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What is the World’s Most Bombed Country?

March 04
14:00 2012
Credit: C.d. Luebke

Allen Myers expertly answers:

Until 1975, the CIA ran the world’s busiest airport at Long Cheng, on the edge of the Plain of Jars in Laos. More than 400 flights a day took off to bomb communist Pathet Lao troops — and just about anything else that moved.

In 1956, the US State Department announced a “humanitarian aid mission” in Laos. An airline called Air America — revealed in 1970 to be wholly owned by the CIA — went through Laos creating 400 landing strips to which small planes could deliver “aid”. Sometimes it was food, sometimes, as explained by one of the pilots, it was “hard rice” (ammunition) or troops.

As the US war stepped up in neighbouring Vietnam, the US Air Force joined in the bombing of Laos, pilots falsifying their flight logs to conceal what was going on. In 1966, Long Cheng’s runway was paved. Around it, the CIA had built a city, which in that year had a population of 50,000, making it the second largest city in Laos. The bombing spread, especially to the Ho Chi Minh Trail in eastern Laos. B-52 carpet-bombing raids would devastate an area a kilometre wide and three kilometres long. Over a nine-year period, there was a US bombing sortie against Laos on average every eight minutes.

See Bombs & Jars for a sharp description of the aftermath of the CIA’s ruthless bombing and drug trafficking missions over Laos.

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