Ya. Vang Pao certainly was not a creation of the agency. Vang Pao came to where he was by his own abilities. Ah. He was a, an amazingly dynamic man.
Ah. His father ah had been a relatively poor man. Ah. And, he had joined the French army and had risen to the ah rank of sergeant, the highest, as high as he, an, an indigenous Laotian could go in the ah Indochina War and had led Miao
troops in the Indochina War and had, was a very brave and courageous fighter. He was the highest ranking, I believe he was the highest ranking ah Miao
in the whole oper—in the Indochina War.
And, he started ah then he became an officer. Went to officer's school. So, by the time the agency got to Vang Pao he was already vying with Touby Lyfoung for political control, and as the military operations increased and the political operation, political side of the struggle became less important, his role became much more important.
So, Vang Pao was in no way a creation of the agency. Now, we perhaps, you can say that the Americans made him more powerful, but, he was a, he was a leader long before we got there and his sense of, of political leadership was really quite astute.
It was amazing to watch the man operate politically. He knew what families to touch. He'd married five wives from all the five important families. Ah. He knew, he knew the psychology of his own people. He knew what they wanted, what they needed and what motivated them.
And, instead of being a person who had been well educated and rich, such as, Touby Lyfoung had been, Vang Pao had really come out of the depths of the people. And, he knew, he knew the local, the little farmers much better than, than ah, than Touby Lyfoung did or anybody did. So, as a, as a leader and as an entity, he was there long before we got there.