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American bombing of laos

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by Gavana, Jul 11, 2012.

  1. Gavana

    Gavana JF-Expert Member

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    Jul 11, 2012
    Joined: Jul 19, 2008
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    During the Vietnam War, the US spread combat operations to neighboring Laos. The US secretly waged widespread bombing runs on nearly every corner of the country, as illustrated by the map on the left. Laos experienced more than 30,000 casualties during the bombings, more than 20,000 people have died since bombing ceased in 1974 due to leftover unexploded munitions, and many more tens of thousands were needlessly displaced.

    A UN report notes that Laos is, per capita, the most bombed country on the planet, with .84 tons of explosives dropped per person from the years 1965 to 1974.


    The true extent of the carnage was not known until Clinton declassified military records for the entire Vietnam War. The US military keeps meticulous records of all combat operations, recording the date, precise location, type and number of aircraft and total pounds of explosives dropped. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency's Office of Humanitarian Demining has been working with the Laotian government to assist in the clean up of leftover landmines and unexploded ordnance.

    It is estimated that it may take up to
    3000 years to clean up all unexploded ordnance in Laos alone.



    The U.S. Government spent nearly 17 million dollars every single day to bomb Laos. What it has spent to clean it up, is, as of yet, a pittance (2.7 million a year) and the State Department has reduced this amount even further for 2011. Over 280 million bombs were dropped on Laos. It's estimated that up to 80 million of them never exploded.
    It is through a Laotian demining group that I was able to get a hold of this data set.



    The Pattern of Bombing
    [​IMG]

    The United States bombed Laos almost daily for nine years, a country we were not even at war with. Out of 2,858 total days, the United States Air Force bombed Loas for 2,290.

    Even the Air Force gets weekends and holidays off. Things got really intense in 1968-70 during Operation Menu (Nixon's secret bombing campaign of Cambodia and Laos), and then spiked again just before the Vietnam War ended.


    The military, as in Afghanistan and Iraq, followed seasonal bombing patterns, peaking in summer and falling back during the Christmas season. A time series decomposition confirms an overall peak in 69 to 70, but while the number of bombing runs may have peaked then, the intensity was only magnified. As larger and larger planes came in to the fold (such as the B-52) and smaller craft such as the A-1′s became phased out in favor of the F-4′s, the US military became more efficient in it's bombing runs, becoming able to drop more tonnage of explosives using fewer aircraft. (It's incredible what you can learn from data)



    [​IMG]
    The Spatial Distribution of Bombing



    [​IMG]

    Density of bombing events in Laos.

    Dark means more dense, light mean less dense.



    The United States bombed nearly every quarter of Laos, but some areas were hit worse than others. In particular, the eastern end of the southern part of Laos, and the area around the province of Xieng Khouang. Areas along the Thai and Cambodian borders suffered less bombing but probably experience the largest influx of refugees.


    Relative to the population Xieng Khouang had the largest tonnage of explosives per person dropped on it, followed by the Southernmost province, Attapu. Bombing runs were not uniformly spread across provinces, but appeared to target specific areas more than others in terms of overall tonnage dropped. There appear to be specific hot spots in the south, which could represent any number of things, but none of which are in this data set.



    [TABLE]
    [TR]
    [TD] [​IMG]Pounds of explosives dropped per person. Population data was drawn from a 1995 census.[/TD]
    [TD] [​IMG]IDW interpolation of pounds of munitions dropped. Note heavily concentrated spots in the middle of the country, and in the south.[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [/TABLE]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 4, 2016
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