Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A Great Place to Have a War: America in Laos and the Birth of a Military CIA

Momentum. I am often humbled by the extent to which I think I am well-informed and then get walloped by the impact of something that happened under my nose and the degree to which I was oblivious or dismissive. A friend suggested I read Joshua Kurlantzick’s book titled, A Great Place to Have a War: America in Laos and the Birth of a Military CIA. I consider myself well-informed about the Vietnam War, and the operations in Cambodia, and thought I was somewhat aware of operations in Laos. Thanks to Kurlantzick, I now understand how significant Operation Momentum in Laos was and how the CIA’s wider military operations began in that country and became a key component of American foreign policy from then on. Kurlantzick writes about all the secrecy of extensive and expensive American activities in Laos under the administrations of Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon. He tells the story of the key players: Vang Pao, the Hmong leader, Bill Lair, a CIA operative, Ambassador Bill Sullivan and a contractor named Tony Poe. Readers interested in public policy, especially foreign policy are those most likely to appreciate this finely written book. Rating: Four-star (I like it) Click here to purchase A Great Place to Have a War from amazon.com.

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