Laos in the 1960s was a bucolic sideshow to Vietnam with the various fractious factions locked in a polite stalemate. Neither the Pathet Lao nor the Lao Royalist Force Armee Royale known as the 'fast army running' to the CIA insiders, had no intentions of fighting each other. Their leaders on both sides were related by royal blood and combat consisted of shuffling strategic positions according the the weather, until Washington decided to arm the Hmong tribespeople to stiffen the resolve of the lowland anti-communist troops.
The entire operation was run by Bill Lair, who chose the Hmong fighter Vang Po to lead his tribesmen against the enemy. The superstitious Hmong fired flintlock rifles into the sky during lunar eclipses to secure the celestial frog from swallowing the moon. The CIA thought them provincial, but these montagnards effectively harassed the Pathet Lao for most of the 60s. Unfortunately they never fielded the numbers to destroy those forces, especially once the communist forces were reinforced by North Vietnamese regulars protecting the threatened Ho Chi Minh Trail. Mr Lair promised the Hmong a refuge in the West should all hell break loose. As one agent said, "It doesn't matter how horrible you are, as long as you take care of your people."SHOOTING AT THE MOON recorded the unfolding tragedy, as CIA higher-ups raised the ante in Laos with deadly results, most culpable are the station chief Theodore Shackley and CIA Director William Colby. The Blond Ghost abandoned the Hmong and moved to South America, where he orchestrated the overthrow of the the Pinochet regime in Chile. A true piece of shit, who didn't care a fig for Laos, which was bombed more heavily than Germany in WWII.
The author of SHOOTING AT THE MOON Mr. Warner purported that this war was a success as long as it was small, a theory of soft force that Pentagon planners should research for their present quagmires in Afghanistan and Iraq, but those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it and usually more than once.Check out William Shawcross' SIDESHOW and you'll vote that prick Henry Kissinger a war criminal.ps there are no quotes by Theodore Shackley on Google. The Blond Ghost knew better than leave a paper trail.