Welcome to the Jungle

There were hundreds of them, perhaps a thousand. They wept and knelt before me on the ground, crying, "Please help us, the communists are coming." I had hiked four days to reach this forsaken place deep in the jungles of Xaysomboune, northern Laos. The Hmong rebels prostrate before me were convinced they would all soon die. They knew they were a forgotten tribe, crushed by a military campaign that is denied by the communist leaders of their small, sheltered nation.

In all my years as a journalist I had never seen anything...