Henry Kissinger caused much suffering in Southeast Asia during Vietnam War
Henry Kissinger, America’s most powerful secretary of state during the Cold War, died Wednesday at his home in Kent, Connecticut He was 100.
Kissinger was a diplomatic powerhouse whose roles as a national security adviser and secretary of state under President Richard Nixon left an indelible mark on US foreign policy.
But in Southeast Asia, millions have remembered when the United States bombed swathes of Laos and Cambodia during the Vietnam War, an onslaught ordered by Kissinger and Nixon.
"He was the one that helped cause a lot of suffering for Vietnamese people," Tran Quy Tuyen, a soldier in Hanoi's air defence division between 1965 and 1973, told AFP.
"I guess many Vietnamese would say that he should have died years ago," the 78-year-old said.
"Every single time I hear Kissinger's name, my blood boils," Sera Koulabdara, who fled Laos with her family at age six, told AFP.
Koulabdara said her father remembered the bombing.
"He described it as a roaring rain, but instead of water, it was flames."
Laos became the world's most-bombed country per capita from 1964 to 1973 as the United States dropped more than two million tonnes of ordnance, equal to a plane load of bombs every eight minutes.
Since then, unexploded ordnance (UXO) in the impoverished country has killed or wounded at least 20,000 Laotians.
"The life-threatening problem that exists in Laos is a direct result of the US's barbaric decisions and one of the main architects, Kissinger," said Koulabdara, who heads advocacy group Legacies of War.
Demining work continues.
"Laos is still the country most polluted by cluster munitions in the world," said Reinier Carabain of Handicap International –- Humanity & Inclusion, an organisation that has destroyed nearly 47,000 pieces of UXO since 2006.
"Every day, civilians in a quarter of the villages in Laos run the risk of being killed or injured by explosive remnants".