A Great Place to Have a War
America In Laos And The Birth Of A Military CIA
This is what President Eisenhower believed when he approved Operation Momentum, a plan for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to create an army of primarily Hmong to fight communist forces in Laos on the United States’ behalf. Largely hidden from the American public-and most of Congress-Momentum became the largest CIA paramilitary operation in the history of the United States, a war that lasted into two decades, left the ground littered with thousands of unexploded bombs, and changed U.S. foreign policy forever.
In A Great Place to Have a War, Joshua Kurlantzick provides the definitive account of the Laos war, focusing on the four people who led the operation: the CIA operative whose idea it was, the Hmong general who led the proxy army in the field, the paramilitary specialist who trained the Hmong forces, and the State Department careerist who took control of the war as it grew.
Using recently declassified records and extensive interviews, Kurlantzick shows for the first time how the CIA’s clandestine adventures in one small, Southeast Asian country became the template for how the United States has conducted war ever since.
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