Vientiane, Laos – I am now suddenly involved in the fallout of a Secret War that happened on this very soil over fifty years ago. My group Stray Tour through Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam is hop-on, hop-off and the timing is entirely flexible so, I have decided to stay here in the capital city for the next month. I wish to learn all I can about this hidden war; which was, indeed secret to the citizens of America. It was our country doing the devastating bombing; apparently, without any license to do so! And they certainly didn’t tell us at all as it’s a close neighbor to Vietnam and we were at war there. I know you will be very interested in the answers that I can dig up.
Frankly, aside from the personal interviews that I can obtain here, all sorts of descriptions, films, and data is available on the internet. I urge you to conduct your own investigation from the comfort of home, because I need your help to conduct the next obvious steps. The American Embassy, here is my connection to the White House, and I am looking forward to working closely with them, having just received a reply to my request for a visit. My purpose is strictly to involve my fellow-Americans in the solutions to the ongoing problems of cleaning up the millions of leftover clusterbombs buried in the soil and to help COPE with supplying orthopedic treatment and prosthetics for the thousands of maimed victims. Not to utter recriminations. Fifty-four years is way too long for this travesty to continue. Please unite with me to solve this curse brought by our own American bombers.
To my readers who are hoping for more casual, solo traveler content here on this happy little website, I assure you that this hijacking of theme is only temporary; as I will ask my web designer to separate this material on another page or something, from the more general theme. So, bear with me, while we run parallel.
Actually, world exploration through true travel is full of surprises and addressing this Laotian situation is probably the most important and demonstratively-spiritual act that America, as a whole, can perform today. Consequently, I ask you to open your own websites and personal connections to spread the news of a fund-raising account just as soon as we figure out how to create one. I plan to approach existing American civil rights or international war recovery websites in search of GoFundMe expertise. These tasks are completely doable within my next four weeks here, learning all I can of this history and developing solid contacts for putting together a plan which does not yet exist in the form I can so clearly visualize.
I have not, at all, abandoned my original, meandering exploration of Planet Earth. But, I have allowed myself a focus and intensity which has rarely in life hit me between the eyes and comes as a most-welcome revisiting of a much-younger, purpose-driven, self. Yet, it is very temporary because I’m searching for the best set of hands to put this huge travesty into for cleaning and curing. How would you feel in this same situation? Probably, just like me. Here are my journaled thoughts a week ago, as I coped with the magnitude of the real-world situation that I have discovered myself already morally committed to:
“I’m in the strange position of a journalist who has stumbled upon a scoop and now, must react in the wisest way to be timely, accurate and non-sensational, but completely believable. Because I work for no one besides myself, I am also free to be creative and irreverent, if that’s what it takes to call my own government out on the carpet. But, I’m also happily eager to meet the Ambassador to Laos and the staff of the American Embassy here! We will surely become friends and fellow homebodies. They are our Representatives in a foreign land and the first to be consulted when a tourist dies or gets sick in their assigned Embassy’s country. They are my lifeline to Home, and my first line of defense, out here on the trail. I’ve never needed to contact an Embassy before, as they’d be inundated if every American tourist wanted an audience. However, now I need to check my facts and get their official statement before I get too far along on my internet-published essays concerning America’s history in Laos.
Early on, the children’s story of Henny Penny came to mind as I decided to call upon my fellow Mother Hens now that I have something to cluck about: “The sky is falling! My country has not behaved itself!” Acting in the role of funny little Chicken Little, I’m no busybody but just your ordinary, unknown, senior citizen! An 80-year-old, solo, around-the-world traveler, still looking for my own special king and perhaps my true homebase. I’ll know ’em when I see ’em. Armed with two oscure websites, and three suitcases full of all my life’s possessions, life is good, if a little lonely between the distant watering holes filled with fellow-travelers.
The last thing I need is a planet-sized Cause! “What’s the use? Who will listen? Why don’t Americans already know this by now? Is this as important as I think it is? Why should I bother? Is it none of my business, or are all of my Freedom Ideals simply naivity in the face of the bigger picture of war and maintaining military supremacy?”
“Am I a turncoat? A traitor, to speak out? What would my New England, British Colonial ancestors tell me to do? My Founding Fathers? How would they feel about our prolonged, relentless, and aggressive bombing of a country that was not America’s enemy? In my heart, I already know that they would all say:”YOU GO GIRL!” to me and each one of my American female counterparts. We have to get this sorted out for those helpless ones for whom the sky has already fallen, thanks to our country’s defense of…..what? Freedom and Democracy? Equality for All?”
Odd, isn’t it, that this Secret War Issue, which won’t just dry up and go away… or get conveniently ignored; embraces the Millennium as it does? The Religions all predicted a Falling Sky; an Ending World, for the Year 2000! Apparently, nothing happened! We have chugged along for eighteen more years after that Great Millennial Divide!
“See Henny Penny, how foolish you were?”
But, what if it HAD happened, three decades before that Rollover? American clusterbombs rained upon Laos, night and day, nonstop, for all those years! One figure that I’ve turned up, totals 22 years, 3 weeks, and two days, between November 9, 1953 and December 2, 1975. The world DID end for ten percent of that little country’s innocent population. Those anti-personnel bomblets just didn’t fall upon OUR heads. And, they didn’t come from God! They came from our own U.S. Airforce, during a crazy war over ideology, against a miniscule country compared to our size. But hey, it was a declared, above-board war, wasn’t it? Sportingly approved by all the world’s Good Guys against a teeny-tiny, deadly enemy: North Vietnam!
It was an all-out attack on a wee coral snake, which could be openly bragged about in all the world’s Officer’s Clubs. Over gin and tonic, no less! The Grand Theatre of War! So officially righteous and all that!
But now, we learn of a Bastard Child, stuffed into the closet and forgotten. Never acknowledged! Never supported!
Our American Military fucked Laos the whole time that it was camping out on her territory, fouling her land and waters; in order to bomb the bejesus out of her neighbor, her brother, North Vietnam.
This denied Bastard Child is now fifty-four years old and crippled up the Wazoo; living conveniently far enough away from U.S. soil, as to be unacknowledged by The Great White Father!
But, now that we, American Women have heard the tale of our husband’s profligacy, we must make a choice!
1. Go on living a fairy tale life in our serene mansion across the globe?
2. Roll up our sleeves and take compassion upon the family we never knew we had?
Which is it to be, my Sisters? Now that you have learned of Laos? Loss? Or Love? It’s your call!
“SHOW ME WHAT’CHA GOT!”