While most conversations about the Vietnam War center on Vietnam, we should not forget that the war affected many people living in Laos and Cambodia. The US dropped 2.5 million tons of bombs on Laos during the war, and unexploded bombs are still claiming the lives of more than 100 Laotians each year. The video above starkly reveals the extent of the 1964-’73 bombing campaign.
Mother Jones recently ran an excerpt from Jerry Redfern and Karen Coates’ new book, Eternal Harvest: The Legacy of American Bombs in Laos, which looks at the Laotians struggling with the remnants of war. The book is the result of a seven-year reporting project on the most heavily bombed country on earth.
As Mother Jones notes, the US government approved $12 million for bomb removal and education in Laos earlier this year. This seems like a lot, until you consider that the US spent $17 million a day bombing Laos during the war. Hopefully Eternal Harvest will increase Americans’ awareness about the bomb campaign and increase pressure on the US government to help Laotians with unexploded ordinance.