Spring Paddy

patchwork of greens
sudden explosions and napalm
craters of brown

The United States unleashed a secret carpet bombing campaign on this country for nearly a decade, dropping 260 million cluster bombs — the most heavily bombed country in history, with more than 2.5 million tons of munitions during 580,000 bombing missions — equal to a planeload of bombs every 8 minutes, 24 hours a day, for 9 years — more than all bombing by all belligerents in World War II, or 210 million more bombs than were dropped on Iraq in 1991, 1998 and 2006 combined.

Of 75 million bombs that failed to detonate, less than 1 percent have been cleared, and 25,000 people have been killed or injured by these bombs in the 35 years following the end of the bombing campaign. Today, an average of 300 people are injured or killed every year by these weapons, about half of them children, and most of the rest working men.

The economy is almost entirely agricultural (rice, in particular) yet one-third of the land remains littered with unexploded bombs.

Between 1996 and 2012, the U.S. contributed on average $2.6M per year to a general United Nations unexploded bomb clean-up program; the U.S. spent $17M per day for nine years bombing the country.

The U.S. spent as much in three days bombing of the country ($51M) as it spent for the clean up over 16 years ($51M).

The country is Laos.

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