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April 10: On LBJ’s Lao legacy

Sou Lin Phan poses next to a large dud bomb in the middle of his village. Over several years in the late 60s and early 70s, the US dropped 4 billion pounds of explosives on northern Laos in a futile effort to stop North Vietnamese soldiers from using the area as a base and transshipment line to South Vietnam.  As much as 30 percent of the bombs dropped did not explode and they can be seen around the countryside today. They also pose a continuing threat to life.

Sou Lin Phan poses next to a large dud bomb in the middle of his village. Over several years in the late 60s and early 70s, the US dropped 4 billion pounds of explosives on northern Laos in a futile effort to stop North Vietnamese soldiers from using the area as a base and transshipment line to South Vietnam.
As much as 30 percent of the bombs dropped did not explode and they can be seen around the countryside today. They also pose a continuing threat to life.

The family of Lyndon B. Johnson thinks that the long, dark shadow of the war in Vietnam has shrouded his positive achievements here in the US. And, this year, they want to try to rectify that imbalance. That’s a fine idea, as long as they also note another signature, yet greatly overlooked achievement of his: he began the bombing in Laos.

Karen wrote about this for al Jazeera America, and asked the Johnson family to remember all that has been forgotten from the era – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

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