It by far one of the best books on this subject.
Very good comments below also.
"We only had a minimal understanding of the history, culture, and politics of the people we wanted to aid."-CIA officer working in Laos
I have to take issue with the previous commentator's mis-characterization of this book as "revisionistic [sic] nonsense." The book has very little to do with the Kennedy administration, as the period the author is looking at is primarily 1964-1973. And his rant about Chomsky, MIT, and the Koch brothers it totally irrelevant. Regardless of your feelings about Kennedy or Chomsky, this is an important book about a neglected and shameful period in American foreign policy: our secret involvement in Laos. It was concurrent with Vietnam and also used the "domino theory" (If one southeast Asian country falls to Communism, they'll all fall.) as a justification. Arming and support the Hmong people, the U.S. fought a proxy war that involved over 580,000 bombing runs, which dropped more than 2 million tons of ordinance, much of which impacted the civilian population. As the subtitle indicates, Kurlantzick, a fellow at the Council for Foreign Relations, the book is also about the use of the CIA to fight unconventional wars. It helps if you have some familiarity with the Vietnam War. Other books on the same theme: "Legacy of Ashes" (a history of the C.I.A.) and "Ghost Wars."
"They (the CIA) thought that [Laos] was a great place to have a war."-Robert Amory Jr., former CIA deputy director
More revisionistic nonsense from the CFR about the Kennedy Administration, for the real story, please read:
[It began with Eisenhower, as usual, while JFK reined in the generals and his people, as usual!]
Whether the author is a CFR hack named Kurlantzick, or some former MIT phony named Chomsky, revisionistic lies about the Kennedy Administration have grown most tedious - - and are proof positive of your inability to tell the truth!
Did anyone ever hear Chomsky attack MIT trustee, Fred Koch [patriarch of the Koch family and financier behind the John Birch Society, Liberty Lobby and other such drivel groups]? Of course not! Yet Chomsky has repeatedly lied and attributed falsehoods to the Kennedy Administration, an avowed enemy of Fred Koch and his family!
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