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Hmong hero gets school named after him

I invoke the collective wisdom of all y'all. Our city here in Madison has named a school after a Hmong hero of the Vietnam war named Vang Pao. He was our guy (CIA) in the mountains, front and center in efforts in Laos and Cambodia, this included quite a few sketchy things like drug-running. The editor of our paper Isthmus, has written a piece wondering whether this is the type of person we should be naming a school after.

I knew him by name and reputation and may have met him among a group of Hmong warriors we spent some time with in North Carolina. Our actions in abandoning our best allies in Asia when we cut and ran from Vietnam were shameful and the service of Vang Pao and thousands of his comaptriots was faithful and at our behest. I would not dispute that most of the unsavory actions he is accused of actually occurred, but in the context of that area's 10,000 day war I don't find them surprising.

The highlands of Southeast Asia are still governed by warlords and drug lords as they have been back into the mists. Vang Pao was a leader in this world and that meant he was sometimes brutal, but I am unaware of any atrocities beyond some summary killings. If anyone knows any thing about this, especially accounts by US military folks about him I would love a tip.

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