The Lessons of the CIA’s War in Laos: An Interview With Joshua Kurlantzick

The Lessons of the CIA’s War in Laos: An Interview With Joshua Kurlantzick
Trucks laden with troops and ammunition await helicopter transportation in Long Tieng, a staging area for the CIA-backed clandestine army of Hmong tribesmen, Laos, Oct. 3, 1972 (AP photo).

The U.S. war in Laos began in early 1961, when President Dwight Eisenhower, on one of his last days in office, approved a paramilitary CIA mission known as Operation Momentum to arm the ethnic Hmong population against communist forces. Under Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, the proxy war grew to become the largest CIA paramilitary operation in U.S. history. In his new book, “A Great Place to Have a War: America in Laos and the Birth of a Military CIA,” drawing on declassified CIA files and interviews with key players, Joshua Kurlantzick reframes the Laos war […]

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