Posted by Traveler on November 11, 2008 at 14:48:14
In Reply to: Re: "popular current thinking" about the US posted by CB on November 09, 2008 at 09:36:27:
You asked if there are links to US environemental organizations? I don't know. Maybe. But I don't think so. The whole matter is far too political. The US was "never there" so they don't need to take take responsibility for something they didn't do. If they raise their profile and are seen to engage in the clean up it might become tantamount to an admission of guilt, and they don't want to go there. If you read this report you could get the idea they are doing something, but it's realy a bunch of bullshit PR, and that drop-in-the-bucket "help" was back in 1995 and was never followed through adequately.
The CIA spent $9 million a day bombing Laos daily, for 10 years. Last year the USA contributed a measly $1 million to demining efforts in Laos. Measly, because it costs $0.7 million and 2 years' work just to clear 40 hectares of land and make it safe for 5,000 people.
In Laos I never saw much of an American presence if any, and everyone I have talked to says the USA stonewalls all efforts at dialogue regarding the problem of UXO's in Laos. They try to buy their way out of bad publicity by providing a token sum here and there, with strings attached. The condition for aid is that no dirt be kicked up, and no bad publicity generated. There are actually people in the US actively working to keep a lid on this information becoming mainstream. They don't want it to gain enough momentum in the media so there is awareness about what the Americans did in that region. After trying to literally wipe out surrounding countries like Laos to "save" Vietnam from Communism, they are now dishing out convenient excuses for not helping. Some politicans argue that they shouldn't sponsor demining in a country that is fighting the Hmong, who were US allies during the Vietnam War more than 30 years ago. But the Hmong are a-hmong (among) many who would split up the country into dozens of ungovernable feifdoms run by war lords who will grow opium crops.
When the US argues that Laos should open up its markets, locals understand that is code for "we want your wood, even what's left of your forests."
The truth is The Vietnam War is still a sore subject, and you will still hear Americans at home debating whether or not they "lost" that war. Since the Laos episode is tied in with Vietnam and reflects badly on the US, showing how far it went fighting dirty (so did the Vietcong), it is of course even more sensitive an issue than "Vietnam."
Some American private citizens do send donations to foreign organizations like FSD (The Swiss Foundation for Mine Action) so it's not necessary to work with US environmental organizations.
You can read more about the Laos situation with these links.
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