’s Lao civilians who are risking their lives to clean them up.
Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:
In the Asian country Laos millions of balls are scattered throughout the country. They look a bit like tennis balls. So, children pick them up to play with, until the balls explode suddenly.
The balls are remnants of cluster bombs which the US American air force has thrown over the country during the Vietnam War. Between 1964 and 1973, the US threw two billion kilos of bombs – more than half of the total number of bombs dropped during World War II. …
Some 80 million of these US bombs have not exploded and are still somewhere in the country. The Laotians have been working for forty years to make them harmless, but only 1 percent of the bombs have been cleared so far.
The unexploded cluster bombs have so far claimed about 20,000 lives. Most victims are children, who mistook the bombs for toys.
Take a look at a map of the millions of bombs still left to be cleared. [Reuters]
A rare media examination of the US saturation bombing of Laos: here.
This video says about itself:
Blood Road | Official TRAILER
Blood Road follows the journey of ultra-endurance mountain bike athlete Rebecca Rusch and her Vietnamese riding partner, Huyen Nguyen, as they pedal 1,200 miles along the infamous Ho Chi Minh Trail through the dense jungles of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. Their goal: to reach the site where Rebecca’s father, a U.S. Air Force pilot, was shot down in Laos more than 40 years earlier. During this poignant voyage of self-discovery, the women push their bodies to the limit, while learning more about the historic ‘Blood Road’ and how the Vietnam War shaped their lives in different ways.
Directed By: Nicholas Schrunk
Researchers have used artificial intelligence to detect Vietnam War-era bomb craters in Cambodia from satellite images — with the hope that it can help find unexploded bombs: here.
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On December 13, 1966, the government of North Vietnam reported that American bombers hit working class neighborhoods in Hanoi, destroying homes and inflicting casualties on residents.
US planes strafed and bombed densely populated residential districts along the Red River, including areas inside the city limits of Hanoi. North Vietnam reported 100 civilians killed in two days of massive raids, which leveled the village of Cau Dat near Hanoi. US bombs also hit in the area of the foreign diplomatic quarters in Hanoi.
Reports of the civilian casualties forced representatives of US imperialism to concede for the first time that American planes were bombing targets inside Hanoi. Previously, government spokesmen denied reports of bombing attacks on the capital of North Vietnam. When confronted with evidence of the bombing raids, a State Department spokesman defended the previous lies of the Johnson administration, claiming that the government was not sure where the Hanoi city limits actually were. US imperialism continued to deny that warplanes were targeting civilians, cynically claiming that all bombs were being directed at military targets, despite the broadcast of film footage by the television networks and reports in the capitalist press internationally.
North Vietnam filed a protest over the attacks with the International Control Commission, the imperialist-sponsored organization set up in 1954 to oversee the partition of Vietnam after the defeat of French imperialism. Meanwhile, guerrilla attacks were stepped up against US forces in South Vietnam.
The imperialist bombing campaign against North Vietnam was mass murder, in which entire cities were being systematically obliterated in an attempt to terrorize the working class and peasantry.
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On November 15, 1968, the US military began Operation Commando Hunt, with the mission of destroying the Ho Chi Minh trail, the main supply route from North Vietnam through parts of Laos and into South Vietnam to the liberation forces fighting the US occupation regime and its Saigon puppets.
This new operation came just weeks after President Johnson had announced a temporary cessation of direct bombing of the North. This bombing halt simply allowed the US to shift all its resources to bombing southern Laos in an attempt to disrupt the trail. Given that the physical destruction of the entire trail was impossible, Commando Hunt was meant to slow the flow of goods by destroying trucks and other means of supply.
The result was over three million tons of explosives being dropped almost constantly for just under three years. The bombing destroyed villages and turned hundreds of thousands of people into refugees. Even years after the bombings stopped, many civilians have been killed by bombs that did not initially explode on impact with the ground but were triggered when dug up, often times by children.
Despite the massive onslaught of bombs, Operation Commando Hunt was largely ineffective. The North Vietnamese army had great success in camouflaging the near 2000-mile Ho Chi Minh trail from US planes. Even when a piece of the trail was successfully hit it was easily repaired. The transport routes were constantly being maintained and expanded, both with vast labor armies, and with more modern construction machinery imported from the Soviet Union and other eastern bloc countries.
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