Laos in the American Popular Imagination
This chapter discusses the conventional wisdom about Laos in midcentury United States. In his New York Herald Tribune editorial in May 1962, Warren Rogers depicted the Lao as carefree and passive, paid them backhanded compliment of acknowledging their friendliness, underscored the exasperation of U.S. military advisers, refused to give the Pathet Lao credit for battlefield successes, and blamed America’s difficulties in Laos’s principal religion. Nearly all of the English-language commentary on Laos published between the two Geneva Conferences—1954 and 1961–1962—made these points, although authors differed in terms of what they chose to emphasize and occasionally came up with a novel argument. For the most part, however, Rogers’s piece has been the only source of information available to Americans seeking to follow events in Laos.
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