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Voices From The Plain Of Jars: Life Under An Air War, “arguably the most important single book to emerge from the Vietnam war” according to historian Alfred McCoy, has just been reissued by University of Wisconsin press. The book is the only one of 30,000 Vietnam-era books written by Indochinese villagers, who comprised most of the population, suffered most, and were heard from least. But though unique, these voices also speak today for the countless unseen civilian victims of U.S. war-making in the Muslim World and beyond, and graphically describe the human consequences of U.S. Executive Secret war-making executed by Henry Kissinger from 1969 until 1975, and the dominant mode of U.S. warfare today.
Below please find excerpts from writings by Lao villagers from the Plain of Jars in northern Laos, who were bombed for 5 years from 1964 to 1969. The bombing, which eradicated the 700 year old civilization and turned the survivors into penniless refugees, was quadrupled after a November 1968 U.S. bombing halt over North Vietnam. It leveled every village and burned, buried alive, maimed and drove underground tens of thousands of civilians, where they lived like animals until evacuated to refugee camps in the capital city of Vientiane where they wrote this material.
When asked to explain the U.S. bombing escalation, U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission Monteagle Stearns testified to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, “well, we had all those planes sitting around and couldn’t just let them stay there with nothing to do.” (1)
N.Y. Times columnist Anthony Lewis has written, “the most appalling episode of lawless cruelty in American history (is) the bombing of Laos (and is) described without rancor–almost unbearably so–in a small book that will go down as a classic. It is “Voices From the Plain of Jars,” … in which the villagers of Laos themselves describe what the bombers did to their civilization. No American should be able to read that book without
This article originally appeared on : AlterNet