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US Intervention: Laos, Thailand (fwd)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: 27 Jul 2000 14:06:42 -0000
From: Common Courage Political Literacy Course

Subject: US Intervention: Laos, Thailand

Common Courage Political Literacy Course -

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July 27, 2000

=== History of US Global Intervention ===

_Laos, 1957-73_
The Laotian left, led by the Pathet Lao, tried to effect social change
peacefully, making significant electoral gains and taking part in
coalition governments. But the United States would have none of that. The
CIA and the State Department, through force, bribery and other pressures,
engineered coups in 1958, 1959 and 1960. Eventually, the only option left
for the Pathet Lao was armed force. The CIA created its famous Armeť
Clandestine--totaling 30,000, from every corner of Asia--to do battle,
while the US Air Force, between 1965 and 1973, rained down more than two
million tons of bombs upon the people of Laos, many of whom were forced to
live in caves for years in a desperate attempt to escape the monsters
falling from the sky. After hundreds of thousands had been killed, many
more maimed, and countless bombed villages with hardly stone standing upon
stone, the Pathet Lao took control of the country, following on the heels
of events in Vietnam.

_Thailand, 1965-73_
While using the country to facilitate its daily bombings of Vietnam and
Laos, the US military took the time to try to suppress insurgents who were
fighting for economic reform, an end to police repression and in
opposition to the mammoth US military presence, with its huge airbases,
piers, barracks, road building and other major projects, which appeared to
be taking the country apart and taking it over. Eventually, the American
military personnel count in Thailand reached 40,000, with those engaged in
the civil conflict--including 365 Green Beret forces--officially
designated as "advisers", as they were in Vietnam.
To fight the guerillas, the US financed, armed, equipped and trained
police and military units in counter-insurgency, significantly increasing
their numbers; transported government forces by helicopter to combat
areas; were present in the field as well, as battalion advisers and
sometimes accompanied Thai soldiers on anti-guerrilla sweeps. In addition,
the Americans instituted considerable propaganda and psychological warfare
activities, and actually encouraged the Thai government to adopt a more
forceful response. However, the conflict in Thailand, and the US role,
never approached the dimensions of Vietnam.
In 1966, the Washington Post reported that "In the view of some
observers, continued dictatorship in Thailand suits the United States,
since it assures a continuation of American bases in the country and that,
as a US official put it bluntly, 'is our real interest in this place.'"

To be continued...

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