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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - March 15, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta UUIBRIDGt I'ERAID Wcilnrxlciy. M.nrtli 15 1972 trapped a. n. in SIMPSONS-SEAR A ver iiy TiiAi'sr. 11 VIM: VIEM'IANK '.Honterl The three million inhabitants of the liny kingdom of Laos find themselves trapped in a seemingly interminable war which i'ltey can do nothing to control. Basically the war. fought primarily' in the mountains and jungles by foreign foes, is a spillover from tin' wilier Vietnam conflict. Aral the main United States and .North seem compelled to wuiea it through their failure to reai'h a settlement in Premier Prince Souvanna Phouma says North Vietnam has increased its forees itl Laos to a record sn.000 this year. It also launched a dry- season offensive which was far bigger and earlier than those of previous years. The premier says the rea- son for these moves is pri- marily political. He feels that. in the light President Nix- on's visit to Peking, the North Vietnamese wauled to show- both the Chine.-e and the Americans that no settlement of the over-all Indochina con- flict can he made without Ha- noi's consent. SUPPORT HANOI TUOOI'S The North Vietnamese have local support from the Pathet Lao, a Laotian Communist group who have accused Prince Souvanna Phouma's government of having become "lackeys of American imperi- alism." But one American official in Vientiane has belittled the role of the p.m.hct Lao. saying they are little more than porters for the North Viet- namese troops. The same offi- cial also claimed that Pathet Lao strength, estimated at one time at has heen badly shaken hy at least defections. Pitted against the North VI- etnamese and the Pathet Lao are the Royal Lao forces, a number of Thai irregulars and the Meo guerrillas, an almost independent army of ethnic 1 hill tribesmen. These groups, numbering about t'.d.MO in all, are trained and equipped by Ihe United Stales. AMERICANS There arc also an undis- closed number of Americans who "advise" the government troops up to Ihe moment of actual battle. One Japanese correspondent who visited the American Long Cheng base north of Vientiane said ho counted at least 2M such Americans at a nearby supply base. The Americans, who are battle-equipped, are known locally as "armed American officials." These "officials'1 and llin government forces arc closely supported hy massive air power from U.S. military air- craft based in Thailand and elsewhere. i And, buggesls one senior neutral diplomat here, the chances arc that, as Ihe U.S. accelerates its troop with- drawals from South Vietnam, its material and air support to neighboring Laos will in- crease. Because snch support does not involve unacceptable IMS oJ American lives, he argued, anti-war sentiment in the United Stales will not present the administration with problems it has faced from anti-Vietnam protests. ATTACKS LAL'NX IIKD In December, the North Vi- etnamese occupied the stra- tegic Plain nf Jars. Since then, they have launched n number of attacks, especially on the Long Cheng valley, which is a key base where thy U.S. Central Intelligence Agency trains the Men guer- rilla army. Devastafinc Buy novr! Bed Chesterfield Two liig value feature-! Contem- iioniry slvlint; ihn l.iscuit hark PLT'S J00r0 rnrR Hccculon- cover. lo fiill-slzc hrd with a quilt- lop In Brown, Olive or Cold. Save now! Hollywood Bed Outfit. Nothing clsclo huy! a better quality Holly woe I lind with heavy coil constriiclionfor firm sleeping rotn- fort. Good quality rayon daiun.'-k cover, deep quilted to felt padding. 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