Thursday, June 26, 2014

Andrew McConnell: "For Laos, the secret war goes on."

"6-year-old Kungian La lost his left eye after throwing a cluster bomb he found near his home." 
 "Land of the Bomb" photo series by Andrew McConnell

Today is the fiftieth anniversary of the US secret war on Laos. Vietnam War era cluster bombs have transformed the once beautiful country into the most bombed place on earth.

Photojournalist Andrew McConnell documented the ongoing effects of the bombing on the people and children of Laos in his photo series, Land of the Bombin which he states, "For Laos the secret war goes on." 

Legacies of War, an advocacy group working to remove cluster bombs from Laos, details the enormity of the task:
From 1964 to 1973, the U.S. dropped more than two million tons of ordnance over Laos during 580,000 bombing missions—equal to a planeload of bombs every 8 minutes, 24-hours a day, for 9 years. The bombing was part of the U.S. Secret War in Laos to support the Royal Lao Government against Pathet Lao and North Vietnamese Army. The bombings destroyed many villages and displaced hundreds of thousands of Lao civillians during the nine-year period.

Of the 260 million cluster bombs dropped, up to 30 percent of the cluster bombs dropped by the U.S. in Laos failed to detonate, leaving extensive contamination from unexploded ordnance (UXO) in the countryside. These “bombies,” as the Laotians now call them, have killed or maimed more than 34,000 people since the war’s end—and they continue to claim more innocent victims every day.

More Background:  

Stop Explosive Investments:

"The Responsibility of Intellectuals Redux: Humanitarian Intervention and the Liberal Embrace of War in the Age of Clinton, Bush and Obama," Jeremy Kuzmarov, The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, June 16, 2014

"Fact sheet: Cluster bombs," Action on Armed Violence (AOAV), July 30, 2013. 

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