Loa, Battle Strategy, United States


Summer 1963: Roger Hilsman's plane pierced the clouds to reveal the Plaines des Jarres, a flat area strewn with the remains of age-old rock jars. The plains below showed signs of the batterings of war: slit trenches, bunkers, and a network of roads. The weather was dry and arid, and the terrain resembled a ghost town in the American West more than the "land of a million elephants"-an allusion to the tremendous war machine of a medieval Lao king.